This is the most faithful English translation of Verne's masterpiece. Many editions published under the more familiar title, Journey to the Center of the Earth
, are actually re-writes of the Verne work, in which the character's names are changed, some events are deleted from the story line, while others have been added.
To find this on Gutenberg, you have to query by the French title, Voyage au Centre de la Terre. English
. Searching on the English title results only in an audio book. Gah!
I started out reading the other version, but stopped because in the redactor's introduction, I was essentially told, "don't read this piece of crap, get the faithful translation". So I did. So far (30% done), so good.
Anyway, as for the book itself, I have mixed feelings. I liked it well enough at the beginning, but the ending made no sense to me, and seemed rather rushed. Verne took great pains, for a while, to have the book be more-or-less scientifically plausible, then, toward the end, just let things happen willy nilly, things which were obviously implausible under any possible sets of assumptions. I don't much like when that happens. I prefer my fantasy to make sense within the context of its assumptions. I also found the main character, Axel, to be a bit overly emotional, but I suppose that is par for the course for mid-19th century people. They seemed to wallow excessively in melodrama.
Once again, I wish one could give +s and -s to * ratings. In my reckoning, a 3-* book is worth reading, but this one would be ***-, if I could label it so. My previous book, The Magnificent Ambersons
would have been a ***+. Which is to say, this book is better than a ** book, which is pretty awful, but not so bad that one can't plow through it. A * book, on the other hand, is such garbage that one should immediately throw it down. A **** book, would be one that is really good, but not, perhaps, one of the best books one ever read. That last category is reserved for ***** books, such as Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
or Great Expectations
Anyway, Journey into the Interior of the Earth
is worth reading for historical context if nothing else. If one never gets around to it, however, one's life won't be significantly less full.