New York: The Macmillan Company, 1906. 4 pp undated ads. Original light blue-grey cloth pictorially decorated in white and black.
First Published Edition of London's famous tale about a savage half-wolf/half-dog in the Yukon who becomes domesticated -- a complementary volume to THE CALL OF THE WILD (1903), which followed a dog going in the opposite direction. Though not mentioned on the title page, the volume includes eight color plates by Charles Livingston Bull.
Jack wrote this book at the end of a time of confusion, when he was torn between his ex-wife and daughters, his artist friends (George Sterling and "The Crowd") who were forming a colony in Carmel, and Charmian Kittredge. Ultimately he chose Charmian, Glen Ellen, and the hills of Sonoma.
Now he was emerging from the wild back to domesticity through his love of Charmian. Within the four years of his revolt and reassessment of himself, he had written three of his major books -- the reversion to solitude in THE CALL OF THE WILD, the struggle between the brute ego and social sentiment in THE SEA-WOLF, and the dubious acceptance of domesticity in WHITE FANG. He had survived his time of despair... [Sinclair]
This copy has a cancel title leaf on laid paper (other copies have a cancel leaf on wove paper, and still others have an integral title leaf on laid paper). Although some (e.g. Woodbridge) have surmised that the integral leaf might have come first, Blanck deduces (since the leaves are otherwise identical, with no corrections) that all title pages were replaced -- with a cancel leaf for those copies already bound, and with an integral leaf in those not yet bound. In any event, this is a fine copy with scarcely any soil or wear (Christmas 1909 signature on the front free endpaper); the white pigment on the front cover remains in place, the spine gilt remains bright, and the pictorial endpapers remain intact. Sisson & Martens p. 30; Blanck 11896. Item #15164