Male Call: Becoming Jack London

Duke University Press, 1996

When Jack London died in 1916 at age forty, he was one of the most famous writers of his time. Eighty years later he remains one of the most widely read American authors in the world. Male Call analyzes the nature of his appeal by closely examining how the struggling young writer soguht to promote himself in his early work as a sympathetic, romantic man of letters whose charismatic masculinity could carry more significance than his words themselves. Auerbach shows that London's personal identity was not a basis of his literary success, but rather a consequence of it. Unlike previous studies of London that are driven by the author's biography, Male Call examines how London carefully invented a trademark "self" in order to gain access to a rapidly expanding popular magazine and book market that craved authenticity, celebrity, power, and personality.