Queering the Wolf in Jack London
This chapter focuses on the sexual history of “the beast” in relation to human and nonhuman animals in the work of Jack London. Bringing together the work of theorists and historians such as Eve Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, and George Chauncey, the chapter illustrates how attention to the discourse of the jungle unsettles influential readings of The Call of the Wild (1903) and The Sea-Wolf (1904). While London might generally be seen as epitomizing the Darwinist-Freudian discourse of the jungle, erotic fireworks between species and between men in his work represent formulations of queer desire that illustrate alternative ways of thinking about animality. Many theorists continue to reinforce a construction of the beast or animality in general as inherently heterosexual, despite recent work by Chauncey, for example, that has uncovered queer human males self-identified as "wolves" at the turn of the century. The chapter concludes by considering alternative possibilities for thinking about pleasure between species, inspired by the work of London.
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