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date: 17 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As tempting as it may be to situate the author of such titles as “The Strength of the Strong,” The Abysmal Brute, and The Call of the Wild among the Bernarr Macfaddens of his day, a closer examination of London’s career reveals he held a much more pessimistic view of physical culture’s ideals than many might assume. While he shared his contemporaries’ interest in maintaining corporeal well-being, he also realized that maintaining physical strength was far less powerful than the pen. But even more, he discovered that in his efforts to forge new political ground, the precarious nature of the literary marketplace, and the strength of American consumerism were often more powerful than any one body could handle.

Keywords: physical culture, self, Bernarr Macfadden, public sphere, mass culture

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