Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
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  • ISBN-13: 9781593083021
  • ISBN: 1593083025
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble, Incorporated


Verne, Jules, Stade, George


From Victoria Blake's Introduction toTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea "There can never be another Jules Verne," wrote Arthur C. Clarke, author of2001: A Space Odysseyand a dedicated reader of Verne, "for he was born at a unique moment in time" (quoted in Teeters, p. 112). Verne was present at the birth of phosphorus matches, detachable collars, double cuffs, letterheads, and postage stamps. He saw the introduction of Loire river steamboats, railroads, trams, electricity, the telegraph, the telephone, and the phonograph. He was born into the age of Alexander Graham Bell, the Industrial Revolution, Karl Marx, Darwin, the colonization of Africa, and wars of independence around the world. In his lifetime the Suez Canal opened, the Hyatt brothers invented celluloid film, an electric generator was built in the Alps, the electromagnetic theory of light was proven, and scientists for the first time ordered elements by the number of their electrons, which paved the way for the modern periodic table. Science was, for Verne, humankind's greatest hope. At his best, he approached science with awe and naivete, making grandiose statements like, "When Science speaks, it behooves one to remain silent" (quoted in Evans, p. 48). Unlike many of his contemporaries, he did not consider the unknown aspects of the natural world beyond human understanding. "Let's reason this out," he wrote inThe Mysterious Island(Evans, p. 52), displaying his faith in science as the great, organizing force. Verne was an optimist; he believed in the ability of the human mind to perceive and to eventually gain mastery over earth's untamable mysteries through the discoveries of science. His books accurately predicted many modern-day inventions, including the fax machine, the automobile, pollution, and even chain bookstores. InTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, he predicted batteries, searchlights, and the tazzers used by America's police force. He foresaw the importance of electricity as a source of energy and suggested methods for air travel that later helped the first pilots get their feet off the ground. He anticipated the discovery of Darwin's "missing link" between humans and apes. He even provided the technical details of the first manned trip to the moon. When the Apollo 8 mission returned from its voyage, one of the astronauts wrote Verne's great-grandson a letter that praised the author's predictive abilities inFrom the Earth to the Moon: "Our space vehicle was launched from Florida, like Barbican's; it had the same weight and the same height, and it splashed down in the Pacific a mere two and a half miles from the point mentioned in the novel" (quoted in Teeters, p. 62). In the more than 150 years since Verne's first novel came off the press, seven generations of scientists and explorers have read his books. "It is Jules Verne who guides me," wrote Antarctic explorer Richard E. Byrd (Teeters, p. 50).Jean Cocteau re-created Phileas Fogg's round-the-world journey, completing his itinerary in eighty-two days. Walt Disney was a Verne reader. So was Robert Goddard, the American physicist known as the father of rocketry, who stated in 1919 that humans would one day put a man on the moon. Auguste Piccard, the Swiss physicist who in 1932 ascended 55,500 feet into the stratosphere in a balloon, and his son Jacques, who in 1960 descended to the deepest depression in the Pacific Ocean in a diving bell, read Verne. "Everybody read Jules Verne and felt that tremendous power to dream, which was part of his erudite and naive genius," wrote the author Ray Bradbury. "I consider myselVerne, Jules is the author of 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea ' with ISBN 9781593083021 and ISBN 1593083025.

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