The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.
Looking for a method to mitigate the torture, Standing tries “the short death” (a kind of trance state) about which he found out from another prisoner while communicating by tapping. As a result, he travels among the stars and then experiences a lot of episodes of his past lives. The main part of the book contains the descriptions of the journeys to his old lives.
The Call of the Wild (1903)and White Fang (1906) are two classic American adventure novels depicting the evolution of two dogs in the wild. The novels are in fact mirror images of one another, as Call of the Wild depicts Buck's journey from domestic to wild dog, while White Fang recounts White Fang's transformation from wild beast to domestic companion. Both convey powerful themes of redemption and survival that continue to affect readers even today.
This edition features a new introduction.
Had it not been my custom to run up to see him every Saturday afternoon and to stop over till Monday morning, this particular January Monday morning would not have found me afloat on San Francisco Bay.
Not but that I was afloat in a safe craft, for the _Martinez_ was a new ferry-steamer, making her fourth or fifth trip on the run between Sausalito and San Francisco.
The danger lay in the heavy fog which blanketed the bay, and of which, as a landsman, I had little apprehension.
In fact, I remember the placid exaltation with which I took up my position on the forward upper deck, directly beneath the pilot-house, and allowed the mystery of the fog to lay hold of my imagination.
A fresh breeze was blowing, and for a time I was alone in the moist obscurity—yet not alone, for I was dimly conscious of the presence of the pilot, and of what I took to be the captain, in the glass house above my head.
I remember thinking how comfortable it was, this division of labour which made it unnecessary for me to study fogs, winds, tides, and navigation, in order to visit my friend who lived across an arm of the sea....
A vast silence reigned over the land.
The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness.
There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter more terrible than any sadness--a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility.
It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life.
It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild.
But there _was_ life, abroad in the land and defiant.
Down the frozen waterway toiled a string of wolfish dogs.
Their bristly fur was rimed with frost.
Their breath froze in the air as it left their mouths, spouting forth in spumes of vapour that settled upon the hair of their bodies and formed into crystals of frost.
Leather harness was on the dogs, and leather traces attached them to a sled which dragged along behind.
The sled was without runners.
It was made of stout birch-bark, and its full surface rested on the snow....
Extraordinary both for the vividness of their descriptions and the success with which they imagine life from a non-human perspective, these two classics of children’s literature are two of the greatest and most popular animal stories ever written.
Part of the Macmillan Collector’s Library, a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold-foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This beautiful Macmillan Collector’s Library edition of The Call of the Wild & White Fang features an afterword by Sam Gilpin.
The Call of the Wild tells the story of Buck, a domestic dog who is kidnapped from his home in California and forced to pull sleds in the Arctic wasteland. White Fang, by contrast, is the tale of a crossbreed who is three-quarters wolf and a quarter dog, and who must endure considerable suffering in the wilderness before being tamed by an American and taken to live in California.
by Jack London
THE EXPERIENCES RELATED in this volume fell to me in the summer of
1902. I went down into the under-world of London with an attitude of
mind which I may best liken to that of the explorer. I was open to
be convinced by the evidence of my eyes, rather than by the
teachings of those who had not seen, or by the words of those who
had seen and gone before. Further, I took with me certain simple
criteria with which to measure the life of the under-world. That which
made for more life, for physical and spiritual health, was good;
that which made for less life, which hurt, and dwarfed, and
distorted life, was bad.
It will be readily apparent to the reader that I saw much that was
bad. Yet it must not be forgotten that the time of which I write was
considered 'good times' in England. The starvation and lack of shelter
I encountered constituted a chronic condition of misery which is never
wiped out, even in the periods of greatest prosperity.
Following the summer in question came a hard winter. To such an
extent did the suffering and positive starvation increase that society
was unable to cope with it. Great numbers of the unemployed formed
into processions, as many as a dozen at a time, and daily marched
through the streets of London crying for bread. Mr. Justin McCarthy,
writing in the month of January, 1903, to the New York Independent,
briefly epitomizes the situation as follows:-
'The workhouses have no space left in which to pack the starving
crowds who are craving every day and night at their doors for food and
shelter. All the charitable institutions have exhausted their means in
trying to raise supplies of food for the famishing residents of the
garrets and cellars of London lanes and alleys. The quarters of the
Salvation Army in various parts of London are nightly besieged by
hosts of the unemployed and the hungry for whom neither shelter nor
the means of sustenance can be provided.'
It has been urged that the criticism I have passed on things as they
are in England is too pessimistic. I must say, in extenuation, that of
optimists I am the most optimistic. But I measure manhood less by
political aggregations than by individuals. Society grows, while
political machines rack to pieces and become 'scrap.' For the English,
so far as manhood and womanhood and health and happiness go, I see a
broad and smiling future. But for a great deal of the political
machinery, which at present mismanages for them, I see nothing else
than the scrap heap.
by Jack London
LOVE OF LIFE
"This out of all will remain -
They have lived and have tossed:
So much of the game will be gain,
Though the gold of the dice has been lost."
THEY limped painfully down the bank, and once the foremost of the
two men staggered among the rough-strewn rocks. They were tired
and weak, and their faces had the drawn expression of patience
which comes of hardship long endured. They were heavily burdened
with blanket packs which were strapped to their shoulders. Headstraps,
passing across the forehead, helped support these packs.
Each man carried a rifle. They walked in a stooped posture, the
shoulders well forward, the head still farther forward, the eyes
bent upon the ground.
"I wish we had just about two of them cartridges that's layin' in
that cache of ourn," said the second man.
His voice was utterly and drearily expressionless. He spoke
without enthusiasm; and the first man, limping into the milky
stream that foamed over the rocks, vouchsafed no reply.
The other man followed at his heels. They did not remove their
foot-gear, though the water was icy cold - so cold that their
ankles ached and their feet went numb. In places the water dashed
against their knees, and both men staggered for footing.
by Jack London
The one opened the door with a latch-key and went in, followed by a
young fellow who awkwardly removed his cap. He wore rough clothes
that smacked of the sea, and he was manifestly out of place in the
spacious hall in which he found himself. He did not know what to
do with his cap, and was stuffing it into his coat pocket when the
other took it from him. The act was done quietly and naturally,
and the awkward young fellow appreciated it. "He understands," was
his thought. "He'll see me through all right."
He walked at the other's heels with a swing to his shoulders, and
his legs spread unwittingly, as if the level floors were tilting up
and sinking down to the heave and lunge of the sea. The wide rooms
seemed too narrow for his rolling gait, and to himself he was in
terror lest his broad shoulders should collide with the doorways or
sweep the bric-a-brac from the low mantel. He recoiled from side
to side between the various objects and multiplied the hazards that
in reality lodged only in his mind. Between a grand piano and a
centre-table piled high with books was space for a half a dozen to
walk abreast, yet he essayed it with trepidation. His heavy arms
hung loosely at his sides. He did not know what to do with those
arms and hands, and when, to his excited vision, one arm seemed
liable to brush against the books on the table, he lurched away
like a frightened horse, barely missing the piano stool. He
watched the easy walk of the other in front of him, and for the
first time realized that his walk was different from that of other
men. He experienced a momentary pang of shame that he should walk
so uncouthly. The sweat burst through the skin of his forehead in
tiny beads, and he paused and mopped his bronzed face with his
"Hold on, Arthur, my boy," he said, attempting to mask his anxiety
with facetious utterance. "This is too much all at once for yours
truly. Give me a chance to get my nerve. You know I didn't want
to come, an' I guess your fam'ly ain't hankerin' to see me