Five Fun Facts About The Call of the Wild

SWT-Book-ClubsIt’s Friday Book club, and in May we’re reading The Call of the Wild, by Jack London.  If you are in the Sacramento area, join us on May 18 at 2PM at Arden Dimick for the in-person discussion of this exciting book!

Here’s five fun facts about The Call of the Wild:

1.  The dog, Buck, was modeled after London’s friend’s dog.

London spent a lot of time in Alaska staying with the wealthy Bond brothers, Marshall Bond and Louis Whitford Bond.  They became good friends despite having opposite political views (their arguments were a popular form of camp entertainment).  The brothers owned a fruit ranch in the Santa Clara Valley in California.  This ranch was the model for Buck’s home in the book.  The brothers owned a St Bernard/Collie mix that was the inspiration for Buck.

handwritten letter from Jack London to Marshall Bond

2. London’s writing style influenced Hemingway.

During the passages with Charles and Mercedes, London uses a flowery style to suit their over-blown lives, but for most of the time when Buck is facing the hardships of Alaska the language is stark and simple.

photo of the original Buck

3. The Call of the Wild was initially published as a serial.

The Saturday Evening Post bought it for $750 and ran it in four parts in 1903.  Later that year all rights were sold to Macmillan, who first published it as a book.  It has been in print ever since.

cover of Saturday Evening Post

 4.  While in Alaska, London read Origin of the Species, by Charles Darwin, and Paradise Lost by John Milton

Call of the Wild  is often seen as an example of survival of the fittest, and is also an examination of nature versus nurture.  Meanwhile, The Ranch can be said to represent Paradise Lost.

original call of the wild

5. London was accused of plagiarism.

Edgarton Ryerson Young wrote a book called My Dogs of the Northland.  He claimed that London had stolen Call of the wild from this book.  London claimed that he had been inspired and influenced by Northland  and that he had sent Young a thank you letter for the source material.

 

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One thought on “Five Fun Facts About The Call of the Wild

  1. Cat Amesbury says:

    Not to get ahead of your book club, but one of the things that I find most interesting about “Call of the Wild” is how London wrote it as a reaction to his story, “Diablo- A Dog” about a dog who killed his master. He kind of became embedded in this interesting triptych of stories from “Diablo” through “Call of the Wild” and then into “White Fang”, where a wild dog is civilized.

    Having spent a little time up around Dawson City, it’s easy enough to see why he would be fascinated by Darwin’s “Origin” and nature versus nurture. I just find it interesting that the further away from that time of his life he was, the more his writing tended to the triumph of civilization over wildness.

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