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Journey to the Center of the Earth [Paperback]

Jules Verne
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 4 2005 Dover Thrift Editions
A pioneer in the genre of science fiction writing, Jules Verne possessed an uncanny ability to imagine--often with startling accuracy — the future possibilities of science. In this classic novel, first published in 1864, the author introduces readers to Otto Lidenbrock, a professor of geology who ventures into a fantastical world within an extinct Icelandic volcano. Verne's vivid imagination and masterful storytelling ability has made this book a popular choice among readers for more than 140 years.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read Jan. 8 2014
By Bobby
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read all Jules Verne's books As a Child and recently I've bad the chance to re-read them all. Even as an adult the story is incredible and the reader can place oneself in the story and carry out to the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious short story. Nov. 12 2011
By J Reader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jules Verne is one of the fathers of modern science fiction and fantasy. Which is why I wanted to give the story a try. If you are the type of person who shy's away from classic literature due to it's heavy subject matter or outdated stories and concepts. I can assure you that you have no fear of that with Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Forget for a moment that we are in the era of space travel for rich space tourists, satellites and space stations circling the earth. Think to when this book was written, no cars, no planes, people traveled by steam engine and sailing ship. It's the context of Jules Verne's real world of the 1800's that makes this story all the more impressive.

I found the first ten pages difficult to get into because of the language structure. People spoke and wrote differently over 120 years ago however, as I was drawn into the story I no longer took much notice of this.

Journey to the Center of the Earth has a wonderful innocence about it. The gentil love affair between Axel and his betrothed, the stoic strengh and determination of the guide and the wonderment exhibited when they make their underground discoveries.

I can say that you will not be dissapointed by this book. I think it would also be great for young readers (12-13). It has drama, excitement and romance all without being too long. Well worth my $4.00
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  230 reviews
176 of 186 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different Versions? June 19 2005
By Susie Day - Published on
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.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three explorers go to the center of the earth Aug. 1 1999
By A Customer - Published on
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.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Verne's most thrilling novel March 4 2002
By Daniel Jolley - Published on
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. When things are going well, though, Axel becomes wildly excited about the mission and temporarily forgets about his fears. This all goes to make him a very sympathetic character. Without him, the story would be a rather dispassionate account of an impossible journey by bland, unbelievable characters. You do have to shift your mind into low gear a few times when the characters begin speaking about the different types of minerals and rocks they are encountering, but overall the plot is rather thrilling, and you cannot help but begin early on trying to ascertain a way in which the intrepid explorers can return to share their discoveries with a skeptical scientific community. Verne knows how to tell a story, and you don't have to know a single thing about science to enjoy this novel immensely.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A particularly good, modern translation April 8 2012
By Librarian - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This Penguin/Puffin Classics translation of Verne's wonderful book is absolutely terrific. It is accurate and fun to read. But be aware that any (other) version of this great novel mentioning Professor "Hardwigg" in the opening segment is a literary fraud, a complete re-write, and not a translation of Verne at all. In that version, a would-be Verne-improver changed characters' names and many plot details.The shame is, that old bogus version is still not recognized as such and is still being sold as if it were truly Verne. Sadly, that is the one many of us grew up reading.

Any true translation (such as in this Puffin Classic) identifies the professor as "Lidenbrock" or "Liedenbrock" NOT as "Hardwigg," (and that is how you can easily distinguish the real vs. the sham). There are old translations that get 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.

Another reviewer was very critical of Baldick's use of "behindhand" to mean late or tardy, and on that basis, unfairly gave the entire book a very low rating. "Behindhand" is a perfectly valid word which I verified in 5 different American dictionaries as NOT being a Britishism; it is NOT identified as obscure, archaic or obsolete, and it is totally appropriate in this context. Decide for yourself. Here is the sentence as it ACTUALLY appears (NOT as cited in that critical review): "Martha must have thought she was very behindhand, for the dinner was only just beginning to sizzle on the kitchen stove." That's very simple and understandable to me even though I don't ordinarily use the word "behindhand." (One mustn't be afraid of occasionally encountering and learning a new word while reading.)

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 $.99) is remarkably enticing for a copyrighted, modern translaton rather than an old, public domain one. But whichever edition of this wonderful novel you may be considering for purchase, and no matter who translates it, give it the Lidenbrock (READ it) vs. Hardwigg (AVOID it) test to be certain you are reading the actual story Verne intended.

UPDATE: The price has risen since the above was written. Although it is not the great bargain it once was, the translation remains superb. Nevertheless, you may wish to shop around; lower-priced editions won't be translated by Baldick, but sample them to see how readable any one of them is to you. Happy hunting.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book badly translated Oct. 2 2009
By Michael Ryan - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a wonderful book by Jules Verne but this is just a terrible translation. Just read the first page of the preview and you will see. e.g. "Our good Martha could not but think she was very much behind-hand with the dinner" Is that even English? Seek out William Butcher's wonderful translation of this great story by Verne.
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