An Antarctic Mystery

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Overview

'An Antarctic Mystery' (French: 'Le Sphinx des glaces, The Sphinx of the Ice Fields'), is an 1897 adventure novel by Jules Verne and is a response to Edgar Allan Poe's 1838 novel 'The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.' It follows the adventures of the narrator and his journey from the Kerguelen Islands aboard the Halbrane.
Neither Poe nor Verne had actually visited the remote Kerguelen Islands, in the south Indian Ocean, but their works are some of the few literary ...
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An Antarctic Mystery

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Overview

'An Antarctic Mystery' (French: 'Le Sphinx des glaces, The Sphinx of the Ice Fields'), is an 1897 adventure novel by Jules Verne and is a response to Edgar Allan Poe's 1838 novel 'The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.' It follows the adventures of the narrator and his journey from the Kerguelen Islands aboard the Halbrane.
Neither Poe nor Verne had actually visited the remote Kerguelen Islands, in the south Indian Ocean, but their works are some of the few literary (as opposed to exploratory) references to the archipelago.

The story is set in 1839, eleven years after the events in 'Arthur Gordon Pym,' one year after the publication of that book. The narrator is a wealthy American Jeorling, who has entertained himself with private studies of the wildlife on the Kerguelen Islands and is now looking for a passage back to the USA. Halbrane is one of the first ships to arrive at Kerguelen, and its captain Len Guy somewhat reluctantly agrees to have Jeorling as a passenger as far as Tristan da Cunha.

Underway, they meet a stray iceberg with a dead body on it, which turns out to be a sailor from a ship named Jane. A note found with him indicates that he and several others including Jane's captain William Guy had survived an assassination attempt and are still alive. Guy, who had talked to Jeorling earlier about the subject of Pym, reveals himself to be the brother of William Guy. He decides to try to come to the rescue of Jane's crew. After taking on provisions on Tristan da Cunha and the Falklands, they head South with Jeorling still on board. They also take aboard another mysterious sailor named Hunt who is eager to join the search for undisclosed reasons.

Extraordinarily mild weather allows the Halbrane to make good progress, and they break the pack ice barrier, which surrounds an ice-free Antarctic ocean, early in summer. They find first Bennet's islet, where Jane had made a stop, and finally Tsalal. But the island is completely devastated, apparently by a recent massive earthquake, and deserted. They find lots of remains of Tsalal's natives, who apparently died long before the earthquake, and the collar of Pym's dog, Tiger, but no trace of the Jane...


"[Jules Verne]'s first books, the shortest, 'Around the World' or 'From the Earth to the Moon,' are still the best in my view. However, the works should be judged as a whole rather than in detail, and on their results rather than their intrinsic quality. Over the last forty years, they have had an influence unequalled by any other books on the children of this and every country in Europe. And the influence has been good, in so far as can be judged today." (Léon Blum, L'Humanité, April 3, 1905).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598183207
  • Publisher: Aegypan
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne (8 February 1828 - 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction. Verne was born to bourgeois parents in the seaport of Nantes, where he was trained to follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer, but quit the profession early in life to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages Extraordinaires, a widely popular series of scrupulously researched adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation is markedly different in Anglophone regions, where he has often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children's books, not least because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted.

Verne is the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, between the English-language writers Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare, and probably was the most-translated during the 1960s and 1970s. He is one of the authors sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction", as are H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.

Biography

The creator of the roman scientifique, the popular literary genre known today as science fiction, Jules Gabriel Verne was born in the port town of Nantes, France, in 1828. His father, Pierre, was a prominent lawyer, and his mother, Sophie, was from a successful ship-building family. Despite his father's wish that he pursue law, young Jules was fascinated by the sea and all things foreign and adventurous. Legend holds that at age eleven he ran away from school to work aboard a ship bound for the West Indies but was caught by his father shortly after leaving port. Jules developed an abiding love of science and language from a young age. He studied geology, Latin, and Greek in secondary school, and frequently visited factories, where he observed the workings of industrial machines. These visits likely inspired his desire for scientific plausibility in his writing and perhaps informed his depictions of the submarine Nautilus and the other seemingly fantastical inventions he described.

After completing secondary school, Jules studied law in Paris, as his father had before him. However, during the two years he spent earning his degree, he developed more consuming interests. Through family connections, he entered Parisian literary circles and met many of the distinguished writers of the day. Inspired in particular by novelists Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Verne began writing his own works. His poetry, plays, and short fiction achieved moderate success, and in 1852 he became secretary of the Théâtre lyrique. In 1857 he married Honorine Morel, a young widow with two children. Seeking greater financial security, he took a position as a stockbroker with the Paris firm Eggly and Company. However, he reserved his mornings for writing. Baudelaire's recently published French translation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the days Verne spent researching points of science in the library, inspired him to write a new sort of novel: the roman scientifique. His first such novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was an immediate success and earned him a publishing contract with the important editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel.

For the rest of his life, Verne published an average of two novels a year; the fifty-four volumes published during his lifetime, collectively known as Voyages Extraordinaires, include his best-known works, Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Begun in 1865 and published to huge success in 1869, Twenty Thousand Leagues has been translated into 147 languages and adapted into dozens of films. The novel also holds the distinction of describing a submarine twenty-five years before one was actually constructed. As a tribute to Verne, the first electric and nuclear submarines were named Nautilus. In 1872 Verne settled in Amiens with his family. During the next several years he traveled extensively on his yachts, visiting such locales as North Africa, Gibraltar, Scotland, and Ireland. In 1886 Verne's mentally ill nephew shot him in the leg, and the author was lame thereafter. This incident, as well as the tumultuous political climate in Europe, marked a change in Verne's perspective on science, exploration, and industry. Although not as popular as his early novels, Verne's later works are in many ways as prescient. Touching on such subjects as the ill effects of the oil industry, the negative influence of missionaries in the South Seas, and the extinction of animal species, they speak to concerns that remain urgent in our own time.

Verne continued writing actively throughout his life, despite failing health, the loss of family members, and financial troubles. At his death in 1905 his desk drawers contained the manuscripts of several new novels. Jules Verne is buried in the Madeleine Cemetery in Amiens.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Good To Know

In 1848, Verne got his start writing librettos for operettas.

When Verne's father found out that his son would rather write than study law, he cut him off financially, and Jules was forced to support himself as a stockbroker -- a job he hated but was fairly good at. During this period, he sought advice and inspiration from authors Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo.

Verne stands as the most translated novelist in the world -- 148 languages, according to UNESCO statistics.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nantes, France
    1. Date of Death:
      March 24, 1905
    2. Place of Death:
      Amiens, France
    1. Education:
      Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2014

    Classic sea adventure

    I would not say I am atypical

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    Snowy

    Thanks, but ill figure this out o

    0 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    To Snowy

    Can u be my cat at nookville located at nook. I own a farm . Janeah and her mother Leia

    0 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    Wolfstar

    Snowy do you need a clan?

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