Jack London quotes

Jack London photo
76   5

Jack London

Birthdate: 12. January 1876
Date of death: 22. November 1916

John Griffith "Jack" London was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone, including science fiction.

Some of his most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote about the South Pacific in stories such as "The Pearls of Parlay" and "The Heathen", and of the San Francisco Bay area in The Sea Wolf.

London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers. He wrote several powerful works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel The Iron Heel, his non-fiction exposé The People of the Abyss, and The War of the Classes.

Works

Martin Eden
Martin Eden
Jack London
John Barleycorn
John Barleycorn
Jack London
The Star Rover
The Star Rover
Jack London
To Build a Fire
To Build a Fire
Jack London
A Piece of Steak
Jack London
The Iron Heel
The Iron Heel
Jack London

Quotes Jack London

„Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club.“

—  Jack London

"Getting into Print", first published in 1903 in The Editor magazine
Variant: You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
Context: Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.
Context: Fiction pays best of all and when it is of fair quality is more easily sold. A good joke will sell quicker than a good poem, and, measured in sweat and blood, will bring better remuneration. Avoid the unhappy ending, the harsh, the brutal, the tragic, the horrible - if you care to see in print things you write. (In this connection don't do as I do, but do as I say.) Humour is the hardest to write, easiest to sell, and best rewarded... Don't write too much. Concentrate your sweat on one story, rather than dissipate it over a dozen. Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.

„A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.“

—  Jack London

"Confession" in Complete Works of Jack London, Delphi Classics, 2013
Variant: Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.

„I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.“

—  Jack London

The Bulletin, San Francisco, California, December 2, 1916, part 2, p. 1.
Also included in Jack London’s Tales of Adventure, ed. Irving Shepard, Introduction, p. vii (1956)
Context: I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

„Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.“

—  Jack London

As quoted in Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior (1991) by Dan Millman, p. 78
Life’s not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes playing a poor hand well.
As quoted in "They Came to Write in Hawai‘i" by Joseph Theroux, in Spirit of Aloha (March/April 2007)

„Her own limits were the limits of her horizon; but limited minds can recognize limitations only in others. And so she felt that her outlook was very wide indeed, and that where his conflicted with hers marked his limitations; and she dreamed of helping him to see as she saw, of widening his horizon until it was identified with hers.“

—  Jack London, Martin Eden

Source: Martin Eden (1909), Ch. VIII
Context: It was just such uniqueness of points of view that startled Ruth. Not only were they new to her, and contrary to her own beliefs, but she always felt in them germs of truth that threatened to unseat or modify her own convictions. Had she been fourteen instead of twenty-four, she might have been changed by them; but she was twenty-four, conservative by nature and upbringing, and already crystallized into the cranny of life where she had been born and formed. It was true, his bizarre judgments troubled her in the moments they were uttered, but she ascribed them to his novelty of type and strangeness of living, and they were soon forgotten. Nevertheless, while she disapproved of them, the strength of their utterance, and the flashing of eyes and earnestness of face that accompanied them, always thrilled her and drew her toward him. She would never have guessed that this man who had come from beyond her horizon, was, in such moments, flashing on beyond her horizon with wider and deeper concepts. Her own limits were the limits of her horizon; but limited minds can recognize limitations only in others. And so she felt that her outlook was very wide indeed, and that where his conflicted with hers marked his limitations; and she dreamed of helping him to see as she saw, of widening his horizon until it was identified with hers.

„A good joke will sell quicker than a good poem, and, measured in sweat and blood, will bring better remuneration.“

—  Jack London

"Getting into Print", first published in 1903 in The Editor magazine
Context: Fiction pays best of all and when it is of fair quality is more easily sold. A good joke will sell quicker than a good poem, and, measured in sweat and blood, will bring better remuneration. Avoid the unhappy ending, the harsh, the brutal, the tragic, the horrible - if you care to see in print things you write. (In this connection don't do as I do, but do as I say.) Humour is the hardest to write, easiest to sell, and best rewarded... Don't write too much. Concentrate your sweat on one story, rather than dissipate it over a dozen. Don't loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.

„Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past.“

—  Jack London

Variant: Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past.

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel.“

—  Jack London, book The Star Rover

The Star Rover
Variant: Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Patch Adams photo
Patch Adams10
Physician, activist, diplomat, author
Helen Keller photo
Helen Keller153
American author and political activist
Hunter S. Thompson photo
Hunter S. Thompson267
American journalist and author
George Orwell photo
George Orwell451
English author and journalist
Malcolm X photo
Malcolm X178
American human rights activist
Simone de Beauvoir photo
Simone de Beauvoir152
French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, po…
Ernest Hemingway photo
Ernest Hemingway487
American author and journalist
Noam Chomsky photo
Noam Chomsky332
american linguist, philosopher and activist
H.L. Mencken photo
H.L. Mencken278
American journalist and writer
Simone Weil photo
Simone Weil191
French philosopher, Christian mystic, and social activist
Today anniversaries
Nikola Tesla photo
Nikola Tesla123
Serbian American inventor 1856 - 1943
Carl Orff photo
Carl Orff4
German composer 1895 - 1982
Arthur Ashe photo
Arthur Ashe8
American tennis player 1943 - 1993
Alice Munro photo
Alice Munro38
Canadian novelist 1931
Another 63 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Patch Adams photo
Patch Adams10
Physician, activist, diplomat, author
Helen Keller photo
Helen Keller153
American author and political activist
Hunter S. Thompson photo
Hunter S. Thompson267
American journalist and author
George Orwell photo
George Orwell451
English author and journalist
Malcolm X photo
Malcolm X178
American human rights activist