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In Author Under Sail, Jay Williams offers the first complete literary biography of Jack London as a professional writer engaged in the labor of writing. It examines the authorial imagination in London’s work, the use of imagination in both his fiction and nonfiction, and the ways he defined imagination in the creative process in his business dealings with his publishers, editors, and agents. In this first volume of a two-volume biography, Williams traverses the years 1893 to 1902, from London’s “Story of a Typhoon” to The People of the Abyss.
The Jack London who emerges in the pages of Author Under Sail is a writer whose partnership with publishers, most notably his productive alliance with George Brett of Macmillan, was one of the most formative in American literary history. London pioneered many author models during the heyday of realism and naturalism, blurring the boundaries of these popular genres by focusing on absorption and theatricality and the representation of the seen and unseen. London created an impassioned, sincere, and extremely personal realism unlike that of other American writers of the time.
Author Under Sail is a literary tour de force that reveals the full range of London as writer, creative citizen, and entrepreneur at the same time it sheds light on the maverick side of machine-age literature.