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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Paperback – March 26, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Brian E. Wilson, Oak Lawn Public Library, IL
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Top Customer Reviews
note: (find the version you are looking for with the ISBN numbers I've provided at the bottom of this review, you can just copy and paste them into the amazon search field and hit GO).
Here are excerpts from the three most common translations:
Paragraph one, translated by Mercier Lewis -
THE YEAR 1866 WAS signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten. Not to mention rumors which agitated the maritime population, and excited the public mind, even in the interior of continents, seafaring men were particularly excited. Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.
Paragraph one, translated by Walter James Miller and Frederick Paul Walter (1996) -
THE YEAR 1866 was marked by a bizarre development, an unexplained and downright inexplicable phenomenon that surely no one has forgotten. Without getting into those rumors that upset civilians in the seaports and deranged the public mind even far inland, it must be said that professional seamen were especially alarmed. Traders, shipowners, captains of vessels, skippers, and master mariners from Europe and America, naval officers from every country, and at their heels the various national governments on these two continents, were all extremely disturbed by the business.Read more ›
First, the basic text is dreadful: though unidentified, it's the long-discredited translation signed by "Mercier Lewis" and rushed into print in 1872 by the London firm of Sampson, Low. As modern scholars have documented on numerous occasions, Verne's original French was politically censored, drastically abridged, couched in stilted Victorian prose, and riddled with hundreds of inane translating errors. Its clunky, antiquated English is something no American student could possibly enjoy ("I own my heart beat," says the narrator, who actually means, "I admit my heart was pounding"). As for the translating blunders, some are asinine beyond belief -- Verne's characters start a fire with a lentil (Verne: lens) . . . loosen bolts with a key (Verne: wrench) . . . and claim iron is lighter than water (Verne: the opposite, of course).
Are these obscure facts? Anything but. Over the past four decades, this translation's inadequacy has been bemoaned repeatedly in basic reference works (Taves & Michaluk's JULES VERNE ENCYCLOPEDIA), online (the Jules Verne Forum at jv.gilead.org.il), and in readily available MODERN translations of this novel (e.g., the paperback editions from Signet, Oxford, and the U.S. Naval Institute).Read more ›
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. _Much_ better editions exist. Read the excellent reviews below by J. M. Margot and F. P. Walter to discover what editions you should be looking for.
And if you are a fan of Verne, or just a fan of quality publishing, please write Simon & Schuster, Inc., and tell them to replace this absolutely abysmal edition(especially since they have access to better translations):
Jack Romanos President and CEO
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed the detail and descriptions of Sea life emensely. This edition is not Disney!. Be prepared for a more difficult read with unfamiliar and strange vocabularyPublished 1 day ago by Ray
Good book, just not my style. A little harder reading than I'm used to due to how long ago it was written.Published 2 days ago by Justin
The edition I read (Signet, Brunetti translation) captures the original story pretty well – read some of the other reviews for other translations, including which to avoid. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Philip Machanick
This is an amazing story! A truly unique delineation of the wonders of Earth and the fathomless depths it hides deep below.Published 24 days ago by Act Smithsky
Sadly despite searching for the correct ISBN, I got directed to this. I was very happy with the purchase and excited to read, especially with the beautiful illustrations and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Guilherme Cramer
They say that even Homer nodded. So did The Bard, which is why we have that hilarious wreck he wrote, titled, "Titus Andronicus. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tiger-One
A great story by a great author. I enjoyed it when young and my grandchildren have too. I'll leave a critique to an MFA or English scholar.Published 1 month ago by Skyeye