The Abysmal Brute
by Jack London
From "The Book of Jack London," Volume 2 by Charmian London: "On September 9, Jack went to Colma, as one of a constellation of "The Examiner's" ... Show synopsis From "The Book of Jack London," Volume 2 by Charmian London: "On September 9, Jack went to Colma, as one of a constellation of "The Examiner's" star writers, to do the Britt-Nelson prizefight. It was in the course of this write-up he coined another catch-phrase that went into the language of the country, as "the call of the wild," "the white silence," and even "the game" had become almost household words. This time it was "the abysmal brute," to which certain pugilists took exception until they came to realize the author's meaning-the life that refuses to quit and lie down even after consciousness has ceased. "By 'abysmal brute, ' Jack would extemporize, 'I mean the basic life deeper than the brain and the intellect in living things. Intelligence rests upon it; and when intelligence goes, it still remains. The abysmal brute life, ' he illustrated, 'that causes the heart of a gutted dog-fish to beat in one's hand-you've seen them do that when we were fishing off the Key Route pier, ' I was reminded. 'Or the beak of a slain turtle to close and bite off a man's finger; it's the life force that makes a fighter go on fighting even though he is past all direction from his intelligence.' So enamored was he of his own phrase that eight years afterward he used it for title of another prize-fight novel."