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The Sea Wolf

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,403 Ratings  ·  802 Reviews
The novel begins when Van Weyden is swept overboard into San Francisco Bay, and plucked from the sea by Larsen's seal-hunting vessel, the Ghost. This ship's evil captain, Wolf Larsen - The Sea-Wolf - is a murderous tyrant who uses his superhuman strength to torture and destroy, his brilliant mind to invent sick games, and his relentless will to control his mutinous crew. P ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published 1965 by Airmont (first published 1904)
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this has gotta be one of the biggest piece of shit pulpy ridiculous shitshows of a novel. ever. and i freely admit that i love it. yeah, that's right. this is my Valley of the Dolls.

here’s the deal: an effete bookworm gets on a boat that crashes just off the san fransiscan coast and is scooped out of the water and brought onto the seal-hunting Ghost, headed to Japan, and captained by Wolf Larson, the darkest, most demented and brutal guy to walk the planet. this guy makes ahab, kurtz, and bligh
Henry Avila
Millionaire Humphrey van Weyden, a bookish gentleman (who reads anymore?), was coming back , from visiting a friend in the East Bay shore. Crossing the waters to San Francisco , again, his ferry collides in the thick fog, with a steamer. Quickly sinking her, the dilettante, can't swim, good thing he has a life preserver on, going overboard, amid piercing cries, in the gloom, drifting in the chilly water, out through the Golden Gate (before the bridge was built). The tides and winds sweeping him ...more
"We were talking about this yesterday," he said. "I held that life was a ferment, a yeasty something which devoured life that it might live, and that living was merely successful piggishness. Why, if there is anything in supply and demand, life is the cheapest thing in the world. There is only so much water, so much earth, so much air; but the life that is demanding to be born is limitless. Nature is a spendthrift. Look at the fish and their millions of eggs. For that matter, look at you and me.
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2fiction, 1audio
I've read quite a few of London's books although it was years ago for most. I've reread a few, but somehow never got to this one. I'm glad I remedied that. Wolf Larsen & Hump are certainly two of the most vivid & interesting characters I've had the pleasure to encounter. The story was all the more intriguing because it explores the meaning & purpose of life through a rousing adventure. London based much of it on a sailing voyage he took to Japan which explains the reality of the sett ...more
Feb 12, 2010 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my god. This book is...well, it defies description.

At first, I thought "Oh, illegal seal hunting, violence, and poor health conditions on a ship lost in the Bering Sea. What's not to love?" (Note the heavy sarcasm.)

Turns out, all of those things have a very minor role in the story. It is mostly about the learning experiences of a gentleman aboard a brutal ship, and his conversations with the captain, who is a very unusually educated man. I could go on for pages about the discussions that the
Mar 19, 2008 Martha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has got to be one of my all-time favorite novels. I've read it over and over and over :) Jack London (an atheist to the chore) is one of our great, American authors. His story is extremely gripping and intense, while he weaves throughout the story-line his thoughts of God vs. Atheism. The protagonist (the Christian) and the antagonist (the Atheist) are frequently involved in debates about right vs. wrong, design vs. accident, and God vs. evolution. Jack London does not, however, endorse eit ...more
Jul 09, 2007 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Manly Men Doing Manly Things
Anyone who needs a good shot of testosterone but thinks the movie 300 was a little to homo-erotic should read the Sea Wolf. This book makes Hemmingway run off like a little girly man. The main character is a woosy book-worm literary critic who gets press-ganged into a sealing crew led by the cruel and rutheless Wolf Larsson. Larsson is one of the greatest villians I've had the pleasure to read--he's intelligent and brutal, but at times you even sympathize with him.
By the way, I especially sugges
Dec 20, 2014 Wanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Dagny, Karen, Cheryl
31 JUL 2014 -- will start this one on Saturday, 2 AUG. Tomorrow, 1 AUG, is a day off from work and I will also give a listen-to Eugenie Grandet on BBC Radio 4X. So, the Sea-Wolf and I will sail together on Saturday. See you Saturday Sea-Wolf.

2 AUG 2014 -- Chap. 5. The Sea-Wolf is a nasty piece of cod. He is bossy and overbearing. A bully personality is his way of life. A man who dearly needs a major time-out. Another baby-man.

3 AUG 2014 -- Chap. 8. "Sometimes I think Wolf Larsen mad, or half-m
Sep 02, 2015 Kris rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sadists
Shelves: own-it
How many ways did I loathe this book? Well, first there was the constant theme that in order to be a "real man" (I'll save discussion of women for later) that one has to work with his hands, and has to brave the elements, and laugh in the face of danger, and be cruel, sadistic and amoral, and that these are all things to be admired! Oh, and don't forget that you have to have the body of a Greek god and a a self-taught intellect that is only used to back up one's own views, not to explore other v ...more
Andy Kahl
Jul 07, 2007 Andy Kahl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This is another of my book club (The Irregulars) picks, and one I'd put in the win column. Our discussion of the book pointed out that the men generally liked the first part better and the women liked the second part better. Me, I liked both. I enjoyed the philosophical discussions in the first half, and the sheer audacity of Wolf Larson. But I also enjoyed the second half with the introduction of the Maud character. Call me a sappy romantic, but that "please, please" thing just strummed my hear ...more
Jan 17, 2011 Sketchbook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A breathless, over-the-top "Pop" adventure. Based on
Jack London's travels (sensitive sissy confronts beastie
schooner captain), it presents in technicolor the author's
double vision of himself. Between wrenching physical
jousts, the duelists quote Swinburne, Milton & Omar Khyyam.
For the Douglas Sirk finale there's a mermaid from
Boston. "My man," sighs she, offering her lips to the newly
muscled chappy after his captivity. The Darwinian
seafaring manners: bitchin' & butch.
Jun 21, 2014 Dorcas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my absolute favorite "desert isle " book choice as a teenager. I absolutely adored it .Which is a bit unusual, I know. But there you have it. I cant tell you how many times Ive read this.

Basically, the hero Humphrey "Hump" is tossed overboard during a storm at sea and picked up by a passing sealer ship captained by the infamous "Wolf Larssen ". Wolf has no intention of carrying Hump to his destination. He can become one of the crew and tow the line or he can be eaten by the fishes. His
Dec 25, 2015 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It began simply, on a regular day, except this day I was fortunate enough to find myself in my favorite local bookshop. Right near the door, the owner had purchased and set up a set of books, beautiful-looking Reader’s Digest books, classics. I specifically went there looking for Mark Twain, and I ended up with three of them. I also had my eye on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. I wanted to get one more book, but I didn’t know which one to get. Kipling, Verne, Austen, Dickens. So I asked the propr ...more
هذه الرواية ذات محتوى شديد الذكورية مثل كاتبها . فى ذلك العهد كانت الأفكار النيتشوية و الدارونية ذات شعبية ففكرة البقاء للأفضل المستوحاة من نظرية النشوء و الأرتقاء و فكرة السوبرمان كانتا فى زروتيهما.
و جاك لندن فى رواياته كان يرى أن الطبيعة و قسوتها هى خير معلم و ملهم للأنسان فهى مصدر الحياة و الموت و هى ملهمة الصراع و بالتالى يجب أن تكون ملهمةالأخلاق أيضا .
فى هذه الرواية يوضع نقيضين فى مواجهةو مسرح المواجهة هى سفينة الصيد ( الشبح)فى عرض البحر فى غياب اى تدخل حضارى أيا كان الأول شخص متعلم و متح
Aug 24, 2014 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wolf Larsen is one of the most "over the top" characters I've ever seen in a novel. He's like some kind of nightmare that just won't end. (Read the last 10 chapters and you'll know what I mean.) I have to add an extra star just for the author's sheer guts to write such a character that borders on camp (and perhaps goes over the edge). Lots of fun to read, and never boring.
Слави Ганев
С прочитането на този роман правя крачка назад - поправям грешка от миналото, и същевременно отивам малко напред - избистрям възгледите си по някои философски спорове, които винаги са ме вълнували. Същевременно не мърдам от мястото си, защото не стигам до никъде - не получавам отговорите, които търся.

Обожавам нещо в творчеството на Джек Лондон - неговия аромат. Не, не душа книгите си, както правят някои и обикновено не изпадам в екстаз мириса на нова или пък стара хартия. Харесвам живите описани
Eden Bissell
At first glance, I expected this book to be a shorter Moby-Dick. I mean, an intellectual man is on board a ship with a cruel captain? It's the same thing. But I couldn't have been more wrong.
Sea Wolf has an amazing balance between philosophy, ship adventures, and shock caused by the psychopathic captain. It is well written and easy to read, but still draws you in. The book also contains major ironic themes, which is good if you're taking the AP lit exam and need some such books.
Jul 05, 2015 Mo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, adventure, ocean
The Sea-Wolf is my mom's favorite book. My mom grew up in East Germany where it wasn't possible to buy a copy of this book. Her solution was to check it out from the library repeatedly and hand-copy the entire thing into a notebook so she could possess it herself. That's how much she loved this book. So I decided to read it and find out what's so great about it. All I can say is... I can see why someone would love The Sea-Wolf, especially as a teenager, but my god was it hilariously pulpy. Is th ...more
João Duarte
Apr 20, 2015 João Duarte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pois é, pois é...
Um verdadeiro resgate. Tem a capacidade de nos fazer olhar para a humanidade com uma réstia de esperança, ainda que de forma muito célere e perene, um pouco como os filmes a preto-e-branco em que o que interessa é verdadeiramente o que se quer sentir, mais do que o que se sente.
Pode ser uma mentira, mas quero mesmo muito acreditar nela.
Se o que conta é a intenção, pelo menos que o núcleo da intenção seja puro. O resto, estragamos nós, com toda a responsabilidade a que nos habi
Lisa N
May 26, 2012 Lisa N rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read on many levels. It’s an enjoyable sea adventure--Fishing two different shipwrecked victims out of the sea would normally have seemed a little farfetched to me, except I also happened to be reading a true account of Violet Jessop, who personally survived 3 shipwrecks in the early 1900s, one of which was the Titanic.

It’s noteworthy from a literary perspective. London is part of the Naturalism movement in American literature. He is exceptional at depicting primal man and explor
Frederick Bingham
Jan 01, 2012 Frederick Bingham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on cassette. Story read by Frank Muller, who did a great job.Not high literature but a rollicking good story. This book is about Humphrey van Weydon. Set in ~1904, Van Weydon is a society dandy who is crossing San Francisco Bay one day on a ferry in the fog. Suddenly, a ship appears out of the fog and crushes the ferry. 'Hump' manages to get on a life jacket before the ferry sinks, but is swept out through the Golden Gate. After hours of drifting he is picked up by a sealing s ...more
Jan 14, 2009 Tlnorz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Jack London novel. It is a straightforward story of action and adventure but is also a book that, when peeled back, has a lot to say about the basic nature of man.

The protagonist, Humphrey Van Weyden, is the ultimate moral/altruistic man. But, he is also an inexperienced man, having lived the sheltered life of an aristocrat in San Francisco. His world view is one of theory only.

The antagonist, Wolf Larson (one of the best villians of all time), is captain of the seal hunting
Raya Ka'abneh
Jun 12, 2014 Raya Ka'abneh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
كم هي راااائعة!!!
في البداية لم أتوقع أن تكون بهذه الروعة..
حياة البحر والصيادين والقبطان..
القبطان الشرير وولف لارسن الذئب ، القبطان المتوحش قبطان سفينة الشبح المتغطرس الذي لا يعرف الرحمة..
فان ويندن وفلسفته وتحديه للارسن ونجاته مع حبيبته مود...
Morris Graham
Apr 22, 2015 Morris Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Humphrey Van Weyden is a gentleman, and academic, who has lived a soft life among civilized, like-minded people. He is on a steemer to visit a friend. On this trip, a fog settles and the ship gets struck and sinks. Mr Van Weyden lives, despite the frigid waters, and finds himself picked up by a seal hunting schooner headed to Japan. Mr Van Weyden is saved, but his nightmare just begins.

Captain Wolf Larsen's first mate has died, leaving him short a man. So, he informs the cabin boy he is now a bo
Mar 01, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wolf Larsen is unforgettable, and even though his actions horrified me, his charisma and brilliance drew me in to the point that I believed him to be a co-protagonist until the book was nearly over. I loved the nautical setting for a conflict between moral idealism and amoral materialism. This is one to read again, looking for symbols in the action of the water and what is going on onboard. The true protagonist Humphrey Van Weyden is barely likable enough to root for, but what he believes in and ...more
Dec 15, 2015 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took it along on my cruise vacation for it's obvious maritime themes. The book's villain is a materialist while the official protagonist makes the case for the possibility of altruism, the immortal soul and such. London appears to side with his hero and even smears the atheist antihero with what I take to be a misreading of Nietzsche. But it's pretty clear he also admires his villain and gives him the best arguments. In the end the hero behaves heroically only because of the influence of the ...more
Jan 29, 2016 Erdinç rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ne kötü bir roman olduğunu söyleyebileceğim, ne de onu pek fazla sevebildiğimi. Tesadüfün, ahlaktan ve acıma duygusundan yoksun bir deniz yolcluluğu ortamına taşıdığı şehir beyefendisi bir gencin bir çeşit gelişim öyküsü diyebiliriz Deniz Kurdu'na. Açıkçası, romanda bu gelişim öyküsünün olanaklarının biraz harcandığını, kişisel değişim ve gerilim unsurlarının incelikli bir edebi üslupla değil, bir an önce sonuca varmaya çalışan salt ilerlemeci bir kurguyla aktarıldığını düşünüyorum. Kahramanımız ...more
Ayden W
Nov 10, 2015 Ayden W rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wierd ship sitting on the cost line. The Sea Wolf by Jack London is a great book. First it is a book for people how need to read every classic of Jack London like Call of The Wild ,or White Fang. The book also is a exellt advetrue store with a confused chareter at the bigging try ing to figure some stuff out will keep you reading. "His tremendous, dormant strength must have stirred, swiftly and accurately, or I must have slept a moment, for before I knew it he had stepped two paces forward, gr ...more
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Jan 08, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has long been a favorite of mine since I first read it as a teenager. Nominally an adventure story in the tradition of Treasure Island or Captains Courageous, the book can be more accurately considered a work of philosophy, a treatise on materialism and a refutation of Neitzsche’s ubermensch amoralism, presented through the lengthy debates of brutish autodidact alpha male Wolf Larsen and fish-out-of-water (sorry) gentleman Humphrey Van Weyden. The story works well as a high seas adventure w ...more
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.

London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
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“Why, if there is anything in supply and demand, life is the cheapest thing in the world. There is only so much water, so much earth, so much air; but the life that is demanding to be born is limitless. Nature is a spendthrift. Look at the fish and their millions of eggs. For that matter, look at you and me. In our loins are the possibilities of millions of lives. Could we but find time and opportunity and utilize the last bit and every bit of the unborn life that is in us, we could become the fathers of nations and populate continents. Life? Bah! It has no value. Of cheap things it is the cheapest. Everywhere it goes begging. Nature spills it out with a lavish hand. Where there is room for one life, she sows a thousand lives, and it's life eats life till the strongest and most piggish life is left.” 72 likes
“But, – and there it is, – we want to live and move, though we have no reason to, because it happens that it is the nature of life to live and move, to want to live and move. If it were not for this, life would be dead. It is because of this life that is in you that you dream of your immortality.” 41 likes
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