This psychological adventure novel's protagonist, Humphrey van Weyden, is a literary critic who survives an ocean collision and comes under the dominance of his rescuer, Wolf Larsen, a powerful and amoral sea captain. The first printing of 40,000 copies sold out before publication on the strength of London's previous "The Call of the Wild". Ambrose Bierce wrote, "The great thing—and it is among the greatest of things—is that tremendous creation, Wolf Larsen... the hewing out and setting up of such a figure is enough for a man to do in one lifetime... The love element, with its absurd suppressions, and impossible proprieties, is awful."
John Griffith "Jack" London (born John Griffith Chaney -1876 –1916) was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first specialist fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune. His works include "The Call of the Wild" and "White Fang", both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote about the South Pacific in stories such as "The Pearls of Parlay" and "The Heathen", and of the San Francisco Bay area in "The Sea Wolf". London was part of the radical literary group "The Crowd" in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of unionisation, socialism, and workers' rights. He wrote several powerful works dealing with these topics, such as his dystopian novel "The Iron Heel", his non-fiction exposé "The People of the Abyss", and "The War of the Classes."
Our copy, while showing many signs of its 100+ years, is nevertheless in good condition, bound in navy-blue cloth with title etc in gilt and white lettering on the front and spine, and an illustration in 3 rectangular panels on the front cover, showing sailors manipulating a brown sail. The corners are all bumped, the edges and spine angles all somewhat faded, and there is shelf wear to top & bottom of the spine. There are whitish stains on all 3 external surfaces, and the cloth on the front is slightly creased at the right-hand side. Inside, the binding is rather loose, but only one page (the illustration opposite p.98) has become detached. The webbing is visible through the rear endpaper, but the front endpaper is intact. The rear endpaper is stained; the front fep bears an owner's name in ink, and there is an ex libris inside the front cover with what may be the same owner's name. The tissue guard to the frontispiece is present but quite browned. Pages are generally clean and bright; there are only occasional single spots of foxing. Page edges are roughcut.