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Synopsis

Jack London was the best known and probably the most widely read American author at the turn of the 20th century. London was interested in the issues of who humans are in relation to one another, to other species, and to life itself. Much of London?s life and writing can be viewed from psychological perspectives as an exploration of the issue of meaning in life generally and as a quest for meaning in his own life. C. G. Jung was an early psychoanalyst who broke from Freud and established his own school of analytical psychology. Jung was himself intensely concerned with the issue of meaning. For Jung, the ?decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not?? (page 325). Jack London certainly would have agreed with the crucial nature of this question. In Jack London: A Man in Search of Meaning. Jungian Perspectives, the author uses the prism of analytical psychology to examine London?s life and quest for meaning from deeply psychological and archetypal perspectives that are revealed in London?s writings, both fictional and nonfictional. The book begins with a brief biographical sketch and personality description of Jack London. This is followed by a focus on the question of meaning in his life. The next chapter addresses the issue of meaning from the perspective of analytical psychology (Jung). Selected fiction from three periods in London?s career is considered analytically in subsequent chapters. These periods are his early adult, middle and last years. The discussion of each work of fiction is preceded by a brief biographical statement of events in London?s life at the time of the writing and a brief review of the narrative. A concluding chapter summarizes London?s quest for meaning and where it might have led him from the perspectives of analytical psychology if he had lived beyond his untimely death at 40 years of age. There are two appendices. One contains a longer biographical statement (Appendix A). The second (Appendix B) provides longer, more detailed summaries of the works that are discussed. These longer descriptions include quotes from the texts, themselves, that reveal the immediacy, passion and soulful flavor of so much of London?s writings.

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