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20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1870)

by Jules Verne, Julio Verne

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Captain Nemo Trilogy (1), The Extraordinary Voyages (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,224191308 (3.73)1 / 381
Retells the adventures of a French professor and his two companions as they sail above and below the world's oceans as prisoners on the fabulous electric submarine of the deranged Captain Nemo.
  1. 50
    The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Also featuring Captain Nemo
  2. 40
    Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Morteana)
  3. 30
    Nemo Rising by C. Courtney Joyner (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Nemo Rising is a modern sequel to Jules Verne's work
  4. 20
    Two Planets by Kurd Laßwitz (spiphany)
    spiphany: Another classic of early science fiction.
  5. 21
    The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (generalkala)
Elevenses (216)
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English (174)  Italian (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (190)
Showing 1-5 of 174 (next | show all)
Good start, but, man, the ending was a complete rip off. "I woke up with no memory of how I escaped the whirlpool." Seriously? ( )
  James_Maxey | Jun 29, 2020 |
Justin
  slick_schick | Jun 16, 2020 |
You know, it's really odd. I stayed away from Verne all my freaking life because I was sure, and I mean ABSOLUTELY SURE, that it couldn't be a good novel because its science must be so out of date.

This is yet another case where I am a fool.

Not only does the novel explore the wonderful aspects of electricity and submarines and the wide wonderful ocean itself back in the 1870's as if it was perfectly modern, save for the minor fact that Captain Nemo is, what, 70 or 80 years ahead of schedule and the rest of the world is a sitting duck for his revenge, there's absolutely nothing that jumps out at me, saying, "Hey, no, science doesn't work that way!"

If that isn't enough to freak me out, Verne's wonderful descriptions of the natural world under the ocean, his gripping adventure tale with multiple layers of whale hunting motifs that just screamed out (a more enjoyable) Moby Dick, the fact that the novel revolves mainly around the glorious centerpiece of learning and exploration and most importantly, the feeling of AWE... well, all of this is enough to completely blow me away.

The grandfather of SF, eh? The Granddaddy? He focuses on ideas so heavily and his knowledge of the world of science is exemplary, and yet he still manages to crank out a truly fantastic story that is gripping. And then there's the real jewel of a man, the conflicted, rage-filled, scientific genius Captain Nemo, who also happens to be sensitive and reflective at the same time. The man is likely to lodge himself in my brain for years to come. He's the definition of mysterious and the modern natural Super Man, put upon and tragic and savage and only desiring the peace of the ocean away from the rest of mankind.

Truly amazing. I've read a lot of books and many have affected me strongly, but there's something that gets pulled off here in this novel that's really special. What a fantastic adventure!

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea

Penguin Popular Classics, Paperback [1994].

12mo. 382 pp. Translated by Mendor T. Brunetti. Cover: Captain Nemo, an illustration from an American edition.

First published in French as Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, March 1869 – June 1870 [magazine].
First published in book form, November 1871.
This translation first published, 1969.
Penguin Popular Classics, 1994.

Contents

Conversion Table

Part One
I. A Shifting Reef
II. Pro and Con
III. Just As Monsieur Wishes
IV. Ned Land
V. Forward to Adventure
VI. Full Steam Ahead!
VII. An Unknown Species of Whale
VIII. Mobilis in Mobili
IX. Ned Land’s Tantrums
X. The Man of the Seas
XI. The Nautilus
XII. All by Electricity
XIII. A Few Figures
XIV. The Black Current
XV. A Written Invitation
XVI. A Stroll on the Ocean Bed
XVII. A Submarine Forest
XVIII. Four Thousand Leagues under the Pacific
XIX. Vanikoro
XX. The Torres Strait
XXI. A Few Days on Land
XXII. Lightning Action by Captain Nemo
XXIII. Aegri Somnia – Bitter Dreams
XXIV. The Coral Kingdom

Part Two
I. The Indian Ocean
II. Another Excursion with Captain Nemo
III. A Priceless Pearl
IV. The Red Sea
V. The Arabian Tunnel
VI. The Greek Archipelago
VII. Across the Mediterranean in Forty-eight Hours
VIII. Vigo Bay
IX. The Lost Continent
X. Coal Mines under the Sea
XI. The Sargasso Sea
XII. Cachalots and Whales
XIII. Under the Ice Itself
XIV. The South Pole
XV. Accident or Incident?
XVI. Lack of Air
XVII. From Cape Horn to the Amazon
XVIII. The Squid
XIX. The Gulf Stream
XX. At Latitude 47º 24’ and Longitude 17º 28’
XXI. A Hecatomb
XXII. Captain Nemo’s Last Words
XXIII. Conclusion

===============================================

...the human mind is always hankering after something to marvel at...

Much to his credit, Jules Verne hankered after nature and science, not after conspiracy theories like God as a meddlesome prankster, ancient aliens building pyramids in the desert, the lesbian mistress of Lizzy I writing the plays of Shakespeare and so on. He chose his subject well, “for this world beneath the sea is an inexhaustible source of wonders.” Too bad he couldn’t make the best use of it. I read this book as a kid (misleadingly retitled “Captain Nemo”) and of course I found it marvellous. Reading it as an adult, decades later, I found it a slog.

To set the record straight in the beginning, this is not a novel. A novel is supposed to have at least one of two things, plot or characters, preferably both. Well, neither is present here. The plot is more tenuous than the Moon’s atmosphere. Three mighty bores make a voyage around the world as hostages of Captain Nemo in his futuristic submarine Nautilus. That is all; you can follow the itinerary from the table of contents. (The title refers to the distance covered, of course, not to the maximum depth reached.) There is plenty of adventure, but no sense of direction. The whole thing finally resolves in some sort of tepid anticlimax. Too little too late!

Captain Nemo is impressively misanthropic, but also rather tediously harping on his severed ties with human society. He is hardly ever developed. There are hints about residual humanity and defending of the oppressed, but they are left hanging in the air (or floating in the water). He justifies even less grandiloquent descriptions like “satanic judge, that veritable archangel of hatred”. We learn little about his personality and nothing at all about his background and motives. I understand the Captain is supposed to be mysterious (“Nemo” means “nobody” in Latin), but that’s rather overdoing it. Indeed, he isn’t much around for most of the book. When he is, he lectures his head off on everything from the secrets of pearl fishery on Ceylon and the history of Spain to Dumond d’Urville’s death in a railway accident after a lifetime of braving danger around the world and the salinity of sea water complete with Brysonian statistics. Did you know that, if you extract all salts from the ocean, you would have enough to cover the globe with a layer thirty feet high? You didn’t know that, did you? Now you do and are much the wiser!

I suspect Jules Verne wanted to be Captain Nemo, entirely self-sufficient under the waves and virtually telling the world to bugger off[1], just like Kipling secretly wanted to be Mowgli running with the wolf pack and obeying the Jungle Law (so much better than human laws). I wish he had spent more time on his alter ego. The best I can say about Captain Nemo, a megalomaniac in the making that ends up as a stock figure of conventional melodrama, is that some of his eulogies to the sea are not entirely ineffective. For example:

Here we have perfect tranquillity, for the sea does not belong to despots.

On the surface, they can still exercise their iniquitous laws, fight, devour each other, and indulge in all of their earthly horrors. But thirty feet below its surface their power ceases, their influence fades, and their dominion vanishes! Ah, monsieur, to live in the bosom of the sea! Only there can independence be found! There I recognize no master! There I am free!
[2]

The other three characters are simplistic in the extreme. Conseil is the imperturbable servant and a real classification freak, Ned Land is the greatest harpooner in the world and a dreadful prima donna, and that’s that. After almost four hundred pages, I didn’t know these people any better than I did after the first forty. Worst of all is Pierre Aronnax, the first-person narrator, professor of everything and relentless chatterbox. What a crashing bore! “Monsieur le Professor” is a veritable Google well over a century before Internet was born. He is always ready for yet another “list, somewhat dry, to be sure, but very accurate”. He doesn’t miss anything. Latitudes and longitudes, temperatures in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, history and folklore, morphology and physiology: “Monsieur le Professor” has it all. And then some! You want to know the number of incisors and canine teeth in seals? Yes, he has that one, too!

Verne’s frantic desire to show off his knowledge is much the worst thing about this book. He regularly lapses into endless listing of all marvels of the marine flora and fauna, spiced up with plenty of Latin names and detailed descriptions. He is wildly enthusiastic about mammals, molluscs, birds, seaweed and, above all, fish, fish, FISH! To say these digressions are unreadable is the greatest understatement of the nineteenth century. The dullest whale stuff from Moby-Dick (1851) is engrossing by comparison. If a whole chapter on “Ned Land’s Tantrums” was a bit too much, the one on Mediterranean fish just about did me in. Quite a few other chapters contain substantial chunks of marine biology peppered with history and mythology, geography and geology, anything, in short, Verne thought fascinating or had ever read anything about. Let me entertain you with a few choice examples from the author’s notes for his numerous PhD dissertations:

Now, a nervous conchologist would have fainted before other, more numerous cases, in which the molluscs were classified. In them I saw a collection of inestimable value which, for lack of time, I cannot describe here in its entirety. Of these specimens, however, I must mention in passing the elegant royal hammerfish of the Indian Ocean, whose even white spots stood out brightly on a red and brown background; an imperial spondyle, bright-colored, bristling with spines – a rare specimen in European museums, whose value I estimated at not less than twenty thousand francs; a common hammer shell from the seas of New Holland, which can be obtained only with difficulty; exotic cockles from Senegal with fragile white bivalve shells, which a breath could shatter like a soap bubble; several varieties of the aspergillus from Java, resembling calcareous tubes, edged with leafy pleats, highly prized by collectors; a whole series of trochi, some greenish yellow, caught in the American seas, others a reddish-brown, found in Australian waters, the former from the Gulf of Mexico, remarkable for their imbricated shell, the latter found in the southern waters and distinctly star-shaped; and the rarest of all, the magnificent spur shell of New Zealand.

In the midst of those waters, brilliantly illuminated by our searchlight, I saw meandering lampreys, more than feet long, of the kind found in almost every sea; oxyrrhyncha, a species of ray, whose flat bodies measure five feet across, with white bellies and ash-gray speckled backs, resembling large shawls carried away by the currents; other rays passed so swiftly that I was unable to determine whether they deserved to be called eagles, a name given them by the ancient Greeks, or whether they deserved to be called rats, toads, or bats – names given them by modern fishermen; milander sharks, twelve feet in length, especially feared by divers, vying with each other in speed; sea foxes, eight feet in length, gifted with a keen sense of smell, swam by, looking like large blue shadows; dorados, a species of sparoid, some of which measured four feet, appeared all dressed up in silver and blue, speckled with stripes that contrasted sharply with the dark color of their fins. This specimen, once sacred to Venus, has golden eyebrows. It is a very precious animal, denizen of all waters, whether fresh or salt, rivers, lakes, or oceans, and adaptable to any climate or temperature. Its forebears go back to geological times, and they have retained all their pristine beauty. Magnificent sturgeons, measuring twenty or thirty feet, possessing great speed, beat against our panels with their powerful tails, displaying their bluish backs speckled with brown spots. They resemble sharks, but lack the strength of that animal. They are found in all the seas. In the spring, they like to swim up large streams, struggling against the currents of the Volga, the Po, the Rhine, the Loire, and the Oder, feeding on herrings, mackerel, salmon, and cod. Although they belong to the class of cartilaginous fish, their flesh is excellent. They may be eaten fresh, dried, pickled, or salted. In former days their flesh was considered more than worthy for the table of Lucullus.

“Well, Ned, just listen to me and try to remember! Bony fish are divided into six orders. First, the acanthopterygians, whose upper jaw is complete and mobile, and whose gills are shaped like a comb. This order comprises fifteen families, three-fourths of all fish known to man. Type: the common perch.”
“Good enough to eat,” replied Ned.
“Second, the abdominals, whose ventral fins are underneath the abdomen and behind the pectorals, without being attached to the shoulder bone. This order is divided into five families, which include most of our freshwater fish. Types: carp and sea pike.”
“Phew!” said the Canadian with some scorn, “freshwater fish!”
“Third, the subbrachians, whose ventral fins are beneath the pectorals and attached to the shoulder bone. This order comprises four families. Types: plaice, dab, brill, sole, etc.”
“Excellent! Excellent!” exclaimed the harpooner, determined to consider fish only from the point of view of food.
“Fourth,” continued Conseil, without allowing himself to put off, “the apods, with elongated bodies, no ventral fins, covered with thick skin, often gluey. In this order there is only one family. Types: common eel and the electric eel.”
“Mediocre, mediocre,” answered Ned.
“Fifth,” said Conseil, “the lophobranchiates, with jaws complete and mobile, and whose gills are formed with little tufts arranged in pairs. Only one family in this order. Type: sea horse, pipefish.”
“Very bad! Horrible!” said the harpooner.
“Sixth and last,” continued Conseil, “the plectognathians, whose upper jaw is attached and fixed onto the skull, making it immobile. A species having no true ventral fins. Two families. Types: Globefish, moonfish.”
“Even a common pot would consider it a disgrace!” cried the Canadian.
“Well, did you understand everything, Ned?” Conseil, the savant, asked.
“Not a word, friend Conseil,” replied the harpooner. “But keep going; I find you very, very interesting just the same.”
“As regards cartilaginous fish,” Conseil continued imperturbably...


I will kindly spare you Conseil’s discourse on cartilaginous fish. This is Verne’s idea of comedy. It is my idea of boredom. And for the record, if I were a Canadian, I would consider the character of Ned Land a national offence.

In general, I’d love to read more about the marvels of the sea, both natural and man-made[3]. But not in a book that pretends to be a novel! Only the most personal and powerful style can make this stuff compelling. Melville had it. Verne did not.

Comparisons with Melville date back at least to Ray Bradbury’s preface to the Bantam edition of Verne’s book (1962). This is rather like comparing Fiat with Ferrari. Both books are massive failures as novels, that’s about the only thing they have in common. Melville is far less scientifically minded than Verne, but he compensates with brilliance of style and metaphysical depth to which the Frenchman, with his superficial curiosity, cannot aspire. Captain Nemo is a fascinating sketch for a character. But he has nothing like the infernal incandescence of Captain Ahab. Nor can the Frenchman’s fishy digressions compare in scope and depth with the American’s whaling chapters. In short, while Verne goes for the obvious things on the surface, Melville tries to express what is most deeply buried in our minds and most deeply felt by all and sundry.

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea is a great effort of industry rather than imagination. Considering his exalted place as “the father of science fiction”, Verne’s prescience is unimpressive. He predicted the widespread use of electricity and submarines, but that must have been fairly obvious even in 1869. It’s not like he predicted anything like the radio or the radar. Even electricity and submarines never did become so closely related as Verne imagined. Apart from predictions (a poor indicator of quality, even in science fiction), I am impressed with Verne’s knowledge about what is, but I am rather disappointed with his ideas about what could possibly be.

In fact, Verne’s vision is often surprisingly myopic. For all of his presumably staggering equipment, Nautilus must surface every few days to replenish its interior with fresh air in the most primitive way, by opening the hatches. It does seem to have occurred to Verne (Part Two, Chapter XVI) that a submarine might actually produce and purify its own air. But he did nothing to provide Captain Nobody with even the most modest means to do that. He overestimated the maximum depth of the ocean by something like five kilometres, yet he grossly underestimated the wonder and variety of life forms down there. In terms of history and geography, his most spectacular ideas are the lost continent of Atlantis and an “Arabian Tunnel” below the Suez Canal. Conventional, are they! He is not more successful in artistic matters. Nemo’s list of favourite composers (“Weber, Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Meyerbeer, Herold, Wagner, Auber, Gounod”) is full of mediocrities forgotten today, to say nothing of the parochial and chauvinistic attitude which only a Frenchman (which Nemo clearly isn’t) can have. Auber, Herold and Meyerbeer, indeed!

The question of style is rendered nonsensical by translation. For what it’s worth, the language is by turns poetic and pedestrian, mostly the latter. It is charming to see the Mediterranean described as “a veritable battlefield in which Neptune and Pluto are perpetually struggling for the conquest for the world” or a sinking ship as “a human anthill suddenly invaded by the sea”. But such flights of verbal artistry are rare indeed. For the most part, the language is descriptive and dry, sometimes unintentionally hilarious. I couldn’t help laughing when I read about a shark attacking with “fire in his eyes!” Some scenes are not devoid of the proverbial sense of wonder, for instance the visit to Atlantis, the trip inside the extinct volcano, the famous giant squid battle and the hypoxic trap under ice. All these are written with certain evocative power. Verne’s excitement is palpable and contagious. It doesn’t produce a lasting effect, though.

If a diving authority is to be believed, Brunetti’s translation is very accurate as far as the content is concerned, but changes the style out of recognition. The good news is that the old translation by the Reverend Mercier, the most popular one for about a century, is apparently worse, riddled with silly mistakes and ill-advised omissions. According to the same source, the Miller and Bonner translations, both from the 1960s, have their own pros and cons. I suppose a translation capturing better Verne’s style might make the book easier to read. But I’m pretty sure no translation can make it a great one. Even merciless editing cannot do that.

All in all, this was yet another classic that proved to be a classic disappointment. It’s a kid book. It cannot be recommended without misgiving to readers above 14 years of age. Those critics who maintain that Jules Verne is an adult writer, far deeper and more subtle than generally recognised, should climb the highest cliff they can find and jump off it. Nevertheless, I am willing to give good ol’ Jules another chance. I will be reading Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) as soon as possible. I hope it’s much better that this adolescent fantasy badly in need of abridgement.

_______________________________________________
[1] I am indebted for this poetic expression to Aristotle Onassis as quoted by Douglas Parmée. See Guy de Maupassant, Afloat [1888], New York Review Books, 2008, p. vii. It may or may not be a coincidence that Verne was a keen yachtsman, at least until 1886 when he sold his boat and, for reasons still obscure, never sailed again. So, at least, the biographical note in this Penguin Popular Classics edition tells me.

[2] I rather doubt this was inspired by Byron (who is mentioned once thanks to his swimming prowess), but it does remind me of a stanza I’m very fond of quoting (Childe Harold, IV.179):

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean – roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin – his control
Stops with the shore; – upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan –
Without a grave – unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.


[3] The first transatlantic telegraph cable is one of the greatest man-made wonders in the ocean and one of the best of Verne’s digressions. But if you’re interested in the subject, Arthur Clarke’s Voice Across the Sea (1956, rev. 1974) is a much more entertaining and comprehensive account. ( )
  Waldstein | Jun 1, 2020 |
I can see how this novel is of historical interest, but as a pleasure read it really does not hold up. It has a couple good scenes which are far outnumbered by the countless paragraphs and pages of the dryest, most boring descriptions of sea creatures (scientific names included) and irrelevant, uninteresting details. Outside of the famed Captain Nemo, the characters are bland, annoying, or bland AND annoying.

This honestly may be my least favorite book I've ever read, so there.

[This last criticism is directed specifically at my Barnes & Noble Classics edition: the footnotes are for the most part insultingly useless, enlightening you about the most pedestrian shit (Do you know what a fleur-de-lis is, reader? Oh, but surely you don't know of Poseidon and Neptune! 🙄) while having nothing to say about passages and references that make little to no sense to a modern reader.] ( )
  ShelfImprovement | May 27, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (216 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verne, JulesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Verne, Juliomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Adlerberth, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Austin, HenryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aylward, W. J.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, VictoriaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BrugueraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brunetti, MendorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butcher, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlquist, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coward, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, David StuartIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Neuville, Alphonse MarieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deske, MartinBearbeitungsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drabble, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmberg, John-HenriAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilényi, MáriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lupo, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mercier, LewisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, RonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, RonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Walter JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitz, Henry C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pratt, FletcherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stawicki, MattCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tirch, Judith AnnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, Frederick PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiese, KurtIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Edward ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplainable occurrence which is undoubtedly still fresh in everyone's memory.
In the year 1866 the whole maritime population of Europe and America was excited by a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon.
Quotations
We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.
I leave you at liberty to shut yourself up; cannot I be allowed the same?
Like you, I am willing to live obscure, in the frail hope of bequeathing one day, to future time, the result of my labours.
At ten o'clock in the evening the sky was on fire. The atmosphere was streaked with vivid lightning. I could not bear the brightness of it; while the captain, looking at it, seemed to envy the spirit of the tempest.
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This LT work should be editions containing the complete text of Jules Verne's 1869 novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Please do not combine it with any abridgements, adaptations, young readers' versions (see working list, below), pop-up books, Chick-fil-A editions, graphic novels, annotated editions, multi-title compendiums, single volumes of a multi-volume edition, or other, similar works based on the original.
Thank you.

Working list of abridged editions not to be combined with the standard editions - Best Loved Books for Young Children, Children's Classics, Great Illustrated Classics, Treasury of Illustrated Classics, Classics Illustrated, Classic Starts Series, Saddleback Illustrated, Stepping Stone Books, Now Age Classics, Young Collectors, (believe it or not) American Short Stories, Deans Children's Classics, anything by Malvina Vogel, Van Gool Adventure Series, Bring the Classics to Life,

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The 1990 ed. of the Great Illustrated Classics contains the complete text (per L of C), ISBN 0895773473.
This is a comic book adaptation of the work by Jules Verne. Please, do not combine with the original novel.
This is a youg reader adaptation of the original Jules Verne's Novel. Please, do not combine with the original one. Thanks
Please do not combine this work with either the film adaptations or with Jules Verne's original book. If you have a copy of this work, please consider supplying the name of the director (if it is a film adaptation) or the name of the author (if it is a book).
A chimera of crappy Amazon third-party reseller data that has "20,000 leagues under the sea
by Jules Verne" as the apparent author/title but the ISBN and associated cover of the Denoël/Présence du Futur french translation of "A Canticle for Leibowitz".
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Professor Aronnax, his faithful servant, Conseil, and the Canadian harpooner, Ned Land, begin an extremely hazardous voyage to rid the seas of a little-known and terrifying sea monster. However, the "monster" turns out to be a giant submarine, commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo, by whom they are soon held captive. So begins not only one of the great adventure classics by Jules Verne, the 'Father of Science Fiction', but also a truly fantastic voyage from the lost city of Atlantis to the South Pole.
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