Jack London, The People of the Abyss

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In late July 1902, the American Press Association offered the twenty-six-year-old Jack London a commission to sail to South Africa to interview government officials and report on the aftermath of the Boer War, which had ended six weeks earlier. London was $3,000 in debt; he left California at once for New York, where he learned that his assignment had been cancelled. Instead, he would sail to England to expose the horrors of the East End. He boarded the SS


on 30 July and was in Whitechapel a week later. He bought some second-hand clothes, and for the next seven weeks slummed among the metropolis’s underprivileged, “pos[ing] as the seafaring man who has lost his money & clothes & can’t find a ship. Being a sailor of old time, I am able to carry it off and mingle…

2651 words

Citation: Fachard, Alexandre. "The People of the Abyss". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 August 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7364, accessed 14 April 2024.]

7364 The People of the Abyss 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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