Cover of The Letters of Jack London by
The Letters of Jack London
Vol. 1: 1896-1905; Vol. 2: 1906-1912; Vol. 3: 1913-1916, Deluxe set, in slip case

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1988
1768 pages.
$185.00

Cloth ISBN: 9780804715072

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Jack London has long been recognized as one of the most colorful figures in American literature. From his birth in San Francisco in 1876 until his death in 1916, he lived a life rich with experiences and emotional intensity. Factory worker at 14; able-bodied seaman at 17; hobo and convict at 18; "Boy Socialist" of Oakland at 19; Klondike argonaut at 21; the "American Kipling" at 24; renowned author, social crusader, journalist, and war correspondent at 28; world traveler and adventurer at 31; prize-winning stockbreeder and scienfitic farmer at 35; self-made millionaire by the time of his death at 40: the facts became a legend in London's own lifetime.

London dominated the literary marketplace during the first decade of the twentieth century; scarcely a month passed without his writing appearing in the nation's leading magazines. In less than 20 years, he produced some 500 nonfiction pieces, 200 short stories, and 19 novels (over 50 books in all), on such varied subjects as agronomy, alcoholism, astral projection, big business, ecology, economics, gold-hunting, penal reform, political corruption, prizefighting, seafaring, socialism, war, and wildlife.

Of those books, at least three (The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea-Wolf) have become world classics. London is America's most widely translated author (into more than 80 langauges), and although his works have been neglected until recently by academic critics, he is finally winning recognition as a major figure in American literary history. Comprising 1,557 carefully annotated letters, this three-volume works is the first full-scale, comprehensive collection of London's correspondence, more than doubling the number of his letters previously in print. It illuminates nearly every facet of london's complex genius and meteoric career, from the early years of his literary apprenticeship, through his rise to success and fame, and, finally to the legal entanglements and failing health of his last years.

The image that emerges from London's letters is of an unpretentious, often sensitive human being, extraordinarily open and sometimes brutally candid. He was capable of writing deeply moving, poetic love letters, but he was also capable, when writing to or about those he considered enemies, of a dark bitterness and vicious invective. Like much ofhis published work, many of his letters are simply good reading, written with his characteristic verve and blunt wit.

This edition is lavishly illustrated, including 112 photoraphs, most of them from the London family albums and many published for the first time, facsimiles of letters and autograph inscriptions in books, cartoons and drawings, and three maps.

About the authors

Earle Labor is Professor of English at Centenary College of Louisiana, and the author and editor of four books and many articles on Jack London and his works.

Robert C. Leitz, III is Professor of English at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, and the editor of Volume 3 of the Selected Letters of W.D. Howells

I. Milo Shepherd is the executor of the Jack London Estate.