πŸ“– Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne β­β­

Back in August last year, I took part in The Classics Club’s 24th Spin event, for which my result was to read the famous nautical adventure, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by the beloved French author, Jules Verne. Having previously loved Around the World in Eighty Days and enjoyed Journey to the Centre of the Earth as well, I was very happy with my result. 😁

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea begins in 1866 as several ships have had disastrous encounters with an unidentified ‘monster’ of the deep, that is now threatening international shipping. An expedition is launched on the US Navy’s frigate the Abraham Lincoln to hunt and destroy this menace, and onboard is the renowned French oceanographer Pierre Aronnax, and his unflappable assistant Conseil, to help identify what this monstrous creature could be.

However months of fruitless searching follows and when they finally grapple with their quarry, Aronnax, Conseil, and the Canadian harpooner Ned Land are thrown overboard in the attack. Where they discover that the ‘monster’ is actually a futuristic submarine, the Nautilus, and are taken aboard by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Thus begins a fantastical adventure across 20,000 leagues (nearly 50,000 miles) of the ocean, on a journey of discovery through undersea forests, coral graveyards, pearl beds, miles-deep trenches, and even the sunken ruins of Atlantis.

This novel of undersea exploration has been captivating readers ever since its first publication in 1869-1870 and I can see why. It is the quintessential adventure story, with action, danger, daring-do and fights, and yet it was also way ahead of its time! The Nautilus – powered by electricity, with batteries charged by seawater – is pretty mind-blowing even by today’s standard, so imagine reading about it back in the late 1800s! All of which Verne describes in a way we mere mortals can understand and believe, even my science averse mind coped. πŸ˜…

Then there Verne’s stunning descriptions of the flora and fauna below the water, which passes by the panoramic viewing window in the lounge, where our protagonists, Arronax, Conseil and Land spend most of their time when they are not allowed freedom to move around or leave the giant metal leviathan that they now call home or prison, depending how you look at it. My only niggle being when I was tired I could have done without Conseil’s odd habit of categorising every creature encountered into its species, subspecies and scientific description in big long swathes of text. πŸ™„

So while I didn’t love this as much as Around the World in Eighty Days, I did think Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was a jolly good adventure and a wonderful escape from the worries of 2020! For me, it only needed more charismatic leads, like Fogg and Passepartout, to lift it up on par. I have Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island on my Classics Club list, so I look forward to trying that next. Good read ⭐⭐

Now I’d love to hear from you: Have you read this? Or any of Jules Verne’s other adventures?

15 thoughts on “πŸ“– Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne β­β­

  1. Totally agree with your review – all those classifications lists did my head in! But once I got used to skimming past them, the other stuff was all very good. Like you, I preferred Around the World though – better story and more humour, I think. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of The Mysterious Island when you get to it – I’ve not read that one.

    1. Haha I very relieved to hear it wasn’t just me who got annoyed with the long classification lists, FF! πŸ˜… However, yeah, once you got used to skipping past them, this was a fun, escapist read. I am also looking forward to reading The Mysterious Island, but not sure when I will get to it yet.

  2. I’ve always loved the Nautilus as a concept since I was a kid, so I was surprised when I read this that I didn’t like it more! I did like it, it just didn’t blow me away. But I was glad I finally read it, and the movie is fun too. Fun fact when I was little Disney World had a 20,000 Leagues exhibit and you could go on the Nautilus- it’s gone now though, sadly. I haven’t read Mysterious Island but I’m fond of the movie.

    I had the same problem with the scientific descriptions- they took me out of the story at times.

    1. Aw the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea exhibit at Disney World sounds great, it is a shame it is gone now. I believe the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland Paris used to be Jules Verne themed too. I am also relieved to hear I wasn’t the only one struggling with those long scientific category details! πŸ˜…

  3. I haven’t read this, but I enjoyed Around the World in Eighty Days so I should really try something else by Jules Verne. I’m glad you liked this one – it does sound like wonderful escapism!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.