With the upcoming release of the new movie, Call of the Wild starring Harrison Ford, we wanted to highlight some information about the book that has inspired this film. As you may know, the story is tale of survival and is “one of the first American novels to examine the quest of the pioneering individual who breaks away from the sheltered environment of civilization and is romantically compelled to find freedom in nature. The novel’s main character, Buck, is a large and powerful St. Bernard-Scotch Shepherd, who was stolen and sold into service as a sled dog during the Klondike Gold Rush. At first, Buck struggles for survival in the harsh environment, but then relies on his instinct and experience to become the leader of the pack. Jack London based many of the ideas in the book from his experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and was influenced by the philisophical ideas of Darwin and Nietzsche.
In the summer of 1903, the story was first serialized in four installments in The Saturday Evening Post and then the book was first published by Macmillan in 1903 with a print run of 10,000 copies (which quickly sold out) and had a price of $1.50. First editions state “Set up electrotyped, and published July, 1903” on the copyright page. The first edition contains ten tipped-in color plates by illustrators Philip R. Goodwin and Charles Livingston Bull and a color frontispiece by Charles Edward Hooper.
The first edition of Call of the Wild below shows the very rare dust jacket, which mimics the art work of the cover and is blank on the back. This was typical of most dust jackets at this time in history and they were usually thrown away after purchase.
Another interesting first edition of Call of the Wild that we have in stock is one that is inscribed by the author to to fellow writer and screenplay pioneer Elinor Glyn. The photo below shows the green cover with gilt titles and colored illustrations as well as a photo of the inscription that can be found on the half title page.
Today, The Call of the Wild is still one of the best-known stories written by an American author and has been published in almost 50 languages. It is included in Modern Library’s “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century.
Jack London was a prolific writer, publishing many short stories and novels. Another of his most well known novels is White Fang. Below is a first edition that we have in stock.
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