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Punks, Prushuns, and Gay-Cats: Vulnerable Youth in the Work of Jack London and A-No.1

Punks, Prushuns, and Gay-Cats: Vulnerable Youth in the Work of Jack London and A-No.1 P unks, Prushuns, and Gay- Cats Vulnerable Youth in the Work of Jack London and A- No.1 Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK In 1911, Jack London received an invitation for a hobo ball (see Figure 1). Hosted by the “Social Science League,” the event was to take place on 25 November at San Francisco’s prestigious Jeff erson Square Hall. It was clearly not for genuine transients and, unsurprisingly, London did not at- tend. He would have seen this invitation, couched as it is in mock hobo dialect, as deriding those who had really been on the road. A former tran- sient who prided himself on being a “blowed- in- the- glass profesh” (Th e Road 285), in his tramp writings London makes frequent distinctions be- tween experienced hobos, such as himself, and those who were known as gay- cats: “gay- cats are short- horns, chechaquos, new chums, or tender- feet.” Th e “profesh,” he writes, “are the aristocracy of Th e Road. Th ey are the lords and masters, the aggressive men, the primordial noblemen, the blond beasts so beloved of Nietzsche” (285). InTh e Road (1907), his book of tramp experiences, London goes to inordinate lengths to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in American Naturalism University of Nebraska Press

Punks, Prushuns, and Gay-Cats: Vulnerable Youth in the Work of Jack London and A-No.1

Studies in American Naturalism , Volume 14 (1) – Sep 19, 2019

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Studies in American Naturalism
ISSN
1944-6519

Abstract

P unks, Prushuns, and Gay- Cats Vulnerable Youth in the Work of Jack London and A- No.1 Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK In 1911, Jack London received an invitation for a hobo ball (see Figure 1). Hosted by the “Social Science League,” the event was to take place on 25 November at San Francisco’s prestigious Jeff erson Square Hall. It was clearly not for genuine transients and, unsurprisingly, London did not at- tend. He would have seen this invitation, couched as it is in mock hobo dialect, as deriding those who had really been on the road. A former tran- sient who prided himself on being a “blowed- in- the- glass profesh” (Th e Road 285), in his tramp writings London makes frequent distinctions be- tween experienced hobos, such as himself, and those who were known as gay- cats: “gay- cats are short- horns, chechaquos, new chums, or tender- feet.” Th e “profesh,” he writes, “are the aristocracy of Th e Road. Th ey are the lords and masters, the aggressive men, the primordial noblemen, the blond beasts so beloved of Nietzsche” (285). InTh e Road (1907), his book of tramp experiences, London goes to inordinate lengths to

Journal

Studies in American NaturalismUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Sep 19, 2019

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