Literary Criticism: Bibliographies, Monographs, and Collections

by Dr. Clarice Stasz, Ph.D.

Literary criticism of Jack London has proliferated since the 1970s. Available bibliographic guides do not cover much of this more recent work. The listing of books, monographs, and special issues of scholarly journals below fills part of that gap. Most of these materials should be available at larger libraries or through inter-library loan.

One will find a wide range of analyses, from traditional approaches to postmodern forms, addressing London’s journalism, short stories, and novels. One caveat: the biographical material is not always accurate See Biographies of Jack London by Dr. Clarice Stasz for more discussion of why this may be so.

Bibliographic Guides

Hamilton, David Mike. "Tools of My Trade": The Annotated Books in Jack London's Library. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1986. Comments on 400 books in London’s personal library, and their relationship to particular writings. An exceptional guide to London’s intellectual influences.

Harry, Kevin J. "Dissertations on Jack London, 1936-1987: Evidence for Canonicity."

Jack London Newsletter 20 (May-December 1987): 107-25. A guide to often overlooked research.

Kingman, Russ. A Collector's Guide to Jack London First Appearances. Glen Ellen, CA: Jack London Research Center, n.d. A chronological listing of London's short stories as they published in American magazines. When compared to their final appearance in the volumes of collected stories London himself edited, these versions may reveal significant cuts or changes.

_____. A Collector's Guide to Jack London's Non-Fictional Works. Glen Ellen, CA: Jack London Research Center, n.d. An alphabetical listing that includes 320 non-fiction articles in newspapers and magazines, 8 book reviews, and 6 introductions to others' books.

Lachtman, Howard. "Criticism of Jack London: A Selected Checklist" in Modern Fiction Studies 22 (Spring 1976): 107-125. A thoughtful distillation of key criticism to 1976, along with a key linking particular London writings to the criticical sources..

Sharpe, Jo Ann. Jack London Newsletter Index. Santa Barbara, CA (POB 61455, zip 93160): Sharpe, 1996. The essential reference for accessing this key journal.

Sherman, Joan. Jack London: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1977. A chronological bibliography of works published about London. Provides helpful historical overview of popular as well as scholarly criticism.

Sisson, James E. "Jack London's Plays: A Chronological Bibliography" in Daughters of the Rich. Oakland, Calif.: Holmes Book Company, 1972. London wrote plays and lent his name to ones others wrote--this clarifies the cases.

_____. "Jack London's Published Poems: A Chronological Bibliography." The London Collector 1 (July 1970): 20-21. A comprehensive list of his early writing.

Walker, Dale L., and James E. Sisson III. The Fiction of Jack London: A Chronological Bibliography. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1972. Useful annotations accompany many of the items.

Williams, Tony. Jack London: The Movies, An Historical Survey. Los Angeles: David Rejl, 1992. A comprehensive filmography of film and television versions of Jack London's works. Includes foreign films.

Woodbridge, Hensley C., John London, and George H. Tweney. Jack London: A Bibliography. Georgetown, Calif.: Talisman Press, 1966. Enlarged edition, Millwood, N.Y.: Kraus Reprint, 1973. Over 4,000 entries, including London's publications, reprints, translations, as well as articles and books about London written in foreign languages as well as in English. Periodic addenda prepared by Woodbridge appeared in Jack London  Newsletter issues, and more recently in The Call, the newsletter of the Jack London Society..

Journals

Jack London Newsletter. Published 1967-88. Editor, Hensley Woodbridge. Despite its title, this small journal published numerous scholarly papers and book reviews during its tenure. See Jack London Newsletter indexfor full contents.

Jack London Journal. Annual, beginning 1994. Editor, James Williams, University of Chicago. Editorial address: 5435 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago IL 60615. This scholarly journal also publishes articles relating to the times and contemporaries, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Mary Austin, and Frank Lloyd Wright. See Jack London Journal Table of Contents for specific listings.

Books, Monographs, and Special Journal Issues

Auerbach, Johnathan. Male Call: Becoming Jack London. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996. Relates London's creation of himself as a writer to the interpreation of his early writings..

Cassuto, Leonard and Jeanne Campbell Reesman, eds. Rereading Jack London. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996. Fifteen essays that move beyond traditional concerns of realism and naturalism to engage such approaches as post-structrualism and new historicism.

Etulain, Richard, ed. Special issue of Western American Literature. Vol. XI, Summer 1976. Five seminal essays on London's agrarian vision, John Barleycorn, androgyny, his socialism, and the biographies.

Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction. Vol. 5.1 (2004). Special issue includes teaching boxing stories, "To Build a Fire," and "The Law of Life," among others.

Gair, Christopher.  Complicity and Resistance in Jack London's Novels: From Naturalism to Nature.  New York: Edward Mellen.  A sophisticated reappraisal and reinterpretation, with particular emphasis upon social class.

Hendricks, King. Jack London: Master Craftsman of the Short Story. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1966. One of the first literary scholars to take London seriously in a work that still deserves attention.

Hodson, Sara S. and Jeanne Campbell Reesman. Jack London: One Hundred Years a Writer. San Marino, CA: Huntington Library Press, 2002.

Labor, Earle. Jack London. New York: Twayne, 1974. The first major critical overview, a classic introduction.

_____, ed. Special issue of Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 22, Spring 1976. Essays include studies of The Iron Heel, Before Adam, Martin Eden, and London criticism in general.

_____ and Jeanne Campbell Reesman. Jack London, Revised Edition. New York: Twayne, 1994. An update of Labor's original volume, although some useful analysis from the first volume is not included. Use both, if available.

Martin, Stoddard. California Writers: Jack London, John Steinbeck, The Tough Guys. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983. A revisionist look at London's place in California literature.

McClintock, James. Jack London's Strong Truths: A Study of His Short Stories. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1975. Originally published as White Logic, Grand Rapids, MI: Wolf House Books, 1975. Emphasizes the early stories, with special attention to the Yukon tales.

Nuernberg, Susan, ed. The Critical Response to Jack London. Westwood, CT.: Greenwood Press, 1995. Several dozen, wide-ranging articles covering London's major works, well-organized.

Ownbey, Ray Wilson. Jack London: Essays in Criticism. Santa Barbara, Ca: Preregrine Smith, 1978. Reprints seminal articles on London's major fiction.

Pacific Historian. Vol. 21, Summer 1977. A centennial celebration volume that includes seldom published photographs accompanying essays by collectors, scholars, and biographers.

Reesman, Jeanne Campbell. Jack London: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1999.

Reesman, Jeanne Campbell, ed. American Literary Realism. Vol. 24, Winter 1992. Four essays address The Sea-Wolf, The Valley of the Moon, "Samuel," and "The Unparalled Invasion." Sea Letter. No. 66, 2004. Special issue "Celebrating Jack London" has essays regarding London's life in Oakland and San Francisco Bay, and his nautical reading and writing.

Tavernier-Courbin, Jacqueline, ed. Critical Essays on Jack London. Boston, MA: G. K. Hall, 1983. Twenty-three articles, including an update of Joan Sherman's Reference Guide.

_____, The Call of the Wild: A Naturalistic Romance. New York: Twayne, 1994. Cogently examines four approaches to the novel. For further reading see: Call of the Wild by Henry Veggian

_____, ed. Thalia: Studies in Literary Humor. Volume XII, 1992. Various writers undercut claims that London's work lacks humor! Special attention to lesser-known works.

Walker, Dale. The Alien Worlds of Jack London. Grand Rapids, MI: Wolf House Books, 1973. A study of London's science fiction. For further reading see: Jack London and Science Fiction by Dr. Clarice Stasz.

______. Jack London and Conan Doyle: A Literary Kinship. Bloomington, IN: Gaslight Publications, 1981.

Watson, Charles N., Jr. The Novels of Jack London: A Reappraisal. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. A good starting point for those interested in the novels.

Editor: Clarice Stasz, Professor Emerita of History, Sonoma State University.
Send suggestions, additions, or corrections to: Clarice Stasz.
Copyright Clarice Stasz. All rights reserved.
Last update May 2016.