Modern Library Classics

The Sea Wolf

Publisher: Modern Library
A thrilling epic of a sea voyage and a complex novel of ideas, The Sea-Wolf is a standard-bearer of its genre. It is the vivid story of a gentleman scholar, Humphrey Van Weyden, who is rescued by a seal-hunting schooner after a ferryboat accident in San Francisco Bay. London uses Van Weyden's ordeal at the hands of a schooner's devious crew to explore powerful themes of ambition, courage, and the innate will to survive. The Sea-Wolf also introduces Jack London's most memorable, fully realized character, Wolf Larsen, the schooner's brutal captain, who ruthlessly crushes anyone standing in his way. As Gary Kinder states in his Introduction, "Wolf Larsen is one of the most carefully carved characters in American literature....London, himself, seems as fascinated as the reader with his own creation."

READ AN EXCERPT

I scarcely know where to begin, though I sometimes facetiously place the cause of it all to Charley Furuseth's credit. He kept a summer cottage in Mill Valley, under the shadow of Mount Tamalpais, and never occupied it except when he loafed through the winter months and read Nietzsche and Schopenhauer to rest his brain....
Read More

READING GUIDE

1. Wolf Larsen is arguably Jack London's most memorable human character. Discuss your reaction to him.

2. Carl Sandburg contends that Wolf Larsen represents "The System Incarnate," ruthlessly discarding anything in the way of his own agenda. Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? Why?...

Read More

PRAISE FOR

"London's...is a vision of exceptional and crucial vitality."
--James Dickey