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Books Read in 2017-2018 > White Fang - Non-Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Please use this thread for first impressions, (non-spoilers) background and general information.


message 2: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Dec 28, 2017 09:43PM) (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Background information on White Fang by Jack London

White Fang is a novel by American author Jack London (1876–1916) — and the name of the book's eponymous character, a wild wolfdog. First serialized in Outing magazine, it was published in 1906. The story takes place in Yukon Territory and the Northwest TeCritics have identified many underlying themes in the novel. Tom Feller describes the story as "an allegory of humanity’s progression from nature to civilization." He also expresses that "the [story's] implication is that the metamorphosis of both the individual and society will require violence at some point." Paul Deane states that "[in the novel,] society demands a conformity that undermines individualism." London himself took influence from Herbert Spencer's words: "survival of the fittest", as well as Friedrich Nietzsche's idea of a "superman" (or "superdog", in this instance) and of "the worship of power".

The novel is partly an autobiographical allegory based on London’s conversion from teenage hoodlum to married, middle-class writer. In writing it, he was influenced by the ideas of Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Conditions in the US also influenced the story.

Publication history

Since the novel has been published it has been translated into over 89 different languages and released as a three-volume Braille edition.

Reception

Upon its release, White Fang was an immediate success worldwide, and became especially popular among younger readers. Robert Greenwood called White Fang "one of London’s most interesting and ambitious works." Virginia Crane claims that the novel is "generally regarded as artistically inferior to its companion piece [The Call of the Wild], but [that it] helped establish London as a popular American literary figure."

Shortly after the book's publication, London became a target in what would later be called the nature fakers controversy, a literary debate highlighting the conflict between science and sentiment in popular nature writing. President Theodore Roosevelt, who first spoke out against the "sham naturalists" in 1907, specifically named London as one of the so-called "nature fakers". Citing an example from White Fang, Roosevelt referred to the fight between the bulldog and the wolfdog "the very sublimity of absurdity." London only responded to the criticism after the controversy had ended. He wrote in an 1908 essay entitled "The Other Animals":

I have been guilty of writing two animal—two books about dogs. The writing of these two stories, on my part, was in truth a protest against the "humanizing" of animals, of which it seemed to me several "animal writers" had been profoundly guilty. Time and again, and many times, in my narratives, I wrote, speaking of my dog-heroes: "He did not think these things; he merely did them," etc. And I did this repeatedly, to the clogging of my narrative and in violation of my artistic canons; and I did it in order to hammer into the average human understanding that these dog-heroes of mine were not directed by abstract reasoning, but by instinct, sensation, and emotion, and by simple reasoning. Also, I endeavored to make my stories in line with the facts of evolution; I hewed them to the mark set by scientific research, and awoke, one day, to find myself bundled neck and crop into the camp of the nature-fakers.

Adaptations

rritories, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush and details White Fang's journey to domestication. It is a companion novel (and a thematic mirror) to London's best-known work, The Call of the Wild, which is about a kidnapped, domesticated dog embracing his wild ancestry to survive and thrive in the wild.

Taken from Wikipedia


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I have never read this one so I am looking forward to it!


message 4: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey I haven’t read this one since third grade! I’m excited reread since I can’t really remember anything about it.


message 5: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
I did read and enjoy The Call of the Wild. This was the next one to read, so I'm really excited that we're reading it in our group!


message 6: by Gini (new)

Gini OK. I admit that I peaked at the first chapter. Curious about it. It's much better than I anticipated especially after "everyone" else seems to have read in grade school. I was deprived, I guess.


message 7: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Gini wrote: "OK. I admit that I peaked at the first chapter. Curious about it. It's much better than I anticipated especially after "everyone" else seems to have read in grade school. I was deprived, I guess."

You weren't alone in that school Gini! I was deprived too! 😊


message 8: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) This sounds like a perfect book to read in January. I first read White Fang when I was in around 11th grade, I think. That has been a while ago and I don’t really remember much about it. I’m planning to join in this group read and will read Call of the Wild too. Looking forward to the discussions about the book!


message 9: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Matt wrote: "This sounds like a perfect book to read in January. I first read White Fang when I was in around 11th grade, I think. That has been a while ago and I don’t really remember much about it. I’m planni..."

Excellent Matt! I'm so happy you'll be joining the group read!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Me too. I don't think I read ANY classics in school. In fact I didnt read any until college when I read many Russians. Then not again until January 2017. And now it is almost the only thing that I read.


message 11: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Me too. I don't think I read ANY classics in school. In fact I didnt read any until college when I read many Russians. Then not again until January 2017. And now it is almost the only thing that I ..."

I never read any classics either Kelly until I joined Goodreads in 2014 so I have a lot of ground to play catch-up!!! As I've said in the past, it's very hard for me to read anything else now!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Me too. I am reading some more modern books that are on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, but other than that I am only interested in the classics.


message 13: by Patrick (new)

Patrick I hope to participate in this read (although as usual, I have too many books-in-progress!). I just a few days ago finished Jack London's Martin Eden, which I loved. It was strongly recommended to me by a Russian friend; London is considered one of the greatest classic American authors in Russua.


message 14: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Patrick wrote: "I hope to participate in this read (although as usual, I have too many books-in-progress!). I just a few days ago finished Jack London's Martin Eden, which I loved. It was strongly recommended to m..."

That's wonderful Patrick! You sound like the rest of us having so many books going at once! White Fang is a pretty short read so maybe you'll be able to get to it. Threads will be open and our members and I always respond so even if you get to it late, we'll still be here!

Thanks for the information on Martin Eden. I'll see if my library has it when I go pick up White Fang.


message 15: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "Me too. I am reading some more modern books that are on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, but other than that I am only interested in the classics."

I saw that you were doing the 1001 Books list. Are they strictly classic?


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 31, 2017 12:52PM) (new)

Thanks for posting all the summary info, Loretta. It does make me interested (in spite of some violent looking bookcovers). I will think on it, if my reading time permits during January.


message 17: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Lisa A ⛄ wrote: "Thanks for posting all the summary info, Loretta. It does make me interested (in spite of some violent looking bookcovers). I will think on it, if my reading time permits during January."

You're welcome Lisa. I hope you'll join us. It's a pretty short read! 😊


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Loretta wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Me too. I am reading some more modern books that are on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, but other than that I am only interested in the classics."

I saw that you were doi..."


No. There are modern books on there also. I will see how it goes... the Classics have spoiled me. I expect high quality. LOL


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I finished. Not my favorite book... I will look forward to hearing all your thoughts.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I should also say, that I am not that smart of a reader! I would not have just picked up on all the symbolism and allegory that Loretta shared with us above.


message 21: by Gini (new)

Gini This reminds me of some of the old old Disney type presentations. Nature is tough and the poor lion or whatever critter has to fight to survive. You should feel bad for them and help them. A bit simplistic but it's a childhood memory. Goes along with crying at the end of Ol' Yellar. Hope this one isn't like that.


message 22: by Irene (new)

Irene | 11 comments I have never read White Fang. Actually, I have never read anything by London, even though I have several books by him, including White Fang. So I'm jumping in and hoping I'll be able to finish it in January.

The information provided by Loretta sounds very interesting, thanks! :)


message 23: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "I have never read White Fang. Actually, I have never read anything by London, even though I have several books by him, including White Fang. So I'm jumping in and hoping I'll be able to finish it i..."

Thanks Irene! Hope you enjoy the book! 😊


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