The Call of the Wild White Fang and to Build a Fire by Jack London

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The Call of the Wild—Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

'To this day Jack London is the most widely read American writer in the world,' E. L. Doctorow wrote in The New York Times Book Review. Generally considered to be London's greatest achievement, The Call of the Wild brought him international acclaim when it was published in 1903. His story of the dog Buck, who learns to survive in the bleak Yukon wilderness, is viewed by many as his symbolic autobiography. 'No other popular writer of his time did any better writing than you will find in The Call of the Wild,' said H. L. Mencken. 'Here, indeed, are all the elements of sound fiction.'

White Fang (1906), which London conceived as a 'complete antithesis and companion piece to The Call of the Wild,' is the tale of an abused wolf-dog tamed by exposure to civilization. Also included in this volume is 'To Build a Fire,' a marvelously desolate short story set in the Klondike, but containing all the elements of a classic Greek tragedy.

'The quintessential Jack London is in the on-rushing compulsive-ness of his northern stories,' noted James Dickey. 'Few men have more convincingly examined the connection between the creative powers of the individual writer and the unconscious drive to breed and to survive, found in the natural world. . . . London is in and committed to his creations to a degree very nearly unparalleled in the composition of fiction.'
 

About Jack London

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One of the pioneers of 20th century American literature, Jack London specialized in tales of adventure inspired by his own experiences. London was born in San Francisco in 1876. At 14, he quit school and became an "oyster pirate," robbing oyster beds to sell his booty to the bars and restaurants in Oakland. Later, he turned on his pirate associates and joined the local Fish Patrol, resulting in some hair-raising waterfront battles. Other youthful activities included sailing on a seal-hunting ship, traveling the United States as a railroad tramp, a jail term for vagrancy and a hazardous winter in the Klondike during the 1897 gold rush. Those experiences converted him to socialism, as he educated himself through prolific reading and began to write fiction. After a struggling apprenticeship, London hit literary paydirt by combining memories of his adventures with Darwinian and Spencerian evolutionary theory, the Nietzchean concept of the "superman" and a Kipling-influenced narrative style. "The Son of the Wolf"(1900) was his first popular success, followed by 'The Call of the Wild" (1903), "The Sea-Wolf" (1904) and "White Fang" (1906). He also wrote nonfiction, including reportage of the Russo-Japanese War and Mexican revolution, as well as "The Cruise of the Snark" (1911), an account of an eventful South Pacific sea voyage with his wife, Charmian, and a rather motley crew. London's body broke down prematurely from his rugged lifestyle and hard drinking, and he died of uremic poisoning - possibly helped along by a morphine overdose - at his California ranch in 1916. Though his massive output is uneven, his best works - particularly "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang" - have endured because of their rich subject matter and vigorous prose.
 
Published November 1, 2000 by Modern Library. 294 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The Call of the Wild and White FangJack London, 1903, 1906304 pp.

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