Jack London: The Fiction Writer As Social Reformer
In Cecelia Tichi’s new book Jack London: A Writer’s Fight For A Better America, she argues that London used characters and plot in his novels such as Call of the Wild and the Sea Lord not only as entertainment, but also as a way to illuminate the oppression of workers in industrial America and other unfair social conditions in the early 1900s. London, who was the best selling author in America from 1903 to his death in 1916, mined his experiences as a laborer often working in harsh conditions to bring social reality to his popular adventure novels. Tune in Monday at 8 a.m. CST/9 a.m. EST to KAZI Book Review for my interview.
Jack London (1876-1916) found fame with his wolf-dog tales and sagas of the frozen North, but Cecelia Tichi challenges the long-standing view of London as merely a mass-market producer of potboilers. A onetime child laborer, London led a life of poverty in the Gilded Age before rising to worldwide acclaim for stories, novels, and essays designed to hasten the social, economic, and political advance of America. In this major reinterpretation of London’s career, Tichi examines how the beloved writer leveraged his written words as a force for the future.
Tracing the arc of London’s work from the late 1800s through the 1910s, Tichi profiles the writer’s allies and adversaries in the cities, on the factory floor, inside prison walls, and in the farmlands. Thoroughly exploring London’s importance as an artist and as a political and public figure, Tichi brings to life a man who merits recognition as one of America’s foremost public intellectuals.