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Jack London$
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Kenneth K. Brandt

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780746312964

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780746312964.001.0001

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Jack London: An Adventurous Mind

Jack London: An Adventurous Mind

(p.1) 1 Jack London: An Adventurous Mind
Jack London

Kenneth K. Brandt

Liverpool University Press

This chapter provides an overview of Jack London’s life and career and introduces the philosophical influences and literary contexts that shaped and influenced his work. The chapter discusses how London endeavoured to create compelling fiction that was both entertaining and serious, and the methods he used to layer his fiction, crafting gripping surface dramas that overlaid more cerebral motifs to engaged philosophical and socio-political issues. The thematic diversity of his work and his fusional vision are also analysed. The influences of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche are considered in association with London’s major thematic concerns and the development of his “motif under the motif” narrative aesthetic. The chapter also discusses London’s engagement with the problem of meaning and value in a post-Darwinian cultural context. The story “South of the Slot” is closely analysed in relation to London’s primary themes and narrative strategies.

Keywords:   Atavism, Animal Studies, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Thomas Henry Huxley, Fiction technique

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