[inscribed to his doctor] New York: The Macmillan Company, 1911. 8 pp undated ads. Original dark blue cloth pictorially decorated in cream and blue-grey.
First American Edition, published about a month after Nelson's British one. London wrote this during the worst days of his 1907-1909 cruise of the "Snark," after he had interrupted the voyage to return to San Francisco to settle financial crises (and to discourage his ex-wife from remarrying). Back on the "Snark," his body became wracked with problems -- malaria, yellow fever, "the Solomon yaws," psoriasis, and, perhaps worst for his ego, hemorrhoids so bad Charmian had to treat them with olive oil...~His elbows were becoming silvery like a leper's, and his hands were swelling to the size of boxing gloves as their skin fell away, layer after layer. It was a tribute to his courage that he managed to start a new novel, ADVENTURE, while he was waiting [at Guadalcanal] for the steamer to take him and Charmian to hospital in Sydney.~ADVENTURE is his worst novel, written at the time of his greatest physical agony and public humiliation. Underlying a romance of the Solomon Islands between an English plantation owner and an American girl was a dark story of disease and sadism, a horror of the flesh and its torments. [Sinclair]~Once in Sydney, Jack was hospitalized and was then maintained as an outpatient for five months. In addition to surgery on double rectal fistulas, his case of yaws was treated with arsenic (leaving troughs in his skin): this arsenic, combined with mercury he had probably received earlier for gonorrhea (a condition Bess had cited in her divorce petition), would soon attack his kidneys, brain and nervous system.~This is a fine copy of this attractively-bound book (a decorative trade binding signed "G.H."), very slightly rubbed at the extremities. Sisson & Martens p. 56; Blanck 11928.~The front free endpaper bears an inked presentation inscription signed by the author, "To Dr. W. S. Porter | Jack London | July 29, 1913." It was in the summer of 1913 that Dr. Porter of Oakland became Jack's personal physician,~warning Jack that he would die of kidney failure if he did not stop drinking, give up raw fish and meat, and start exercising and losing weight. Jack ignored the advice and went on drinking, gobbling underdone duck, and avoiding exercise. To him, the chief merit of his new doctor was that he could now get increasing supplies of the opiates he had first begun taking in the Solomon Islands... From this time forward, morphine and heroin began to replace alcohol as analgesics for his white nights. [Sinclair]~When, on 22 November 1916, Jack lay dying of an apparent morphine overdose (according to the local doctor who first arrived), Dr. Porter would be summoned -- too late; he and a third doctor conferred about the cause of death, and chose to attribute it solely to kidney failure -- which precluded an inquest or autopsy, or questions as to how Jack had gotten the morphine. Jack's body, and the morphine in it, were quickly cremated. It is Porter's signature that appears on the death certificate. Item #11667