Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jack London dies at age 40, this day in 1916

Jack London died at age 40 on this day in 1916.

London remains well known to day, particularly for his novels about the Far North, but only literature students and his real fans are very familiar with his personal life.  He had a difficult and troubled early life.  His mother's pregnancy with him, in fact, brought about her being abandoned by her husband, London's real father, a man named Chaney and she attempted suicide.   He was adopted by her second husband and raised in that family, but his childhood and early youth were difficult.

He did study at Berkeley before going ot the Gold Rush in the Yukon, which would lead to his most famous writings.  A marriage with a long time friend in 1900 would end in 1904 after he moved out in 1903. The marriage resulted in two daughters but London's bohemian ways caused trouble in the marriage that could not be resolved.  He remarried in 1905, after having been a war correspondent in the Russo Japanese War.  His second wife held the same radical views he did and the union was happier. That year he also bought a ranch in California.

 London two years prior to his death.

London's early life had resulted in his having an assortment of  serious diseases that plagued him through the rest of his short life.  He took morphine to relieve the pain of some of them. For a period he drank to what he later regarded as excess, but rumors of his being a dedicated alcoholic appear to have no foundation.  Rumors that he may have overdosed accidentally on morphine have more credence, but his long lasting illnesses may simply have caught up with him.

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