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Journey to the Center of the Earth (Dover…

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Dover Thrift Editions) (original 1864; edition 2005)

by Jules Verne (Author)

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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

A Journey to the Center of the Earth, also translated as A Journey to the Interior of the Earth, follows a man, his nephew and their guide down an Icelandic volcano into the center of the earth. There they encounter an ancient landscape filled with prehistoric animals and natural dangers. There is some discussion as to whether Verne really believed that such things might be found in the center, or whether he shared the alternate view, expressed by another character in the novel, that it was not so.

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Title:Journey to the Center of the Earth (Dover Thrift Editions)
Authors:Jules Verne (Author)
Info:Dover Publications (2005), Edition: 38099th, 160 pages
Collections:Your library

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Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne (Author) (1864)

Europe (29)
1860s (3)

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English (199)  Spanish (10)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (224)
Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
After Five Weeks in a Balloon, we come to the second stop in my quest to read the Voyages Extraordinaires. Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of Verne's best-known novels (along with "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "Around the World in Eighty Days"). The story of the German professor, his nephew and their Icelandic guide who get into an extinct volcano and explore the interior of the Earth has captured the imagination of generations of readers and movie watchers. Their discoveries deep below are incredibly cinematic.

Just like they say that the "Golden Age" of science fiction is thirteen, a lot of readers discovered and fell in love with Verne's stories in their early teens. There is a reason for that: many of his novels are filled with a sense of discovery, with boundless possibilities, with sense of wonder. And this particular one is strong on the sense of wonder. Now, I'm not a teenager any more, and we are no longer in the 19th century. More than a century and a half later, we know that the scientific theory that is the basis of this story, already dubious when it was written, has been disproven since then. A reader now probably knows how the story ends, since it's part of pop culture. Also, we are used to movies and shows with expensive special effects, so our sense of wonder is dulled not just by age but also by use.

Nevertheless, I advice you to put yourself in the proper frame of mind. We are in the middle of the 19th century, an age of progress and exploration. Mankind is discovering just how far it can go, where scientific and technical progress can take it, what new doors are being opened. Guided by Verne's imagination, we are going to accompany three explorers, some of them enthusiastic and some of them reluctant, in the most incredible adventure ever, something that had not been dreamed of before.

What is it about?: An adventurous geology professor chances upon a manuscript in which a 16th-century explorer claims to have found a route to the earth's core. Professor Lidenbrock can't resist the opportunity to investigate. With his nephew Axel, he sets off across Iceland in the company of Hans Bjelke, a native guide, intending to descend into an extinct volcano.

Like in Five Weeks in a Balloon, we have three main characters, although their personalities and internal dynamics are different. We have Professor Otto Lidenbrock, a hot-tempered geologist with radical ideas and limitless energy. We have his nephew Axel, a young geologist in training. And we have Hans Bjelke, their Icelandic guide. Professor Lidenbrock fits the template of a crazy scientist. Once he gets into a project, he is relentless, and no difficulty will deter him, no matter how insurmountable. He is completely reckless. Young Axel is, how shall we say this, kind of cowardly. He doesn't want to go, but he is browbeaten by his uncle and his girlfriend Gräuben, who basically tells him to man up. And Hans is the strong and silent type. As few words as possible, but completely unfazed by the most crazy and dangerous adventures, just as long as he gets his modest salary as a guide every week.

Because of the dynamic between the characters, this novel is funnier than Five Weeks in a Balloon. Watching Professor Lidenbrock bully and browbeat his nephew into adventure is always amusing. It's not that Axel is really a coward, he just has a sense of self-preservation, unlike his uncle. I don't blame him, as he is actually the sane one, but he is not your typical heroic explorer.

The story is told in first person by Axel, contrasting with the third person narration in Five Weeks in a Balloon. That works fine, since it gives Verne a natural way to exercise his didactic muscle and tell us about geology. After all, Axel may not want adventure, but he likes geology. And, well, those are the best scientists to accompany you deep into the Earth. It also allows us to see Axel's psychological suffering at certain points.

Let's talk about pace: as usual with 19th century literature, you have to get into the pace of the story. Readers had longer attention-spans back then, not being distracted with TV, the internet and video-games, so modern readers can sometimes be taken aback by what they perceive as a slower pace. My advice is to get into it, it's a feature, not a bug. You get to experience a different style of storytelling. There will be plenty of action, don't worry, but it starts slow.

In this case, in particular, there is a part near the beginning of the novel that can try your patience. Not the very beginning, because the discovery of the runic manuscript and the attempts to decipher it are quite entertaining. But the trip for Hamburg to Reykjavík and from there to the volcano are kind of uneventful. I won't blame you too much if you skip parts of chapters 8 to 14, to get to the exciting stuff. Because during that journey, first by train to Copenhagen, then by ship to Reykjavík and overland by horse to the volcano, nothing much happens, apart from hiring Hans. Of course, for most contemporary readers, traveling to a faraway country would have been the adventure of a lifetime in itself, so I'm sure that part was more interesting for them.

Then they get to the volcano and the story proper begins, about one third into the novel. We'll get some Verne-style science (in this case geology) infodumps. You wouldn't get those in a modern novel, but as I said in my review of Five Weeks in a Balloon, it's part of the charm. Verne was out to entertain but also for the popularization of science.

And then, of course, more and more things happen, and it's a gripping story. Not as gripping as the movies, mind you, they don't actually fight dinosaurs, but just witnessing and exploring it all is impressive. Sense of wonder, remember.

If you were in doubt during the slow parts when traveling, I think you will be satisfied later by how eventful it becomes. Some things happen that really strained my suspension of disbelief because of the characters' ability to survive certain events. Perhaps that was a bit too far-fetched even for a story such as this, but let's go along with it. Also, just how can those people take so much equipment and food with them? I mean, I know Hans is strong and silent, but still...

Enjoyment factor: I quite enjoyed the story, although maybe not as much as Five Weeks in a Balloon (as I said in my review of that book, African exploration really captures my imagination). This one has more sense of wonder, no doubt about that, and more cinematic moments. It does have a slow part that is slower than anything in Five Weeks, and you have to be willing to suspend disbelief at certain points. The occasional infodumps were mostly about geology, which for me is less interesting than African exploration. Worth reading.

Next up: The Adventures of Captain Hatteras

See all my Verne reviews here: https://www.sffworld.com/forum/threads/reading-vernes-voyages-extraordinaires.58... ( )
  jcm790 | May 26, 2024 |
Verne keeps the pages turning, even when the scientific oration gets a bit tedious, and has an admirable way of making the narrator's self-deprecating descriptions feel real and relatable, but the amount of time spent on the build-up is not quite justified by the rather abrupt and almost matter-of-fact ending. Even so, the chapters underground, especially during the time the protagonist is lost in the dark, are quite excellent in their ability to transport me to the claustrophobic panic of the situation -- and wishing a story was longer is hardly the biggest criticism. ( )
  Lucky-Loki | Apr 4, 2024 |
Exciting story, very interesting, fun characters. ( )
  AerialObrien | Mar 21, 2024 |
I decided to pick up Journey to the Centre of the Earth because I thoroughly enjoyed the Hollywood remake. I have been on a bit of a journey myself as I try to read the original works for famous movies that have passed on the screen at my local theatre.

I did not find this book to be the amazing novel everyone has led me to believe, but it was incredibly written. The novel itself was amazing and the wording was fantastic, but I found it to be quite boring action wise. I had high expectations, which probably ruined this book for me.

Overall, the book is truly amazing, but I found it boring and hard to hold onto. A spectacular novel, but not perfect for me.

I feel that if I would have read this novel in an English class where it was examined rather than a "for fun" read, I would have enjoyed it more and understood it more. ( )
  Briars_Reviews | Aug 4, 2023 |
Once again Verne makes use of fainting as a means to gloss over the details of difficult transitions in the action. Oh well, it's still captivating and fun to read. ( )
  blueskygreentrees | Jul 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (175 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verne, JulesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arias, ValentinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Armiño, MauroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bair, LowellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baldick, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Batchelor, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bellonci, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boone, PatActorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradley, Willis T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butcher, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clarke, Arthur C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, GeorgeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dietz, NormanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortney, Isabel C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heise, Ursula K.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, Diana WynneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kähkönen, PenttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malleson, Frederick AmadeusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mina, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mottram, C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newbern, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nimoy, LeonardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pober, ArthurAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riou, ÉdouardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, Kim StanleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, ShadoeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, Frederick PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Edward ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures.
Large though it is, that asylum is not big enough to contain all Professor Lidenbrock's madness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the main work for A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. Please do not combine with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

A Journey to the Center of the Earth, also translated as A Journey to the Interior of the Earth, follows a man, his nephew and their guide down an Icelandic volcano into the center of the earth. There they encounter an ancient landscape filled with prehistoric animals and natural dangers. There is some discussion as to whether Verne really believed that such things might be found in the center, or whether he shared the alternate view, expressed by another character in the novel, that it was not so.


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