Macmillan Company 1904. October 1904. FIRST EDITION, first printing. First release in book form. Very good condition, pages clean, blue pictorial cloth boards, white titles, color decoration, gilt top page edge. Former owner names. Some wear on boards, front hinge slightly loose, spine bumped. Illustrated W.J. Aylward. Original blue cloth pictorially decorated in dark blue, red and white. First Edition of Jack London's great maritime tale, in emulation of Joseph Conrad. It really consists of three sub-plots, all quite pertinent to London's life at the time. In the first, similar to Kipling's CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, Van Weyden is forced by necessity into becoming a rough sailor -- much as Jack had done on board the "Sophia Sutherland" when he had gone on a sealing voyage at age seventeen. In the second, Van Weyden and Wolf Larsen carry their love-hate relationship to a fight to the death -- just as Jack was "confessing to George Sterling his man's love of the poet's beauty." And in the third, Van Weyden begins a relationship with the castaway Maud Brewster -- at the time when Jack found Charmian Kittredge. The creation of the character of Larsen, blended from Melville's Ahab, Milton's Lucifer, and an actual seal-poacher called Alexander McLean, was a triumph that could call forth praise even from Ambrose Bierce. Larsen also seemed to be a version of Nietzsche's Superman. Only after the book was completed did Jack begin to read the new translations of Nietzsche and to recognize an explanation for his own "long sickness". [quotes from Sinclair] In need of the taste of the salt air to stimulate him, London wrote most of the book perched on the hatch of his sloop as it sat at anchor. Very scarce collectible all-time classic. 366 pages + ads.