“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite. ”
Be sure to check out this week’s podcast discussion!
The magic school bus of the nineteenth century!
The best thing that can be said about this classic novel is how incredibly imaginative it is.
It would have been more impressive if the pages and pages of lists of underwater life could have have been ditched and there been more substance to the story. Heck, even description! Listing what is scene in monotone and actually describing a scene are different things!
In defense of these lists, the main character, Arronax is a professor so the listing of latin names for all the sea flora and fauna are true to his character. Really though it just got really tedious as it wasn’t something that just happened once or twice but pretty much constantly.
The story itself is really simplistic; Arronax and his companions end up on the Nautilus after ending up stranded in the middle of the ocean and travel with Captain Nemo and his crew as they travel across the world, exploring different regions of underwater life.
Sadly, although there is much travelling and the story could be called an adventure but really only by the strictest definitions as it seems like nothing happens until the last quarter. Just moving from one locale to the next to record what is seen.
All that said, it is still possible to appreciate this book for what it is: highly imaginative and scientifically informed for its time period. It just does not seem to have aged very well in our opinion.
I am pretty sure there was something lost in translation when this book was translated from French to English. It was just so dry! The writing styles of classics are of course different than contemporary literature and I went into this prepared for that but jeez! Everything was just so monotone, it was difficult to stick with the story and I seriously wonder if this is at least in part due to the translation.
This book is a perfect example of why I don’t read classic novels. I can appreciate them for what they have contributed but I am just not a fan. I am interested in this story but if I have to dredge through all these lists (that very rarely pertain to the plot) then just don’t don’t include me. The only reason this book doesn’t get the lowest score is because of Jules Verne and his legacy.