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date: 05 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter counters the persistent tendency in Jack London criticism to allegorize the character of Buck in Call of the Wild, either as an avatar of the author or as a Jungian archetype. Returning to London1s stated intentions, and reading him alongside Charles Darwin’s The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, this essay argues that London was, first and foremost, interested in realistically rendering the cognitive capacities of dogs in their relations with humans as separate species linked along an evolutionary continuum. The essay concludes by putting Call of the Wild in dialogue with Jacques Derrida’s foundational “The Animal That Therefore I Am,” arguing that London1s Darwinian understanding of the shared emotional and cognitive capacities of dogs and humans complicates Derrida’s claim for the absolute alterity of other species.

Keywords: animal studies, Charles Darwin, Jacques Derrida, dogs, narrative theory

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