An Autobiography of Jack London
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Jack London has been a best-selling author for more than one hundred years. In his short life (1876–1916) he wrote twenty-five novels and dozens of short stories, plays, and essays. Today he is recognized as a forerunner of such literary giants as Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Jack Kerouac. Author of a number of well-known and well-loved stories in our literature (including White Fang, The Call of the Wild, and The Sea Wolf), London also worked as a day laborer, Alaskan gold rusher, and seaman. He was also an adventurer, journalist, celebrity, polemicist, and drunk.
An Autobiography of Jack London is a revealing portrait of the man who was Jack London—in his own words—and is largely composed of excerpts from his memoirs: The Road, John Barleycorn, and The Cruise of the Snark. Rather than a mere biographical summary of a man’s life, An Autobiography of Jack London
aims to give the reader real insight into the character and personality of this uniquely American literary icon. This book is illustrated throughout with more than forty drawings, facsimile pages from his works, and contemporary photographs, many taken by London himself.
moment; hence, he lives only in the present moment. He has learned the futility of telic endeavor, and knows the delight of drifting along with the whimsicalities of Chance. Often I think over my tramp days, and ever I marvel at the swift succession of pictures that flash up in my memory. It matters not where I begin to think; any day of all the days is a day apart, with a record of swift-moving pictures all its own. For instance, I remember a sunny summer morning in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
Kennedy selected this time to come and retrieve an old shirt of his, left aboard the Reindeer from the trip he sailed with Clam. He had espoused Clam’s side of the quarrel with Nelson. Also, he had been drinking in the St. Louis House, so that it was John Barleycorn who led him to the sandspit in quest of his old shirt. Few words started the fray. He locked with Nelson in the cockpit of the Reindeer, and in the mix-up barely escaped being brained by an iron bar wielded by irate French Frank—irate
hundred miles in nineteen days. I didn’t know the first thing about the newspaper game, but I was confident I’d get ten dollars for my article. But I didn’t. The first San Francisco newspaper to which I mailed it never acknowledged receipt of the manuscript, but held on to it. The longer it held on to it the more certain I was that the thing was accepted. And here is the funny thing. Some are born to fortune, and some have fortune thrust upon them. But in my case I was clubbed into fortune, and
serving them. Man cannot live on bread alone and not enough of it. My pal delivered the goods. After two days of work in the yard I was taken out of my cell and made a trusty, a “hall-man.” At morning and night we served the bread to the prisoners in their cells; but at twelve o’clock a different method was used. The convicts marched in from work in a long line. As they entered the door of our hall, they broke the lockstep and took their hands down from the shoulders of their line-mates. Just
again a hobo.” He paused, and, as he went on again, his voice gathered strength and huskiness as it affirmed his will. “Never again a hobo. I’m going to get a job. You’d better do the same. Nights like this make rheumatism.” He wrung my hand. “Goodbye, Bo,” said he. “Goodbye, Bo,” said I. The next we were swallowed up from each other by the mist. It was our final passing. But here’s to you, Mr. Swede, wherever you are. I hope you got that job. Chapter 7 Road-Kids and Gay-Cats Every once