Around the World in Eighty Days

by Jules Verne

Other authorsBarry Moser (Illustrator), George Makepeace Towle (Translator)
Hardcover, 1988

Status

Available

Local notes

Fic Ver (c.1)

Collection

Genres

Publication

William Morrow & Co. (1988), Edition: 1, 242 pages. $19.95.

Description

In 1872, English gentleman Phileas Fogg has many adventures as he tries to win a bet that he can travel around the world in eighty days.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1873

Physical description

242 p.; 6.75 inches

ISBN

0688075088 / 9780688075088

Barcode

597

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
What a fantastic, thrilling, gripping story this is. What a nail-biter! Filled with fun characters, vivid locations, and a sense of desperate urgency, Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne is deservedly a classic. I listened to this on audiobook read by Jim Dale and enjoyed every minute (except the truly nauseating little talk, added by the publisher, at the end. But I will rant about that later).

I was surprised to realize that I had probably never read the unabridged version of this story. I have a vague recollection of one of those Great Illustrated Classics, with a truly terrifying illustration of Passepartout in the opium den. Though I'm familiar with many of Verne's plots, I haven't really sat down with one of his books as an adult reader. I see I will have to rectify that.

Phileas Fogg is an eccentric English gentleman who has followed an unvarying pattern — to the minute — for most of his life. He is meticulous down to the temperature of his shaving water, and when his manservant brings him water that is two degrees too cold, Mr. Fogg has no alternative but to fire him. We arrive at the house in Savile Row the day the new servant, Passepartout, is to begin work. Passepartout is delighted at the prospect of a well-ordered, established life, but it is not to be. That very night, Fogg makes a twenty-thousand-pound bet at his club that he can travel around the world in eighty days. To the astonishment of his colleagues, who are well accustomed to his precise and unvarying life, Fogg sets out that very evening on his madcap voyage.

There is an interesting correlation between this story and that of Les Misérables; though completely opposite in tone and plot, both feature a legalistic, misled police inspector trailing the hero on all his journeys. Both inspectors step in to wreak ruin upon their quarry at the worst possible moment, and both, in the end, are foiled. That is probably as far as the comparison goes, but isn't it interesting? Les Misérables was published in 1862, and Around the World in Eighty Days in serial form in 1873.

I love Verne's descriptions; they are often so wryly humorous. Anyone who thinks classics are boring and slow really ought to read this book. He says that Fogg is "like an incarnation of the god of punctuality," and continually calls Passepartout a "dear fellow." Inspector Fix is also a very humorous and yet well-rounded character. Of Mrs. Aouda, alas, we do not see much.

I can't praise Jim Dale's reading enough; it was wonderful. His voices for the characters were superb. The only weakness was his voice for Mrs. Aouda, but it seems a common failing among male actors; they never can get the women's voices so well as the female actors can get the men's. But apart from that small quibble, I loved Dale's interpretation, especially of the beloved Passepartout! I will always hear his slightly breathless, emphatic, strongly accented voice in my head when I think of the character. (I should mention that another thing I love about audiobooks is that I learn how to pronounce all the words and names... Passepartout is pronounced "Paspertoo;" who knew?).

And now for the banal little talk at the end, given by the son of the man who started the Listening Library company (now owned by Random House). First off, the poor man's voice is not a pleasure to listen to after Dale's warm, rolling tones. It's nasally, effeminate, and just plain annoying. Even had his script been wonderful, it would have been hard to appreciate, read by that unfortunate voice.

And what he says is bad enough on its own account. Does Listening Library commend Verne for being interested in other countries and cultures, for opening new vistas to his readers, and demonstrating a vivid curiosity about the fascinating world around him? Do they praise his enthusiasm for the exotic and share his excitement for the geographical limitations that technology was removing? Oh no. Instead, the publishers chose to disparage his work as "unacceptable" by today's standards in its portrayal of "certain social structures" and "other cultures." Verne, they self-righteously sniff, displays a staggering "naivete" and "lack of appreciation and experience" for the various cultures that his characters encounter.

Sure, Verne had an imperfect understanding of the many cultures in his book. Do we, in chronological snobbery, really think our appreciation of every culture and "social structure" so perfect? Actually I was rather disappointed that the publisher did not actually mention the specific issues with the story, preferring rather to take the safe route of vague, lofty accusation. It's a good thing readers are generally intelligent enough to pick out these things for ourselves — where, oh where would we be without Listening Library to mold our minds? And there are textual refutations to their sweeping claims, if they would but condescend to play fair and be specific about what's giving them indigestion.

I find it absurd and unfair to judge a historical figure by modern standards. I think if any sermon must be made of the book's relative level of 21st-century political correctness or lack thereof (again, assuming we readers aren't astute enough to pick it out for ourselves), it ought to focus on the themes of the story rather than passing judgment on the author.

The cover art for this audiobook is further proof of the publisher's cluelessness. It features a large hot-air balloon... which Phileas Fogg never takes. Verne mentions a balloon for about two seconds as a method of travel that would most certainly not work for Mr. Fogg — and then the cover sports one prominently. *sigh*

But I don't want to leave you with all this negativity. The rating I am giving is strictly for the book. Random House/Listening Library's hamfisted approach is such a pity, because the actual production was excellent. I enjoyed the ethnic music that opened each new chapter, and of course Dale was great. And I suppose it's good the publishers didn't excise the parts they didn't like; this is unabridged, after all. But it's a 50th anniversary tribute to Listening Library's first audiobook production, which was this book. It might look bad if they interfered with the actual text itself.

If you think you are intelligent enough to perceive ideas that are in alignment with their historical setting (and actually, perhaps, ahead of their time) — if you're sure you won't suddenly morph into a bigot under Verne's pernicious influence — you really ought to give this book a try. It's funny, well written, and adventurous, and you'll enjoy every minute of Phileas Fogg's eighty days around the world. I certainly did. Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member theokester
Jules Verne is considered one of the early authors of the sci-fi genre. While Around the World in Eighty Days may not immediately fit our mold of "science fiction", when you figure that this was originally written in 1873, the science involved is pretty significant even if it is all based on accurate science rather than fanciful imaginations. Prior to reading, I knew the basic story and characters but not much more than that. Eccentric and meticulously orderly Phileas Fogg places a bet with members of his social club that he can travel around the world in 80 days. The date is chosen based on a loose claim listed in the newspaper based on the outlined timetables for trains and ships.

The first thing I found interesting was the character of Phileas Fogg. Based solely on my knowledge of the plot, I had expected him to be some wild and crazy madcap character with all sorts of outrageous behavior. Instead, Verne spends the first many pages showing us that Fogg is very much a creature of habit with ordinary behaviors. If anything, Fogg is a bit boring as a character. He has a precise daily and weekly schedule dictating when he wakes, when he sleeps, when he eats and everything he does in between. He doesn't have any extravagant hobbies or pastimes and doesn't do much of anything to engage in social events of the day. His flippant and sudden placing of the bet seems out of character and is quickly followed by quick adaptation to a new schedule as he immediately rushes home from his club, packs a quick bag, grabs his servant and proceeds to his first destination. Even in his quick trip, we seldom see him Fogg rushing or impetuous in any way. He is the picture of calm even as his trip faces adversity.

As a contrast to Fogg, his servant Passepartout is a very emotional character full of as much passion and frustration as Fogg is full of calm. Passepartout is stymied by his master's wager but rushes along with him on the adventure, excited to see the world. He is dismayed as he realizes that the whirlwind tour will result primarily in him seeing the cabins of ships or trains and very little of the world they're passing through. With each obstacle that comes their way, Passepartout practically shrieks in frustration and really adds to the sense of suspense and tension in the adventure. He is a great counter to Fogg's character and really helped make the book more entertaining.

Beyond the effects of nature or problems with transportation, the main obstacle facing Fogg is Inspector Fix from Scotland Yard. The Bank of England has recently been robbed by a man matching Fogg's description. When set alongside Fogg's erratic change in behavior and his willingness to throw insane sums of money at ship's captains and train engineer's, there is a very strong argument that Fogg could be the thief. Verne very carefully keeps details of the robbery hidden and makes sure that we are closely aligned with Fix's prejudices and beliefs. I had a hard time deciding whether or not Fogg was truly the bank thief or if it was merely an unfortunate coincidence. The interactions with Fix are humorous but distanced. Fix is waiting for his arrest warrant to arrive and until then he tries to stay just out of site of Fogg while also delaying his progress so that the warrant will catch up with them and allow an arrest to be made. The entire situation leads to some rather funny encounters.

I really enjoyed the meticulous way in which Verne outlines the voyage. We sit with Fogg as he consults timetables and records his progress. There is a very careful accounting of days, weeks and hours. Alongside this, and usually alongside Passepartout rather than Fogg, Verne presents some fun narrative and adventures that give insight into a variety of different locations and cultures. For the late 19th century this was surely a lot of the novelty and appeal of the story. Even in the 21st century I applaud his presentation of these distant cultures. The technology and ideas are a bit dated, but there is still a sense of wonder, education and enjoyment that goes beyond the years.

My biggest complaint comes in the final section of the novel.

SPOILER ALERT - this next paragraph contains a spoiler about Fogg's eventual completion of his trip

When Fogg finally returns to London after overcoming numerous obstacles in amazing ways, he is distraught. Upon consulting his trusty notebook, he finds that he is at exactly 80 days. However, the wager included a TIME of day to ensure the voyage was completed in precisely 80 days of 24 hours. Unfortunately it looks as though Fogg has arrived a few minutes late. Rather than return to the club and consult his friends and concede defeat, Fogg returns home with his companions and goes to sleep. The next day he mopes about most of the day and then later sends Passepartout on an errand. Passepartout returns frantically informing his master that an error has been made and TODAY is the end of the wager and that if Fogg hurries, he can make it to the club in time. Fogg races through the streets to arrive at the club and win the bet. The reason for the miscalculation is presented by Verne essentially as the fact that Fogg traveled Eastward around the globe and crossed the "date line" effectively losing a calendar day and traveling a full 24-hours for free. This is all well and good and scientifically sound...where the problem breaks down for me is the fact that the original bet included a DATE on which Fogg should return. And every leg of the journey, Fogg is consulting time tables many times involving identifying the day and date that a transport will depart. Even as Fogg leaves the East coast of the U.S., day numbers are presented. As such, the exact DATE is perfectly known to Fogg and his companions. Thus, even if he did tally off 81 "days" of 24 hours in his notebook, it would have been VERY clear that they were right on time simply by consulting the timetables, the newspaper or any other item that they frequently looked at. The twist/surprise ending was entertaining but the logic of it fell apart for me.

END OF SPOILER

Overall I really enjoyed the story. It was a fun adventure with some great details and wonderful characters. The writing was engaging and the plot was a lot of fun. As I mentioned before, even though aspects of the science and technology are certainly dated (after all, you can now travel around the world in a single day), they are a joy to read and make me want to seek out more books from this father of science fiction.

*****
4.5 out of 5 stars
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LibraryThing member Magadri
This was a very suspenseful, exciting book! This was the first Verne book I've ever read, and he is very good at keeping readers gnawing on their nails at the edge of their seats. The story has humor sprinkled throughout it that had me laughing out loud. I loved it; I know I say this about nearly everything I read, but this truly was a wonderful book!… (more)
LibraryThing member Davidgnp
For some reason I had never before got round to reading this classic, nor seen any of the adaptations on screen, despite my enjoyment of other Verne works, especially 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' which has resonated with me since childhood. I am glad now that I saved this pleasure to savour it all the more today.

Like our hero, I was transported from start to finish of Phileas Fogg's incredible journey; before that, in fact, for his introduction by the author and his calm placing of a £20,000 wager against his friends in the Reform Club had me immediately engaged.

Verne's adroit use of point of view is one example of his masterful skills as story-teller. He never permits the reader Fogg's internal perspective on a situation - instead telling the story partly authorially and partly though Passepartout or Fix, fellow-passengers with opposing views of the protagonist. As a result we never lose the sense of Fogg as an enigma (note his name), never have any advance notice of his planning, while his ability to extemporise solutions to overcome seemingly impossible barriers is our constant surprise and delight.

Paradoxically, the less we know about him the more interesting and intriguing he becomes, and the stronger the bond we feel both for Fogg and those he protects. We can easily comprehend the hero-worship of Passepartout and the love interest of Aouda, for we share it.

Fogg has few compeers in English literature that I can think of, though it strikes me that Ian Fleming may have had something of Fogg in mind when he created the generally imperturbable and resourceful James Bond. Verne's creation, though, for me is the greater hero, and the more memorable.
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LibraryThing member Oreillynsf
Phileas Fogg is that among that special breed of eccentric British men that were such a fixture of Victorian England. At his club he is challenged to race around the world in 80 days -- in an era where transportation was a scosh...unreliable. Accompanied by his incredibly resourceful servant Passepartout he accepts the challenge. The book chronicles his adventures.

It's a remarkable journey full of action, suspense, and absurd comedy. And of course, that comical Vistorian xenophobia -- though doubtless it is more humorous for the reader than it was in international business relationships.

Focused on his goal, and only his goal, Fogg does his level best to bring England with him, and not experience even a trace of other cultures. That alone is worth the price of admission.
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LibraryThing member matteo1121
Review of Around the World in Eighty Days

The book, Around the World in Eighty Days, by Jules Verne is a book about a man named Phileas Fogg who claims that it is possible to travel around the world in eighty days. He then gets challenged to do this himself. This book gets more exciting and dramatic every time you turn the page.

One of the main reasons this book keeps you on the edge of your seat is that you don't know if Phileas will be able to make the deadline and win the bet of traveling around the world in eighty days. Also, throughout the course of the book Phileas turns from a cold calculative man, to a more outgoing energetic man. “I say, you do have a heart!' “Sometimes,” he replied, 'When I have the time.” This quote shows that the character is still his old self partly, but he has also transformed into a warmer person.

Like many adventures, money is something that drives this story, “A true Englishman doesn't joke when he is talking about so serious a thing as a wager.” That wager is something that enhances the story and makes it more exciting.

Jules Verne has produced a number of adventure novels, but none quite like this one. This book shows just how mad adventure can be. If you love adventure novels, you should definitely check this book out. Jules Verne makes adventure come to life in Around the World in Eighty Days.
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LibraryThing member whitewavedarling
There's something rather charming and fantastic about this work, and in the way that Verne manages to bring to life characters in even such a fast-paced and simply told tale as this one. Certainly, the language is as dated as the narrative and the modes of transportation involved in Fogg's journey, but in an odd way, that feels to make it all the more fantastic and believable. Strange as that might be.

I don't think I would have had the patience for this tale when I was younger, so I'm glad to have finally gotten around to it now. Certainly, I'd recommend it.
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LibraryThing member ElizaJane
I read this book for the first as a read-aloud to my son when he was about 12. We were rivetted, on the edge of our seats. Excitement and humour, a must read.
LibraryThing member auntieknickers
As I recall this book was a lot of fun! Oddly enough I have yet to see either of the movies, but the original Mike Todd one is "in my queue." Because of my lack of interest in "hard science fiction" it's the only Jules Verne book I've read, but it appears he was a good storyteller based on that.
LibraryThing member cbl_tn
This is the ultimate travel tale. It's full of adventure and suspense spiced with humor and romance. It's lighthearted fun, yet it touches on social issues of its era such as the status and treatment of women in India and opium use in China.

It's interesting that, while there are lots of characters in the book, there is only one female. Her character is less developed than the male characters, and she has a mostly passive role in the action. I don't read many adventure novels, and I haven't read any of Verne's other books, so perhaps this is typical of the genre.

This story lends itself well to reading aloud or listening to on audio. I listened to an audio version on a road trip and it made the time pass quickly.
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LibraryThing member corinneblackmer
What a delightful book. It bears the tone of an unflappable gentleman of the world, and the travel tour across the globe, particularly Asia, is highly memorable. There is time enough to do good deeds as well, as when a young woman is rescued from the fate of suttee in India.
LibraryThing member andreablythe
Philease Fogg makes a hasty and rash bet of 20,000 pounds that he can travel around the world in 80 days. He immediately sets off, dragging his newly hired servant Passpartout along for the journey. He meets with many adventures and possible delays that risk preventing him from reaching his destination in time, including Fix, a detective who has mistaken Fogg for a bank robber.

The film versions of this books often make this story more exotic and fantastical than it really is, turning Fogg into some sort of an inventor, who sets off in his journey in an air balloon. But Fogg uses regular means of travel in this books, ships, trains, and even on elephant, but there are no balloons. Verne did pen another adventure story, called Five Weeks in a Balloon, in which travels travel across Africa in a hot air balloon (this is on my list to read).

That being said, I enjoyed Around the World immensely. Because the book was orginally written as a serial, the chapters are each vignette in which Fogg and his companions meets an obstacle and then over comes it. Verne's characters are something like caricatures, but the have enough depth to be fully entertaining.

This is only the second book of Verne's that I have read, but he is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
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LibraryThing member missbecki
I loved this book! It was the first Jules Verne book I ever read, and it well deserves to be known as a classic. The characters are silly, but still so human that you can relate to them, and the ending was so exciting that my heart was literally beating faster.
LibraryThing member Ritsumei
It was a fun read, but the presentation of Mormons is completely inaccurate and misleading.
LibraryThing member carpe_diem1991
After betting to be able to tour around the world in eighty days or less, Mr. Phineas Fogg and his loyal major-domo, Passepartout embark themselves in the mission of proving it.
LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
You know the story and so forth, but what you might not know (unless you are psychic or I already told you) is that this book had a life-changing effect on me.

One has to read the right books at the right time, especially in childhood. Frankly, one has to read in childhood - this point is critical. I read this beautiful little novel, and for a time the world lay stretched out before me, a perfect little world full of adventure just waiting to be explored.

The more I think about it, the more I'm sure that it was this book that caused me to become so obsessed with travel. I've always dreamt of far-away places, and having read this book during my formative years, and having loved every page, there's a strong possibility that I owe Verne my very ambitions. Thank you, sir.
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LibraryThing member Clurb
My favourite of all Verne's stuff. Fast paced, funny and exciting.
LibraryThing member trickbooks
I'd listen to almost anything read by Jim Dale. His soothing voice and amazing ability to portray characters makes it a joy.

As to the text, Verne's classic tale is somewhat dated and very different from what we've come to expect based on modern film versions. Indeed, despite the cover art, I was surprised to learn the Fogg never travels in a hot air balloon. As an audiobook, this is a gem.… (more)
LibraryThing member williamcostiganjr
Probably a good book for kids, but reading it for the first time as an adult it really doesn't do it. It is SO cartoonish and the characters so outlandish that I stopped after about 40 pages.
LibraryThing member AgustinPancho
The protagonist,Phileas Fogg,is a late 19th century English man who likes everything perfect and also has a lonely life. Then, he hire an efficient servant called Passepartout. That same day he was challenge to go around the world in eighty days, so he took passepartout with him and set to the journey as fast as possible. During the first days of the trip, everytime they got to a city, Mr. Fogg stayed in his room to do math about the time they wasted and time left while Passepartout wants to view the city and its people. When they were in India, Mr. Fogg's true colors finally showed up and Passepartout saw them. They had to save the live of Princess Aouda from a brutal sacrefise. Mr. Fogg was falling in love with her throught the journey. To be Continue.… (more)
LibraryThing member Blenny
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I was going to give it a rating of two and a half stars halfway through the book, but two thirds of the way through, the excitement was turned up a notch. The story meanders along for a while with peaks and troughs; some phases exciting but some rather dull. It then starts to really pick up and I found myself turning the pages faster and faster as Verne built up the tension in the story. There are some really nice ideas in Jules Verne's work, but he isn't consistent in his storytelling as he tends to get bogged down with small and sometimes insignificant details. A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth is by far his best novel.… (more)
LibraryThing member mahmoodaamer
excelent book to read i also wish to travel around the world but not only in eighty days
LibraryThing member DanoWins
A wonderful adventure story. This story, much like many of Verne's others, captures the imagination and lets the reader simply enjoy a good story. Every story might have a little something to teach us, or a little bit of a moral, but the adventures of Phileas Fogg are, to me, nothing more than a darn good story. It reminds me of a time when I could read for pleasure without having to expect a conspiracy, or to discover some hidden truth. Verne tells a story that often includes all the latest in technological advances, as was his style, but he seems to have no other desire but to entertain. It is often hard to read a "classic" due to the tendancy for a "classic" to be rather dated. Thie piece by Verne, though perhaps dated just a bit, is a classic for the best reason: it entertains!… (more)
LibraryThing member austinwood
A race to go around the world in 80 days in a balloon.
LibraryThing member indygo88
This was another very abridged version ( 1-disc audio) of a classic, but fairly enjoyable & not too awfully hard to follow for someone who's not familiar with the story (me). It moves quickly & you have to follow along closely throughout or you'll miss something, but a nice story overall.

Pages

242

Rating

(2121 ratings; 3.8)
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