The ancient Greek statesman and general Alcibiades once likened his career to the lives of the mythical half-brothers Castor and Pollux. These two figures are together called the Dioscuri, and they are attended by many stories and fables, some of which are contradictory or ambiguous. According to myth, the Dioscuri are alive and dead on alternate days. Homer says:Continue reading
In 1902 Jack London resolved to travel seven thousand miles from California to England. His stated purpose was to lose himself in the docks and slums of London’s squalid East End, and see what he might learn from the experience. One might reasonably ask why he would do this, when numerous examples of urban misery could be observed in the cities of his own country, such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, or any of a dozen others. But the idea was actually presented to him by his British publisher after the release of London’s first book in England.
In 1906 Jack London visited Hawaii as part of his epic journey across the Pacific. There he encountered surfers for the first time, and learned the sport. His observations and impressions were recorded in a chapter of his book The Cruise of the Snark, and remain fascinating to this day. We read passages from this chapter, and discuss.
“Monstrous and inconceivable” was how Jack London described the conception and construction of his yacht Snark, the vessel on which he planned to sail around the world. The construction was beset by delays, cost overruns, and incompetence. London fought through the obstacles, even teaching himself celestial navigation while en route to Hawaii. This podcast describes his thoughts on building it, his problems and obstacles, and the true spirit of discovery. We then close with some tweet readings from the G Manifesto.
Readers no doubt are familiar with Jack London. One of the great 20th century American novelists and short-story writers, he is justly famous for his harrowing tales of survival and courage, often set in exotic locales like the Klondike, the South Seas, and the abysses of urban squalor.
He lived a life that was as adventurous as one of the characters in his stories. Before becoming a full-time writer, he had knocked about as a vagrant, an oyster pirate, a seaman, a gold prospector, and most bitterly as an industrial slave-laborer.