The Big Read Blog (Archive)

Talking with Jack London

Washington, DC

Profile relief portrait of Jack London, by sculptor Finn Haakon Frolich from Library of Congress collection

Jack London's life was as adventurous as---if not moreso---the many heroes (and villains) he so nimbly sketched. As his friend Anna Strunsky remarked circa 1917, "Who that ever knew him can forget him?...He was youth, adventure, romance." Needless to say, London had a few opinions about the way one should adventure through life. Here's some advice---in London's own words.

"I took with me certain simple criteria with which to measure. That which made for more life, for spiritual and physical health was good; that which made for less life, which hurt, dwarfed, and distorted life, was bad." (from People of the Abyss)

"Never a night (whether I have gone out or not), but the last several hours are spent in bed with my books. All things interest me---the world is so very good." (from a letter to his publisher, 1900)

"No man ever became great who did not achieve the impossible. It is the secret of greatness?But not only must he do the impossible, he must continue to do it?" (from "The Question of a Name")

"Let us be very humble. We who are so very human are very animal." (from "The Other Animals")

"It was in the Klondike that I found myself. There nobody talks. Everybody thinks. You get your true perspective. I got mine." (from The Star Rover)

Visit The Big Read website to learn more about Jack London and The Call of the Wild.

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