Book Review: The Sea Wolf

Today, I will be reviewing The Sea Wolf by Jack London. It is a phycological novel written in 1904 and is an interesting read especially if you a big fan of philosophy. This book is over a hundred years old and reviewing a book that was written in a world that was completely different than ours now was definitely fun.

Humphrey van Wyeden is a literature critic who was on a ship that crashed. He is saved by a pirate ship and now has to work under Wolf Larsen (think of him as Neptune in the flesh) and we witness a lot of exchanging of ideas. Larsen is examined thoroughly and Humphreys learns a life that is very different from his own on the voyage.

The Sea Wolf by Jack London

What I loved about the novel is the clashing of two world. Humphrey and Larsen’s world views are fighting when they discuss. We come to understand how Larsen turned out to be how he is and we also see Humphrey change over the course of the novel. He does things that the old Humphrey would never have and it makes for a great read.

Jack London is the author of the successful The Call of the Wild novel (which is being made into a movie soon). London is known for books that deal with harsh climates and hard life choices. Many critics have pointed out that London had a hard life before he became a successful author. His worldview leaks into his writing and his experience is what made him a great author.

Wolf Larsen was based off of a real sailor by the name of Captain Alex MacLean that London had known. London has said that “much of the Sea Wolf is imaginary development, but the basis is Alexander McLean.” Maybe that is why Larsen feels as real as he does. London did go on record to say that much of Larsen is imaginary.

Reading the Sea Wolf was fun. Hearing London tackle popular theories that were roaming around that time was not what I expected the novel to be but I was entertained nonetheless. I would recommend this book and his other books because there aren’t many writers like London who paint the wild as monstrous and cruel as he does.

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