Journey to the Centre of the Earth

By Jules Verne; William Butcher | Go to book overview

NOTE ON THE TRANSLATION

THE text used for the present edition is based on the 1867 one used in modern French editions ( Livre de Poche, Garnier- Flammarion, Rencontre, Hachette). The first edition (18mo) appeared on 25 November 1864, and was unillustrated. Verne's 'press release' described it as 'a work whose success is guaranteed in advance. [. . .] He has introduced into the framework of a novel a complete study of the phenomena which occur within the globe', a document Hetzel commented on as 'good for a stupid cretin and good little children or babies'. As was usual, the illustrations were added only with the first large-octavo edition ( 1867) (the seventh edition). But Journey to the Centre of the Earth is unique in that Verne used this opportunity to add a new section, chapters 37-9 (pp. 177-87 in the present text). What is also very unusual is that the novel was not published first in serial form ( Hetzel only launched the Magasin d'éducation et de récréation in 1864).

The present translation is an entirely new one, benefiting from the most recent scholarship on Verne. It aims to be faithful to the original (including the absence of chapter titles and the retention of the mock-learned footnotes). The use of phrases like 'he said' and 'he replied', of exclamation marks, and of semicolons in ternary sentences has, however, been slightly reduced.

In the early works Verne uses pre-Revolutionary measures like pieds, lignes (one-twelfth of an inch), lieues, and toises ('fathoms'). Throughout this edition, British feet (about 7 per cent smaller than the French ones), miles (about 10 per cent larger), and so on will be used. A few of Verne's figures have consequently had to be slightly adjusted.

Foreign-language words and names are erratic in the Voyages extraordinaires, sometimes even internally inconsistent. These have normally been corrected (for instance 'Snæfells' for 'Sneffels'). Some of Verne's learned terms do not seem authentic, whether through error or deliberate mystification. In such cases an Anglicized equivalent is given, but usually an endnote indicates its absence from the dictionaries.

A recurrent problem in translating Verne is his delight in reactivating fixed expressions, by subtly altering them or by

-xxx-

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Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Note on the Translation xxx
  • Select Bibliography xxxiii
  • A Chronology of Jules Verne xxxv
  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth 1
  • Explanatory Notes 219
  • Appendix Verne as Seen by the Critics 233
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