Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Horrific experiences as a boy laborer prompted Jack London’s quest for—and public circulation of—factual data that is omnipresent in his fiction, essays, and lectures. His vast database ranged from newsprint accounts to reports of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. London’s zeal for factual authenticity aligns him with contemporary investigative journalists (the muckrakers) and with the Progressive movement in which political figures (notably Wisconsin’s Robert La Follette) and professionals in medicine, economics, law, religion and other fields who sought to reform US society by presenting the dire facts of political corruption, child labor, dangerous workplaces, starvation wages, slum housing, the injustices of the criminal justice system—all topics in London’s oeuvre. London adhered to contemporary Upton Sinclair’s maxim that the true purpose of fiction is “to alter reality.” He strategically compounded factual data with emotional appeals in his career as a foremost American public intellectual.

Keywords: social facts, public intellectual, socialism, public opinion, Reform

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.