[with front panel of jacket] Illustrated by Philip R. Goodwin and Charles Livingston Bull. Decorated by Chas. Edw. Hooper. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903. 2 pp undated ads. Original olive green cloth pictorially decorated in white, black and red.
First Edition. Back from Europe (from which came the source material for THE PEOPLE OF THE ABYSS), and smarting from the failure of THE DAUGHTER OF THE SNOWS, London sat down during the winter of 1902-03 to write his masterpiece. Buck, part St. Bernard and part Scotch shepherd, is reared in luxury on a California estate, is stolen, beaten and shipped to the Klondike to become a sled dog, and (after the death of his master) heeds the call of the wild and abandons human civilization to lead a wolf pack.~The novel is not so much the story of a dog that becomes a wolf as a myth about life and death and nature... Jack claimed later that he wrote it without any thought about its deeper significance as a human allegory. "I was unconscious of it at the time. I did not mean to do it."... The achievement of the book lies in Jack's fusion of his own suppressed nature with that of a beast... In Buck's bad dreams, Jack recorded his own childish fears of cold, deprivation, and solitude, as well as his compulsion always to be free and roving, on the hunt to gratify every desire... [Sinclair]~Macmillan was rightfully optimistic about this book, printing 71,584 copies as a first edition -- the most of any London title. This is not, therefore, a scarce book. However, due to the readily-flaking white pigment used on the pictorial trade binding, fine copies are few and far between. This is close to being such a copy: the white pigment is slightly rubbed but is more intact than usual, and there is a faint glass-ring on the rear cover. Loosely inserted is the front panel of the pictorial dust jacket (whatever white pigment did rub off the book's front cover, is still present on the verso of this jacket panel!). Sisson & Martens p. 14; Blanck 11876. Item #12694