Around the World in Eighty Days

By Jules Verne
Translated by George Makepeace Towle
Read by Frederick Davidson

The Voyages Extraordinaires Series: Book 11

7.10 Hours 11/01/1993 unabridged
Format:
  • Regular Price: $16.95

    Special Price $13.56

    or 1 Credit

    ISBN: 9781455170890

    $12.99 With Membership: Learn More
  • $6.95

    ISBN: 9781482110777

  • $29.95

    ISBN: 9780786184446

  • $24.95

    ISBN: 9780786184569

The eccentric Phileas Fogg, a distinguished but sedentary member of London’s Reform Club, takes up a wager that he can circle the globe in just eighty days—an amazing feat in the 1870s. What follows is a lively narrative recounting the journey by Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, as they overcome obstacle after obstacle to win the wager with Fogg’s fellow club members. The pair undertakes a fantastic world tour crossing three continents and two oceans and utilizing every means of transportation available in the 1870s: trains, steamers, an elephant, and a sail-sledge. All the while, they are pursued by a private detective named Fix, who believes Fogg to be a bank robber. Assorted companions join the party, including a damsel in distress named Aouda, whom Fogg rescues in India. After traveling through Paris, Egypt, India, Japan, America, Ireland, and more, Phileas Fogg finally arrives back in London—having just by the remotest chance met the deadline, convinced Fix of his innocence, and collected the payment. And money isn’t the only prize he’s won. This is a marvelous travelogue mixed with dazzling suspense, delightful fantasy, and lively comedy where frustrating delays and death-defying exploits abound.

Learn More
Membership Details
  • Only $12.99/month gets you 1 Credit/month
  • Cancel anytime
  • Hate a book? Then we do too, and we'll exchange it.
See how it works in 15 seconds

Summary

Summary

The eccentric Phileas Fogg, a distinguished but sedentary member of London’s Reform Club, takes up a wager that he can circle the globe in just eighty days—an amazing feat in the 1870s. What follows is a lively narrative recounting the journey by Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, as they overcome obstacle after obstacle to win the wager with Fogg’s fellow club members. The pair undertakes a fantastic world tour crossing three continents and two oceans and utilizing every means of transportation available in the 1870s: trains, steamers, an elephant, and a sail-sledge. All the while, they are pursued by a private detective named Fix, who believes Fogg to be a bank robber. Assorted companions join the party, including a damsel in distress named Aouda, whom Fogg rescues in India.

After traveling through Paris, Egypt, India, Japan, America, Ireland, and more, Phileas Fogg finally arrives back in London—having just by the remotest chance met the deadline, convinced Fix of his innocence, and collected the payment. And money isn’t the only prize he’s won.

This is a marvelous travelogue mixed with dazzling suspense, delightful fantasy, and lively comedy where frustrating delays and death-defying exploits abound.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“It’s the views of old ships and trains, of costumed natives, and distant ports of call—from Port Said to San Francisco—that evoke the tale’s panorama of the exotic.” Kirkus Reviews
“The reason Verne is still read by millions today is simply that he was one of the best storytellers who ever lived.” Arthur C. Clarke
“Jules Verne's masterpiece .. stimulated our childhood and taught us more than all the atlases: the taste of adventure and the love of travel. 'Thirty thousand banknotes for you, Captain, if we reach Liverpool within the hour.' This cry of Phileas Fogg's remains for me the call of the sea.” Jean Cocteau

Reviews

Reviews

by Bertie Wooster 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Around the World in 7 Hours: So I May have Missed Something

Just compare what other, more brain-burdened men have said:

"We will only remind readers en passant of Around the World in Eighty Days, that tour de force of Mr. Verne's—and not the first he has produced. Here, however, he has summarized and concentrated himself, so to speak ... No praise of his collected works is strong enough… "

Henry Trianon, December 20, 1873

"Jules Verne's masterpiece…stimulated our childhood and taught us more than all the atlases: the taste of adventure and the love of travel. 'Thirty thousand banknotes for you, Captain, if we reach Liverpool within the hour.' This cry of Phileas Fogg's remains for me the call of the sea."

Jean Cocteau, 1936

"Leo Tolstoy loved his works. 'Jules Verne's novels are matchless', he would say. 'I read them as an adult, and yet I remember they excited me. Jules Verne is an astonishing past master at the art of constructing a story that fascinates and impassions the reader.

Cyril Andreyev, "Preface to the Complete Works"

And who am I to disagree with the likes of Jean Cocteau and Leo Tolstoy? Or, for that matter, with Henry Trianon and Cyril Andreyev?

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that, much like The Red Badge of Courage, Around the World in 80 Days is very much a period piece. It’s an odd thing for me to say, as I enjoy medieval romances and the Greek and Roman poets “Englished” during the Renaissance and later. On the other hand, the periods to which those pieces belong are far distant. The world Phileas Fogg circumnavigates is (oddly enough) that of my earliest youth, when you had to hold records by the edges for fear of finger prints and wait in line at banks, when a hand-held device was a spoon, a fork or a pencil and a moon shot was an idea that made you hold your breath.

Or maybe the problem is even more basic. The writing itself—or at least the translation—is flat. It starts out well enough. The enigmatic Mr. Fogg, a man of inhumanly regular habits, independent means and ice-cold nerve, is presented in delightful language out of which Frederick Davidson, predictably, gets the most.

But then, a few chapters later, I realized I was bored. I was waiting for the story to end. The narration is just that: straight-ahead narration. There are no—or very, very few—verbal side streets in this story. No circumlocutions, no entertaining ways of backing into a subject or situation. Meanwhile, I was aware that I was supposed to take delight in the faithful, mercurial Passpartout, the dogged Detective Fix and the lovely Aouda (as well as the crusty Indian Army officer who tags along with them for a while) but they all struck me as predictable stock figures.

Maybe the real problem was that I knew how it all would end; I was prepared for the totally unexpected thunderclap of a denouement that turns defeat into victory and financial ruin into…well, if not riches, at least the stabilizing of Mr. Fogg’s fortune. It stunned me when I saw the movie as a kid and, if you haven’t seen any adaptation of the book I won’t spoil it, in hopes that you may enjoy the story more than I did.

One final guess: maybe the whole tone of the book struck me as elegiac. It is truly a period piece in this sense: it breathes the pre-20th Century optimism that the West had in its machines, its science, its culture and its institutions—before the Somme and Verdun, the Crash and the Depression, Stalingrad and Auschwitz, Five-Year Plans, the Killing Fields and Polymorphic Pleasure all took—or seemed to take—much of the wind out of our spiritual and intellectual sails. Just a thought.

Oddly enough, once the journey was over I started enjoying the writing much more. Maybe that’s Verne’s point. Maybe his style replicates the contrast between repose and rush. Maybe I’m missing something Tolstoy and Cocteau caught right off the bat. The chances are very good.

As usual, Frederick Davidson does a splendid job, though the large middle of this story gives him very little in the way of innuendo, hidden motives and fine shades of meaning to get his teeth into.

I'm hoping Verne's other two books in my collection (Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) will give more pleasure, as they both take place in less familiar surroundings; realms where I can't guess the next logical move and where, thank goodness, I haven't seen the movie.

Author

Author Bio: Jules Verne

Jules Verne (1828–1905) is considered by many the father of science fiction. Born in Nantes, France, he studied law but turned to writing opera libretti until the 1863 publication of Five Weeks in a Balloon, the first of his Extraordinary Voyages series. Its success encouraged him to produce a number of classic and prophetic science fiction novels, including Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. His stories foresaw many scientific and technological developments, including the submarine, television, and space travel.

Titles by Author

See All

Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 7.10
Audience: Adult
Language: English