Verne as Seen by the Critics
|1.||'We have the good fortune to have to draw to our readers' attention a new and charming book by M. Jules Verne. The [sic] Journey to the Centre of the Earth, like Five Weeks in a Balloon and The British at the North Pole [original title of the first volume of Captain Hatteras], combines the most solid scientific qualities with the amusement and interest of a drama and a tale. Young people and people in society will not find a more agreeable and excellent guide than M. Verne to initiate them to geological discoveries and to the mysterious and so little known history of the Earth's massif on which we live' (Stahl [pseudonym of Hetzel:]: publicity announcement in the Magasin d'éducation et de récréation, 1866).|
|2.||'This fictional journey has all the colours and movement of reality; and if the author had not taken the care to tell us himself, the illusion would be almost too complete. M. Jules Verne is a true scientist, a delightful story-teller, and a writer of the greatest merit' ( Gustave Landol, 1864).|
|3.||' Journey to the Centre of the Earth is phantasmagoric; but the reader is so caught up in Axel's anguish . . . that the improbability of the events takes on secondary importance . . . Interior and exterior adventures are so closely interwoven that it is not until Axel has completed his final test that we emerge from the fiction and begin to wonder where the truth of the matter was . . . One feels that the book was Verne's escape . . . into the world of dream, one that he was never to undertake again on this scale' ( Jean Jules-Verne, 1973, trans. by Roger Greaves ).|
|4.||'Lidenbrock conveys a new vision of space. What distinguishes two points now is how close or how far they are from the centre . . . The corresponding map is a half-line, where points situated at the same distance are indistinguishable. This accounts for Lidenbrock's behaviour, "the man of the perpendiculars", whose only wish is to "slide down the Earth's radius", and for whom the worst torture is to have to navigate on that interior sea that we find so magnificent' ( Dominique Lacaze, 1979).|
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Publication information: Book title: Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Contributors: Jules Verne - Author, William Butcher - Translator. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 233.
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