Jack London (John Griffith) (1876-1916) .
Prolific American novelist and short story writer, whose works deal romantically the overwhelming power of nature and the struggle for survival. London's identification with the wilderness makes him the antecedent of the Green movement. His left-wing philosophy is seen in the class struggle novel THE IRON HEEL (1908). JOHN BARLEYCORN, which describes the London's drinking bouts, connects him with such authors as Charles Bukowski and Jack Kerouac. On the other hand, London's views about the superiority of white people and that only the strongest deserve to survive have placed him among the ultra-right conservatives. .
Jack London was born in San Francisco. He was deserted by his father, William Henry Chaney, an itinerant astrologer, and raised in Oakland by his mother Flora Wellman, a music teacher and spiritualist, and stepfather John London, whose surname he took. London's youth was marked by poverty. At the age of ten he became an avid reader, and borrowed books from the Oakland Public Library. .
After leaving school at the age of 14, London worked as a seaman, rode in freight trains as a hobo and adopted socialistic views as a member of the protest armies of unemployed. In 1894 he was arrested in Niagara Falls and jailed for vagrancy. These years made him determined to better himself but they also gave later material for such works as THE SEA-WOLF (1904), which was partly based on his horrific experiences as a sailor in Pacific Ocean. .
Without having much formal education, London educated himself in public libraries, and gained at the age of 19 admittance to the University of California at Berkeley. He had already started to write. London left the school before year was over and went to seek a fortune in the Klondike gold rush of 1897. His attempt to find gold was unsuccessful. London spent the winter near Dawson City suffering from scurvy, and returned in the spring to San Francisco.