Heeding the Call


Born 12 January 1876 – Jack London, American author, journalist, and social activist. I concede that there is some merit in the criticism that London was not especially adept at handling long narratives, such as the novel, but in his masterpiece, “The Call of the Wild,” he achieves a poetic grandeur that transcends the strictures of aesthetic form. There is something unabashedly primordial in the book’s stark appeal, something shadowy but also strangely familiar in its story, something that whispers to us from outside the sheltering walls of our increasingly virtual lives, reminding us of important matters that we have almost but not quite forgotten. I urge you to attend to that gently insistent call, as it addresses the reader in the Epigraph at the beginning of the novel:

“Old longings nomadic leap,
Chafing at custom’s chain;
Again from its brumal sleep
Wakens the ferine strain.”

And then read on, heading out with Buck into the vast uncharted heart of the world, which is the landscape of all true adventures.

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