Friday, 22 February 2013

Jack London

John Griffith "Jack" London (born John Griffith Chaney, January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone. He is best remembered as the author of The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush. Read more on Wikipedia

Lowry refers to three Jack London novels in his novel Under The Volcano when Hugh is musing about Jack London in Chapter 6. Chris Ackerley states; "Hugh seems at times almost consciously to imitate his life. London's life and socialism was fraught with contradiction, and he is at his best when depicting the ferocious individual struggle rather than the collective human dream." (The Malcolm Lowry Project).

Hugh refers to three of London's books; "..and perhaps it was true too he had been reading too much Jack London even then, The Sea Wolf, and now in 1938 he had advanced to the virile Valley of the Moon(his favourite was The Jacket)...." (Pg. 161)

Lowry probably read Jack London while still at school and we must assume that London helped create in the mind of the young Lowry a vision of the sea and adventure which is reflected in Hugh's musings. Chris Ackerley suggests; " Lowry's ‘virile’ implies a judgment on Hugh’s "maturity", the essence of the book being the transition from the fiercely individualist struggle depicted in The Sea-Wolf towards a socialist theory of return to the land as a next step in human evolution." (The Malcolm Lowry Project).

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