When Jack London sent his first submission to The Atlantic in 1899, editor Bliss Perry found his writing to be "vigorous" and "essentially healthy." The magazine agreed to publish the short story, "An Odyssey of the North," in the January 1900 issue, and London wrote to a friend that he was pleased with the arrangement: "[The editors] seem nice ... and I understand that they pay well."
But Parker soon took issue with London's byline. "We venture to suggest the use of the more frequent form of the Christian name," Parker wrote a few months later, "John seeming to us better suited than Jack to literary purposes."
Jack refused to become John, and during the year that followed, Perry and his young assistant, William B. Parker, rejected three of his stories. One of them, "The Law of Life," went on to become one of the author's best-known tales—the story of an elderly man devoured by wolves. The Atlantic editors found it too depressing for publication, but the competing magazine McClure's was only too happy to accept it and offered London a generous advance on his next book. (Houghton Mifflin, then the publishers of The Atlantic, had already agreed to print The Son of the Wolf, London's first collection of short stories.)