Novels and Social Writings (LOA #7): The People of the Abyss / The Road / The Iron Heel / Martin Eden / John Barleycorn / selected essays (Library of America Jack London Edition #2)
Whether he is recollecting, in The Road, the exhilarating camaraderie of hobo gangs, or dramatizing, in Martin Eden, a life like his own, even to the foreshadowing of his own death at age forty, or confessing his struggles with alcoholism in the memoir John Barleycorn, London displays a genius for giving marginal life the aura of romance. Violence and brutality flash into life everywhere in his work, both as a condition of modern urban existence and as the inevitable reaction to it.
Though he is outraged in The People of the Abyss by the condition of the poor in capitalist societies, London is even more appalled by their submission, and in the novel he wrote immediately afterward, The Call of the Wild (in the companion volume, Novels and Stories), he constructed an animal fable about the necessary reversion to savagery. The Iron Heel, with its panoramic scenes of urban warfare in Chicago, envisions the United States taken over by fascists who perpetuate their regime for three hundred years. It constitutes London’s warning to his fellow socialists that mere persuasion is insufficient to combat a system that ultimately relies on force.
LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Library of America, 9780940450066, 1192pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 1982