The Call of the Wild

New York: Macmillan, 1903. First Edition of Jack London’s best-known book. Neat ownership signature on the half-title, a tiny bump at the foot of the spine, only the most minute wear; just about as fine a copy as we’ve had. In a fine example of the dust jacket, not worn, and not, as is often the case, either restored or mended. In a custom quarter-leather clamshell box. Given the minor offsetting from the front cover paint onto the verso of the front panel, it appears not to have been supplied from another copy. It has been put forth by a respected, observant and thoughtful colleague that jacket imprints with the letters identically sized are first printings, and that those with first letters larger are from subsequent printings, and that is possible, but in the view of this cataloguer, this is a bold and very possibly mistaken, and therefore damaging, assumption. Undoubtedly, variants exist, but whether these are states (a change made during printing, often due to broken type) or separate printings is not only undetermined, but perhaps indeterminable. Given the non-automated nature of book production at that time, a stack of books and a stack of dust jackets might have well been combined in reverse order, or even randomly. Any resolution of this conundrum is hopelessly confounded by the later combination (”marriage”) of books and jackets, so no definitive bibliographical designation seems possible. One is left with little choice or factual basis but to refer to them as what they are beyond disagreement: variants. It appears to this cataloguer to represent yet another example of publishers seeing no point in anticipating the future questions, suppositions, or conclusions of bibliographers, likely dismissing such concerns as trivial, given that these dealt with minutiae, and were simply not recorded. In the larger scheme of things, these may be minutiae, but in the view of those of us to whom such things matter, they might be minute, but they are not petty.

[Book #35161P]

Price: $10,000.00

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