Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Jack London$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Free and Determined: Questions of Agency in The Road and The Star Rover

Free and Determined: Questions of Agency in The Road and The Star Rover

(p.92) 6 Free and Determined: Questions of Agency in The Road and The Star Rover
Jack London

Kenneth K. Brandt

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the ways in which London frequently represents the interplay of freedom and determinism in his work. The analysis focuses primarily on The Road, his tramp memoir, and The Star Rover, his prison novel and discusses how these novels address issues of agency. Most often, London posits that a viable category of agency exists and that a degree of moral responsibility is defensible; however, the degree of freedom and level of accountability he most consistently portrays are notably limited. Though his views on agency were not static, London most frequently dramatizes a position in the free will-determinism debate that resembles a compatibilistic view of free will. For London, the complexly muddled and inevitable intermingling of (often unconscious) deterministic factors with unimpeded conscious choices diminishes the cogency of the compatibilist position; yet, at the same time, he is unwilling to completely dismiss compatibilism because it presents a means to understand—and possibly to most fully realize—the widest range of whatever freedoms may be available. These tensions are central to the themes and conflicts in The Road and The Star Rover, where London explores the coexistence of free will and determinism.

Keywords:   free will, determinism, compatibilism, astral travel, tramping

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.