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 1902-1903 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." [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, truly fine copies are few and far between. This is a very good copy (some erosion of the white pigment, plus a faint damp-mark on two edges of the front cover). Sisson & Martens p. 14; Blanck 11876. Item #14901