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ClassicsOnline Home » VERNE, J.: Around the World in Eighty Days (Abridged)
To take on the bet—to go around the world in eighty days, faster than anyone had gone before—was madness. If Phileas Fogg missed a single connection he would lose £20,000. Phileas Fogg was an eccentric Englishman who lived a quiet ordered life and believed that, with technology and planning, nothing was unforseeable. But he could not plan for the ebullient nature of his French servant, Passepartout, for the adventures that crop up on their journey and for the totally unexpected collision with romance. The humour and freshness of Verne’s writing—vivid despatches from a newly accessible world—make Around The World In Eighty Days an ideal subject for an Audiobook.
Around The World In Eighty Days
Jules Verne was born in the French seaport of Nantes in
1828. In 1839,
he stowed away on the Coralie, a ship bound for the West
Indies, but was retrieved by his father. His father wanted Jules to become a
lawyer – as
he himself was – and sent his son to Paris in 1848 to train.
In Paris, Verne became part of the literary circle of
In 1852, he passed his law exams and became Secretary to the
Théâtre Lyrique, writing several unsuccessful plays.
In 1856, Verne married a young widow from Amiens, Honorine
Morel, who had two children, and they had one son of their own, Michel. In
order to support his family, he became a stockbroker on the Paris Bourse.
As well as plays, Verne wrote many poems and stories for
and in 1854 he published a fantasy novella, Master
Zacharius. But his first real success came in 1863, with the publication of
Five Weeks in a Balloon,
followed in 1864 by Journey to the Centre of the Earth and,
in 1865, From the Earth to the Moon. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was
published in two parts, in 1869 and 1870. Like many of
it shows his love of exploration and scientific discovery.
Verne was left crippled in 1886 after being shot by his
nephew, Gaston, when he refused him money. But he continued to work, and wrote
a total of 67 titles. He died in 1905.
Around the World in Eighty Days was Verne's tenth novel. It
was published in 1873, at the height of his powers, and it established his
popularity in Britain - and in America, where it was the best seller of the
year, with sales topping a million. It achieved its greatest popularity in the
20th century through Michael Todd's film with David Niven in the title role.
Around the World in Eight Days chronicles the dramatic dash
from continent to continent to win a wager by the eccentric Englishman, Phileas
Fogg. Fogg is very much a Frenchman's idea of the English gentleman, a figure
of extreme punctiliousness who is quite content to 'let his servant do his sightseeing
for him.' He is balanced by the excitable and warm-hearted Passepartout -
perhaps a Frenchman's idea of the true Frenchman.
The book was written as a serial and ran in the Paris
newspaper, Le Temps, in real time, the story and the journey ending on the same
day at the end of December 1872. Fogg's journey was followed keenly by readers,
and episodes were telegraphed across the Atlantic. It was a time when
international tourist travel was becoming increasingly available to a wider
section of people, and the details of visas, traveling methods and differing
cultural traits was fascinating to the general reader. The story falls easily
into episodes, and the immediacy of the writing, mirroring the fast moving pace
of the action, makes it as gripping today as when it was first written.
Notes by Lesley Young
Harry Burton is a highly versatile actor. A familiar figure
in British theatre, in London's West End and the Fringe, he has become equally
known for taking leading operatic roles including Mozart (Figaro and Leporello)
and Rossini (Dandini) at the South Bank, the Vienna Festival and on TV. He is
also regularly seen on TV in programs as varied as Soldier, Soldier and Pinter's
The music on this cassette is taken from the NAXOS and MARCO
GRIEG THE WEDDING DAY AT TROLHAUGEN 8.550864
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Jerzy Maksymiuk
DVORÁK SYMPHONY NO 9 FROM THE NEW WORLD 8.550271
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Stephen Gunzenhauser
D'INDY TABLEAUX DE VOYAGE ETC 8.223659
Württemberg Philharmonic/Gilles Nopre
FLEMISH ROMANTIC MUSIC 8.223418
BRT Philharmonic, Brussels/Rahbari
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