Newswise — New York University’s Ulrich Baer, who authored the afterword to the new edition of The Call of the Wild (Warbler Press), is available for comment on the legacy of Jack London. 

London’s 1903 novel, the focus of a newly released film starring Harrison Ford, portrays the often-harsh existence of a California canine, Buck, and his companion, John Thornton, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush.

In the afterward, Baer explores the life of London—whose writing turned him into a millionaire and whose views on race have come under scrutiny in recent years—and outlines reasons for the novel’s “immense appeal and popularity,” drawing upon Freud, Nietzsche, and other sources in his analysis. Baer also considers the novel’s relevance to an increasingly urgent 21st century consideration: What is our proper relationship with nature? 

“As a work of literature, the book reveals the social factors that contribute to our dilemma (in this case, the environmental situation), which include honor, hubris, and humility — all qualities about which political and economic history keeps silent,” observes Baer, a University Professor at NYU. 

The new edition of Call of the Wild also includes London’s essay, “How I Became a Socialist,” which was published in 1905. 

Baer, a professor in NYU’s departments of German and Comparative Literature, has authored What Snowflakes Get Right (Oxford, 2019) and The Rilke Alphabet (Fordham, 2014) and edited 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11 (NYU Press, 2002), among other works. 

Reporters interested in speaking with Baer, who has also written introductions to recent editions of Frankenstein, The Scarlet Letter, Heart of Darkness, and other classic works of literature, should contact James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or james.devitt@nyu.edu

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