THE BRITISH LIBRARY

American Collections blog

11 March 2015

More Polar Bears

IMG_1631

'A Polar-Bear Arch', Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1902 [P.P.6383.da].  Image now in the public domain.

This morning, with a forthcoming exhibition in mind, I was on the hunt for one of Jack London's dogs. Diable was duly tracked down to the June, 1902 edition of the New York Cosmopolitan, where he appears in 'Diable - a Dog' (pp. 218-226; it spurred London on to write The Call of the Wild).  Despite the primitive power of London's prose, it is hard not to be distracted by the other delights offered by this influential magazine. For starters, an illustrated Paul Laurence Dunbar poem ('Joggin' Erlong') faces the final lines of London's short story ('Diable's body twitched with the shock, thrashed to the ground spasmodically a moment, and went suddenly limpid.  But his teeth still held fast-locked.') Turn the page, and we learn of the eruption of Mount Pelée (with photographs), followed by information on 'How Fashions are Set' (with plates). 

But best of all, perhaps, are the pieces on animals, ranging from circus to diving horses in a piece on the 'Thrill of Speed', to the 'Diversions of Some Millionaires' (photographs include 'Mr E.H. Harriman behind his favourite trotter' and 'Mr Harry Payne Whitney with his beagles'). The lolcats of their day (with an added dash of animal cruelty)?

I can't, though, resist the image above, from a piece on training animals. And, a reminder that our own, very well-trained, polar bear exhibition is still running (Lines in the Ice, until 19 April). 

[Matthew Shaw]

 

 

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