Journey to the Center of the Earth (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082529
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 10/05/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 4,517
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Widely regarded as the father of modern science fiction, Jules Verne (1828-1905) wrote more than seventy books and created hundreds of memorable characters. His most popular novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, is not only a brilliant piece of scientific prophecy, but also a thrilling story with superb, subtle characterizations.

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1828

Date of Death:

March 24, 1905

Place of Birth:

Nantes, France

Place of Death:

Amiens, France

Education:

Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

Read an Excerpt

From Ursula Heise’s Introduction to Journey to the Center of the Earth

Traveling to the center of the Earth would involve a downward trip of about 4,000 miles that would cut through the Earth’s crust and its mostly solid, rocky mantle into a liquid core of iron alloy, then end at a solid inner core of iron and nickel. Pressure and temperature would rise with increasing depth, and temperatures would reach about 10,300 degrees Fahrenheit at the Earth’s center—hardly a climate that many geo-tourists would enjoy! Much of this knowledge about the geophysical structure of the Earth was acquired in the course of the twentieth century, long after Jules Verne published Journey to the Center of the Earth. In 1864, when the book appeared, different hypotheses about the nature of the Earth competed with each other. Even then, though, in light of any of the contemporary scientific theories, a journey to the Earth’s core belonged to the realm of the fantastic. Why then did Verne, who was intensely interested in the science and technology of his day, choose this idea as the founding assumption of what was to become one of his most famous novels? And why is this journey undertaken not by a dreamer or a madman, but by a hard-core scientist, a professor of mineralogy and geology who is thoroughly familiar with the scientific debates of his time?

For a reader who first encounters Journey to the Center of the Earth at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the enthusiasm of Professor Otto Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel, and even Lidenbrock’s goddaughter Graüben for mineralogical specimens and geological theories may seem nothing short of eccentric. After Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift—originally proposed in the 1920s—had been generally accepted in the 1960s, geology disappeared from public awareness as a science that could bring about exciting new discoveries and theories. But in the middle of the nineteenth century, geology was a brand-new branch of knowledge rife with the opposing theories and opinions of some of the best minds of the day. Far from being an arcane branch of scientific knowledge of mostly academic interest, it touched upon the most basic questions of the origin of life and human beings and the nature of the very soil they walk upon. Not just scholars but public and religious authorities believed they had a vital stake in the outcome of geological controversies.

As a scientific discipline, geology had in fact only come into being in the first half of the nineteenth century. Before that, mineralogists had been just about the only scientists to study the inanimate environment, conducting their investigation of the Earth most frequently in the context of French and German mining schools. Their study consisted of a mix of natural philosophy, theology, and the beginnings of empirical observation, without the benefit of an established academic framework. Abraham Gottlob Werner, a German professor at the Mining School of Freiberg in the late eighteenth century, combined the study of rock formations with the biblical account of Genesis. The Scottish naturalist, chemist, and geologist James Hutton opposed Werner’s theories and grounded his own account of the development of the Earth on observable processes and on the principle of uniformitarianism—that is, the idea that the processes that had gone into the shaping of the Earth over immensely long periods of time had not fundamentally changed and could still account for geological development. Hutton’s work was followed by that of Scottish geologist Charles Lyell, whose classic book Principles of Geology, published in 1830, laid down the foundations of a new, empirically based science of the Earth.

But the Earth is so vast and all-encompassing that it often appeared complicated to infer its general operating principles from the processess observable in one particular place. Indeed, huge areas of geology—the 70 percent of the Earth’s surface that is under water, as well as its interior—are simply inaccessible to direct human observation. (Lyell once joked that an amphibious observer who could inhabit both land and sea would be a more suitable geologist than a human being.) For these reasons, divergent theories about the nature of the Earth continued to rage throughout the nineteenth century. While some scholars argued that the interior of the Earth had to be mostly liquid, with the solid ground a mere thin crust not unlike ice on lake water, others replied that on mathematical grounds the Earth could not be anything but for the most part solid. The age of the Earth was similarly subject to vastly divergent estimations, and this issue became part of the violent controversy over Darwin’s theory of evolution in the 1850s and 1860s. Biological evolution occurs over immense periods of time, and in general, the development of the physical structure of the Earth over hundreds of thousands or even millions of years contradicts creationist accounts of a much shorter time span for the origins of the Earth.

In Verne’s day, therefore, geological theories about the origin and gradual shaping of the Earth, along with biological insights into the evolution of life, were what genetic engineering and nanotechnology are for us today: innovative and exciting areas of scientific research that have a profound bearing on the way we think about our own identity and experience our everyday lives. Verne’s familiarity with these debates shows up in every chapter of Journey to the Center of the Earth, which abounds in references to the leading scientific minds of his day, from naturalists and geologists such as Georges Cuvier to explorers such as Alexander von Humboldt and archaeologists such as Jacques Boucher de Perthes. Caught up in the evolving plot, a contemporary reader’s attention might easily slide over such references unawares. But their presence is the equivalent of mentions of James Watson and Francis Crick, Stephen Hawking, or Bill Gates in a novel written today.

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Journey to the Center of the Earth 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 356 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have read other reviews of this book you noticed that some people find it repugnant and others delightful. This is a book for those who truly love to read and who are truly eager to learn. It is best to describe a book in a sentence or two if possible, so here's my try at it: Upon discovering a remarkable map, the nervous Henry and his eccentric Uncle are off to Iceland, where the ancient map leads them to a dormant volcano that witholds the path to the center of the earth. Along with them is their guide, Hans, who, being always calm and cool, leads them imperterbably through fields of diamonds, underground animal habitats, and dangerous encounters. The reader soon finds, along with the entertaining characters, that successfully descending to the earths center will not be as difficult as ascending back to the earth's crust! Again, don't bother reading this book if your attention span is minimal, Jules Verne does sometimes get pedantic! That is why I have given this book four stars. It really is a shame to waste 12 dollars, so I ask that you be a responsible reader and know your interests. If scientific things are not for you than find something else. If your a science-fiction reader, you know that sometimes the author lavishes you with details. So there, I hope this is helpful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As other Jules Verne books, this has excitement, adventure, danger, monsters, suspense, etc. I loved it as a child and loved it again when I read it to my child.
ninjad3ath2010 More than 1 year ago
Jules Verne is an astounding author who, for his time, had excellant scientific ideas. He is known as the father of science fiction for good reason. He set a standard for all authors to come. While the story may begin at a slow pace, it quickly picks up in intensity and realism as our heroes descend to the depths of our planet. For his time, Jules Verne was very advanced. This gives his story an aspect of truth which, with the suspenseful storline, compels you to keep turning the page. I highly recommend this book for any mature reader who wants to be opened to new ideas.
beepear More than 1 year ago
I watched the new movie with Brendan Fraser and thought, it's time I read this book. I found it to be enjoyable, though long in places. Definitely look forward to reading another Jules Verne.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is full of imagination and wonder. If you have a big imagination and enjoy science fiction then I recommend reading it. Although the text is somewhat difficult you can feel the amazement an excitement int the protagonist roles. The ending of the story could have been better. It seemed a little over dramatic and hard to believe because of the circumstances . If I could change anything it would be the end of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I liked it very much. It is good for people who like adventure stories and/or unexpectedness. The book is very well written, in my opinion. One of the best books I have read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like adventure in the early 1900's, then this is the book for you. Set in Germany, Professor Otto Lindebrock discovers a hidden, incripted page from the Heims-Kringla of Snorro Turleson, a fomous Icelandic writer or the twelfth century, from Arne Saknussemm, a celerated alchemist of the sixteenth century, that is written in a code. As the Professor and his nephew/lab assistant crack the incription, they find out it is a written discritpion of how to get to the center of the earth. As this journey begains, with the help of and Icelandic guide Hans, they head out for a journey of darkness,strange seas under the earth, wild storms that can eltrify a compass, dormant volcano's to wild rafting up a active volcano. Come and feel the excitement as they take A Journey to the Center of the Earth. What will they find? Will society or family ever hear of these three brave explorer again? How do they live in the center of the earth? Come and join them in this epic advenure.
Kayla-Marie on LibraryThing 15 days ago
This book was nothing like what I had expected. I picked it up because I was in the mood for something fast-paced and action-packed, and I figured this was the perfect book (going off of the movie). It wasn't at all. This book was all science. There were no dinosaurs (though there were prehistoric giant sea-monsters at one point) and *major spoiler* they never made it to the center of the earth. They didn't even get one third of the way there before a volcanic eruption spurted them to the surface again after weeks of traveling. I gave this book 4 stars. Why in the world would I do that? Because I like the way Jules Verne writes. He kept me interested in the story even when there was no adrenaline-rush happening. I admit, if this book had been 400 pages rather than 200 I probably would have given it 1 or 2 stars. Verne can't keep me interested with science facts alone forever!
Prop2gether on LibraryThing 16 days ago
I loved this book! I seriously cannot believe that I avoided Verne for decades because I found Wells somewhat plodding. Of course, I've seen the movies made of both authors' works, but it was the most recent (2008) version which piqued my interest. By following the story by telling a narrative which encompassed it, I was having so much fun that I decided to read--and what a trip! It's on my favorites list now.
andreablythe on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Based on the discovery of a mysterious parchment detailing the entrance to the center of the earth, a passionate scientist drags his nephew to Iceland. There, with the help of their trusty Icelandic guide, they gain entry to travel deep into the earth,, where they have many great adventures including dangerous tunnels, an underground ocean, prehistoric creatures, and other natural hazards.I have seen so many versions of Journey to the Center of the Earth from the good to the very, very bad. This book is so much better than all of them. Much of the book is just traveling through dark tunnels before they make their more outrageous discoveries (the movies seem to insist on adding more complications).I had been worried that it was going to be dry like some books of the older style of prose, but i was pleasantly surprised. The narrative is entertaining throughout, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat, and often quite funny. I loved Professor Liedenbrock, whose wild passions often lead to humorous situations, as well as his more timid nephew Axel, who was not nearly as excited by the trip. I even enjoyed Hans, the silent and stoic guide.This is a fun, entertaining adventure novel. I loved it, and am quite excited to read the rest of Verne's works.
jjmcgaffey on LibraryThing 18 days ago
It's...interesting. I hadn't realized how much the story was a treatise on evolution (as understood at the time). Now I need to read more Verne to see if he's done the same (presumably in other fields) in his other books. It's a little hard to read - the viewpoint character is ridiculously variable - wild mood-swings from "We're all going to fail and die! Now!" to "Let's go! We are great adventurers!". Got a bit hard to take. Verne did some neat elision to get past the most unbelievable part - finding the interior cavern; since the VP character (I really can't call him the hero) is unconscious after tremendous strain, that whole event never gets told. And like that. I spent much more time noticing the writing and the agenda of the author than I did enjoying the story. That may be a mood thing, but right now I feel like there's not a lot of story (and _very_ little characterization - lots of cardboard 'traits', though) to this book.
fillechaude on LibraryThing 21 days ago
I guess I've been spoiled by modern fast-paced writing. While I did enjoy this book, and it had some great parts, I found a lot of it to be time-killing "filler" type material. Was it really necessary to take 90 pages to actually descend into the earth? Not in my humble opinion.The afterword by Nimoy was interesting, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...I lied... Best book ever!!! Haven't even fineshed yet but know it'll be good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God is out there he loves you as much as anyone he wants you to follow him and he wants to welcome you in with open arms everything i said is true. This book is amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jfjfjf
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She stood up straight wondering if she could go on partol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[Sorry I've been inactive! D:] <p> Karao smiles at the packs growth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Ngyu."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Watches
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Growls. She snatched her egg and Esme and Fear and flew away fastas lightning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
get so involved don't want to put it down... have read numerous times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago