New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916. 6 pp undated ads. Original blue cloth pictorially decorated in black, white and orange.
First Edition of this tale about a love triangle on a large ranch. Though not published until the year of Jack's death, he had written this during his bad year of 1913. He spent much of that year visiting a dentist, finally having all of his upper teeth pulled to halt the pyorrhea raging in his gums; at about the same time, his Wolf House burned down two weeks before its completion; and his kidney problems continued to worsen, exacerbated by his drinking and his insistence upon eating raw fish and duck -- "Jack persisted in gobbling underdone flesh as if he were a wolf."
[The novel] was meant to exalt the splendor of Wolf House and scientific farming and sex. "It is all sex, from start to finish --" he wrote to the editor of Cosmopolitan, "in which no sexual adventure is actually achieved or comes within a million miles of being achieved, and in which, nevertheless, is all the guts of sex, coupled with strength."... As in THE SEA-WOLF, Jack split his own role between the two male protagonists, the ranch owner Dick Forrest and the romantic adventurer Evan Graham. Forrest is Jack's ideal of the rich commercial rancher of the future, the owner of 250,000 acres worked on strict scientific principles. Evan Graham is another version of Dick Forrest, but he has chosen to remain a writer and a wanderer -- the escapist ideal of Jack himself. Both men... compete for the love of Dick's wife, Paula -- a vision of Charmian as the elegant hostess, the athletic horsewoman, and the Eternal Kid of Jack's fantasies... She kills herself to solve her dilemma the day before Dick has decided to do the same thing...
The end of Paula is, indeed, sinister. Having shot herself, she is revived by the use of a stimulant, then given a large dose of morphine to allow her to slip away without pain... The closing lines suggest Jack's own reliance on drugs to kill the unceasing pain of his kidneys and his bladder. [Sinclair]
This is a very good copy (rear endpaper split, some erosion of the black pigment, minor (natural) wrinkling of the flat spine). Sisson & Martens p. 88; Blanck 11966. Item #13762