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Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Bantam Classics)

322 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0553213973
ISBN-10: 0553213970
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Editorial Reviews


“The reason Verne is still read by millions today
is simply that he was one of the best storytellers
who ever lived.”—Arthur C. Clarke

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553213970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213973
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

203 of 215 people found the following review helpful By Susie Day on June 19, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yes there are different versions, The best one is the original in French. There are more than one translations into english, one with the Main character's name as Harry, the other as Axel.

I read the 'Harry' version first, but only partway through as it was terrible! I thought Verne was a bad writter or something. But, when I was older, I found another copy (Puffin Classics btw), and I thought I'd give it another go. That was one of the best books I had ever read, it funny and imaginative. The characters even had character!

Well, I looked into it, and compared my new version with the first book I had read and both of them with the original. Mine was pretty close. The names were kept the same, most of the sentences were similar in structure (so that someone like me who can't read french could tell that they were the same book).

The 'Harry version' however, invented entire chapters out of thin air, discarded others and changed significant plot points. I hope this helps some of you decide which one to get, and that there is more than one translation.

If the book starts with:

"ON 24 May 1863, a Sunday, my uncle, Professor Lidenbrock, came rushing back towards his little house at No.19 Konigstrasse, one of the oldest streets..."

You know you have the good version.

Otherwise, I love this book and would recomend it to anyone, whether a science fiction fan or not.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a classic novel by Jules Verne. In the story, Professor Hardwigg and his nephew Harry discover an ancient parchment by an alchemist named Arne Saknussemm. They travel to Iceland and climb an extinct volcano called Sneffels. With them is the Icelandic hunter Hans. They journey into the center of the earth, in which Harry gets lost. They come upon and ocean and cross it. While they are on the sea they witness a battle of ancient sea monsters. Eventually they are thrown out of a volcano on Stromboli, an island in Italy. This was a wonderful book, but sometimes it went into too much detail. Still, a classic five star book. I don't see why anyone would give it 4 1/2 stars. It is simply absurd. I recommened this book to anyone with a good imagination.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Librarian TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Penguin/Puffin Classics translation (by Robert Baldick) of Verne's wonderful book is absolutely terrific. It is accurate and fun to read. (Sample it to see for yourself.)

Any true translation (such as in this Puffin Classic) rightly identifies the professor as "Lidenbrock" or "Liedenbrock" NOT as "Hardwigg," and his young partner as "Axel" NOT "Harry." (That is how you can easily distinguish the real vs. a false, anonymous translation that, sadly, is still being sold as if it were the real thing; it isn't even a translation but a total rewrite with different names and numerous plot alterations.) This Baldick translation comes as close (in English) to what Verne actually wrote (in French) to tell his story. The old F.A. Malleson translation also gets it right, but in modern times two translations stand out: one by Robert Baldick (this one) and one by William Butcher. They are both good, the difference mainly being a matter of style. Some prefer Butcher; I happen to prefer Baldick.

Don't let the fact that Baldick's translation here appears in a children's imprint deter you from considering it; this is not a simplified "kiddy" version. It appeared first in 1965 as an adult Penguin book, and twenty years later (unchanged) as a Puffin book, and now as an ebook. Butcher's is more recent and, as he is a noted Verne scholar, his credentials certainly carry weight. But that doesn't make him a better wordsmith. We read Verne primarily for fun and for the thrill of adventure. Baldick's translation enables us to do just that.

I highly recommend Baldick's translation in this Puffin edition to anyone, child or adult. By all means sample it to see for yourself, especially since the low price (as I write this, a mere $.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book proves Verne's greatness as a writer of fiction. The science in this science fiction flies largely in the face of modern science, yet the read is no less gripping today than it was in its infancy. The story is pretty simple. Professor Lidenbrock, a neurotically impatient scientist, discovers a cryptic manuscript written by a long-dead explorer; with the help of his nephew, he decodes the cryptogram to read an account of a journey to the center of the earth begun beneath a dormant volcano in Iceland. The nephew, Axel, a talented geologist and mineralogist himself, refuses to believe that the core of the earth is not exceedingly hot; additionally, he cares more about Grauben, the eccentric professor's ward, than risking his life on a scientific adventure. He proves unable to dissuade his uncle and thus joins with him on a journey to Iceland. There, they hire a stoic Icelander to lead them down into the earth. Most of the action takes place underground, with the adventurers suffering several trials, daring risks, and finally discovering a whole new world hidden miles below the earth's crust. The ultimate trial and danger they face consists of returning to the surface.
Axel narrates the story, and the strength of the novel lies in his character. The professor and the Icelandic guide are unusual personalities, but Axel is very real and easy to relate to. He really does not want to go in the first place, and he is most liable to greet dangers and risks by bemoaning his fate and declaring his party done for in their foolish efforts. It is he who suffers the most privation when the men's water runs out, and it is he who finds himself lost in the utter blackness of the caverns for three days.
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