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A Journey to the Centre of the Earth Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
As to the novel itself, while unquestionably one of Verne's masterpieces in terms of story, it's probably the one that's aged the hardest of all Verne's works, and almost all of the science in this text has been exploded, modified, or simply changed by the intervening hundred and fifty-odd years of scientific development. Because Verne was in part intending this book to be a source of scientific education, the characters spend a lot of time talking about geology, archaeology, etc., to each other, and since most of that's outdated now, modern readers may want to skip over the more scientific chunks of the book and simply read it as an exploration tale.
From that perspective, the most interesting thing about this book might be that it's arguably the progenitor of the "Lost Prehistoric World" genre, and readers who want more in that vein might want to look up later books that focused more squarely on modern-explorers-in-dinosaur-country stories, such as Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, or Edgar Rice Burrough's novel _The Land that Time Forgot_ or his _Pellucidar_ series (explicitly set in the hollow interior of the globe).
Most scientists believed then, as now, that the core of the Earth was molten. Axel believes this, but his uncle does not, leading to much debate as their journey begins. Along the way there is much said about geology, volcanic processes, and pre-historic fossils. (Some English translations abridge the scientific detail.) Their exploration of the Earth's crust becomes a trip into the distant past, as they discover not only fossils but living specimens.
This is a wonderful adventure story, and the wonder begins early with the explorers' journey to Iceland where their descent is to begin. Iceland was, at that time, a remote and exotic location for Europeans. It is fascinating to see how difficult it was 150 years ago to make what is now a routine journey.
Verne's science is probably shaky at best. At one point Axel says that the glyptodon, a mammal, is the ancestor of the modern tortoise, a reptile (though this might have been a deliberate error to show that the young geologist's knowledge of biology was rather shaky). But one thing we can certainly take away from the novel is the infectious, exuberant spirit of adventure and discovery which led explorers of that era to take risks most would now consider unconscionable.
It is disjointed, hard to read, and altered by the translator.
The grammar is terrible. The personalities don't fit. Entire chapters have been deleted by the translator, and other chapters have been entirely made up by the translator. And, some portions of the text appear to be transliterations, rather than conceptual translations. That renders some portions nearly unreadable.
This translation is not a -bad- story, but there are other versions that are FAR better.
The most fluid, flowing, and faithful English translation is that of Frederick Amadeus Malleson, titled "Journey to the Interior of the Earth" (or "A Journey Into the Interior of the Earth"). That should be no surprise, considering his translation was published in 1877, alongside the original French version.
The Malleson translation is not currently available on Amazon, but can be found by following Amazon's link to archive.org (on Amazon's "Free eBook Collections" page).
Failing to even translate the character's names consistently within the same version shows massive disregard for both the text and the reader. It is saddening that a publisher would be so lazy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I chose four stars because of the fact that they changed a few names and sentences but aside from that it is a very good book. Read morePublished 1 day ago by IRISHCAVEWOMAN
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
Jules Verne was born in Nantes France in 1828. He later studied law in Paris. Read more
As other reviewers have pointed out, this is not a real translation of the Jules Verne book. It's a recasting of the story, popular enough in English, but not faithful to the... Read morePublished 9 days ago by James Smith