London, Jack



Jack London was a highly successful writer of popular fiction. Best known for his novel The Call of the Wild (1903), London admired, and promoted in his work, a masculinity that was achieved through physical hardship in inhospitable natural environments. His writings constitute part of a late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century discourse concerning masculinity, including a biological definition of manhood, the physical education of the male body, and the promotion of the outdoor life as an antidote to the perceived threat of effeminacy and degeneration posed by the artificial, urban-industrial “overcivilization” of modern American life.

This discourse was inspired by Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, according to which competition for survival among organisms improves species' adaptation to their natural environments. In The Call of the Wild, White ...

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