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The Sea Wolf

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  25,617 ratings  ·  1,459 reviews
The Sea-Wolf is a 1904 psychological adventure novel by Jack London about a literary critic Humphrey van Weyden.The story starts with him aboard a San Francisco ferry, called Martinez, which collides with another ship in the fog and sinks. He is set adrift in the Bay, eventually being picked up by Wolf Larsen.Larsen is the captain of a seal-hunting schooner, the Ghost. Bru ...more
Paperback, 425 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Alan Rodgers Books (first published April 3rd 1904)
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Paul Of Billy Budd by Herman Melville. Short, detailed and a shocker! One of my favorite sailing ship reads. Billy - foretopman on a British man-of-war at odd…moreBilly Budd by Herman Melville. Short, detailed and a shocker! One of my favorite sailing ship reads. Billy - foretopman on a British man-of-war at odds with Claggart the master-of arms. Captain Vere's resolve. Consequences.(less)
Brandi I'd say it's meant for more mature readers, because of the depth. But teenagers could probably appreciate it too. It has a Treasure Island feel.…moreI'd say it's meant for more mature readers, because of the depth. But teenagers could probably appreciate it too. It has a Treasure Island feel.(less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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brian
Jan 07, 2009 rated it liked it
the biggest boldest pieceofshit pulpedout ridiculous shitshow of a novel I've come across. ever. i love it.

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 look like merril fucking stubing. no shit. and he’s got a brother named De
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Sea Wolf, Jack London

The Sea-Wolf is a 1904 psychological adventure novel by American novelist Jack London.

The book's protagonist, Humphrey van Weyden, is a literary critic who is a survivor of an ocean collision and who comes under the dominance of Wolf Larsen, the powerful and amoral sea captain who rescues him. Its first printing of forty thousand copies was immediately sold out before publication on the strength of London's previous The Call of the Wild....

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم
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Henry Avila
Millionaire Humphrey van Weyden a bookish gentleman, (who reads anymore) was coming back from visiting a close friend in the East Bay shore. Crossing the waters to San Francisco , again, his ferry boat 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 waters out through the Golden Gate (before the bridge was built). The tides and winds sweeping ...more
Matt
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“‘I believe that life is a mess,’ [Captain Wolf Larson] answered promptly. ‘It is like yeast, a ferment, a thing that moves and may move for a minute, an hour, a year, or a hundred years, but that in the end will cease to move. The big eat the little that they may continue to move, the strong eat the weak that they may retain their strength. The lucky eat the most and move the longest, that is all…’”
- Jack London, The Sea-Wolf


This is just like Moby Dick, if Moby Dick had been written by Hemingwa
...more
BrokenTune
Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
“Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course overestimated, for it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favour. Take that man I had aloft. He held on as if he were a precious thing, a treasure beyond diamonds of rubies. To you? No. To me? Not at all. To himself? Yes. But I do not accept his estimate. He sadly overrates himself. There is plenty more life demanding to be born. Had he fallen and dripped his brains upon the deck like honey from the comb, t ...more
Daniel
"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.
...more
Jay Schutt
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, owned
This terrific tale of the sea is character driven. Also, a study of human nature. Life, death, courage, hope for survival, immortality and love. A really good, but under-rated read.
Matt
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jack London’s take on Nietzsches’s dubious concept of the Übermensch.

In the confined space of a seal-hunting schooner in the middle of the Pacific Ocean the most captivating antagonist ever, captain Wolf Larson, highly intelligent with superhuman physical strength, have it out with the somewhat stodgy protagonist Van Weyden, an intellectual bookworm, scholar, and landlubber. Their philosophies and views on life couldn’t be more different.

The whole thing is embedded in an exciting adventure on hi
...more
Jim
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 setting.

Wolf Lar
...more
Joe
Jul 05, 2007 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
...more
Paul O'Neill
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it
An enjoyable sea faring tale, and not entirely what I was expecting.

The first half of this book would receive a solid four stars. It gets a bit boring at the end. The main reason being that I'd rather the 'sea wolf' character was indeed the main character. We've come a long way in what we want from our characters (thanks GRRM!) and their motivations. Is it wrong that I liked the 'bad guy' in this book and wanted to know more about him, his motivations and also agree with his pirate behaviour? I
...more
Martha
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Kenchiin
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
"You stand on dead men's legs. You've never had any of your own"
A book full of truth.
...more
Allison
Feb 09, 2010 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
...more
Kris
Jun 03, 2013 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
Sebastien
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sea-faring story built around two men, two countervailing ideals. Wolf Larson, an intrepid ferocious self-made seaman, harbors the following philosophy:

“I believe that life is a mess,’ [Captain Wolf Larson] answered promptly. ‘It is like yeast, a ferment, a thing that moves and may move for a minute, an hour, a year, or a hundred years, but that in the end will cease to move. The big eat the little that they may continue to move, the strong eat the weak that they may retain their strength. The
...more
Sketchbook
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Dan
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it


Possibly the best of Jack London's stories. This book has so much humanity. Although the circumstances of chance encounters in the middle of the Bering Sea are farfetched, this sea faring novel is a more entertaining read than Moby Dick.
...more
Wanda
Jun 22, 2014 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
...more
Dorcas
Jun 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Tristram Shandy
What a Maudlin Brew’s That …

I don’t know whether Jack London’s seafaring novel The Sea-Wolf enjoys the same popularity in the U.S. as it does in Germany, where practically every member of my generation fondly remembers the Weihnachtsvierteiler on TV, in which Raimund Harmstorf as Captain Wolf Larsen mashed a potato in his hand. Speaking of fond memories, though, one must admit that the adaptation came over as rather lengthy when I last watched it. But that is neither here nor there: The most imp
...more
David Allen Hines
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read one of my favorite books of youth and it still does not disappoint. The character of Wolf Larson, his intelligence but brutality, is one of the most memorable in literature, while Van Wyden's transformation from a weak gentleman to a strong and powerful man is as equally memorable. All set in a terrific sea-faring tale. The only detractants to this work are the ridiculous portrayal of the female as weak and helpless even as her actions in the book suggest real strength and the book's abr ...more
Andy Kahl
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
rosamund
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In general, I enjoy nautical novels for their adventures and camaraderie. The Sea-Wolf brings things to whole new level of homo-eroticism and moral quandaries. Humphrey Van Weyden, a literary critic, is shipwrecked on his way to San Francisco. He is rescued by Captain Wolf Larsen, who refuses to bring him to shore, instead forcing him to join his crew, in order to make a man of Humphrey.

London has a lot of feelings about manliness, most of which are pretty objectionable to the 21st century read
...more
Tariq Fadel
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't believe that there exists in all of literature a character as provocatively cowardly as Humphrey van weyden or "sissy" as he repeatedly calls himself. Although it seems at first that this is a seavoyage story, I am confident in an intentional psychoanalytic theme that is most dominant. Wolf larsen is without a doubt a father figure. That is due to the way Humphrey is impressed by the strength of his body and by the fear that he feels from him that could only be childish. Only a young boy ...more
J.M. Hushour
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tense and supremely satisfying morality play whose message is simple and twofold: don't be an asshole & apathy is for losers.
A pampered upper middle class waste-of-space, lost at sea after a boating accident, gets picked up by the "Ghost", a sealing schooner captained by one of the great, ruthless assholes of modern literature, Wolf Larsen. Larsen keeps the crybaby against his will and sets him up as cabin boy, nicknames him "Hump" and proceeds to torture and torment him into vitality. Larsen
...more
Zardoz
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
London was an amazing writer and his work still holds up to today’s standards. The Sea Wolf is more than an adventure novel. It’s themes of morality and the philosophy of it’s tyrant captain give the reader a lot to contemplate.
Bettie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
Oct 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
To violent! Made it to 43%... they started killing seals.....No
Kateryna
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics-read
A book that has been on my to-read list for way too long now. It tells the story of a wealthy gentleman who, following a shipwreck, is unwillingly forced to serve on a seal hunting vessel, captained by a dangerous man named Wolf Larsen. I love Jack London, but this one only gets a 3 from me. It wasn’t as adventurous as his other novels, at times it was heavy-handed and wordy. With all the nautical terms I had no idea what was going on at the end of the novel when the ship being repaired. But at ...more
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5,558 followers
Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.

His most famous works include The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both set in the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as the short stories "To Build a Fire", "An Odyssey of the North", and "Love of Life". He also wrote about the South Pacific in sto
...more

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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.” 95 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.” 47 likes
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