Around the World in Eighty Days

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Around the World in Eighty Days
Verne Tour du Monde.jpg
Cover of the 1873 first edition
Author Jules Verne
Illustrator Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville and Léon Benett[2]
Country France
Language French
Series The Extraordinary Voyages #11
Genre Adventure novel
Publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel
Publication date
January 30, 1873[1]
Published in English
1873
Preceded by The Fur Country
Followed by The Mysterious Island

Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (roughly £1.6 million today) set by his friends at the Reform Club. It is one of Verne's most acclaimed works.

Plot summary[edit]

The story starts in London on Tuesday, October 1, 1872. Fogg is a rich English gentleman living in solitude. Despite his wealth, Fogg lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. Very little can be said about his social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club. Having dismissed his former valet, James Foster, for bringing him shaving water at 84 °F (29 °C) instead of 86 °F (30 °C), Fogg hires a Frenchman by the name of Jean Passepartout as a replacement.

At the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000 (equal to about £1.6 million today) from his fellow club members, which he will receive if he makes it around the world in 80 days. Accompanied by Passepartout, he leaves London by train at 8:45 P.M. on Wednesday, October 2, 1872, and is due back at the Reform Club at the same time 80 days later, Saturday, December 21, 1872.

The itinerary
London, United Kingdom to Suez, Egypt rail and steamer across the Mediterranean Sea 07 days
Suez to Bombay, India steamer across the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean 13 days
Bombay to Calcutta, India rail 03 days
Calcutta to Victoria, Hong Kong steamer across the South China Sea 13 days
Hong Kong to Yokohama, Japan steamer across the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean 06 days
Yokohama to San Francisco, United States steamer across the Pacific Ocean 22 days
San Francisco to New York City, United States rail 07 days
New York to London steamer across the Atlantic Ocean and rail 09 days
Total 80 days
Map of the trip
Map of the trip


Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, they are watched by a Scotland Yard detective named Fix, who has been dispatched from London in search of a bank robber. Because Fogg matches the vague description of the robber, Fix mistakes Fogg for the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix boards the steamer conveying the travellers to Bombay. Fix becomes acquainted with Passepartout without revealing his purpose. Fogg promises the steamer engineer a large reward if he gets them to Bombay early. They dock two days ahead of schedule.

After reaching India they take a train from Bombay to Calcutta. Fogg learns that the Daily Telegraph article was wrong — the railroad ends at Kholby and starts again 50 miles further on at Allahabad. Fogg buys an elephant, hires a guide, and starts toward Allahabad.

They come across a procession in which a young Indian woman, Aouda, is led to a sanctuary to be sacrificed by suttee the next day by Brahmins. Since the young woman is drugged with opium and hemp and is obviously not going voluntarily, the travellers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout takes the place of Aouda's deceased husband on the funeral pyre on which she is to be burned. During the ceremony he rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away. The twelve hours gained earlier are lost, but Fogg shows no regret.

The travellers hasten to catch the train at the next railway station, taking Aouda with them. At Calcutta, they board a steamer going to Hong Kong. Fix has Fogg and Passepartout arrested. They jump bail and Fix follows them to Hong Kong. He shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to again meet his travelling companion from the earlier voyage.

In Hong Kong, it turns out that Aouda's distant relative, in whose care they had been planning to leave her, has moved to Holland, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. Passepartout becomes convinced that Fix is a spy from the Reform Club. Fix confides in Passepartout, who does not believe a word and remains convinced that his master is not a bank robber. To prevent Passepartout from informing his master about the premature departure of their next vessel, Fix gets Passepartout drunk and drugs him in an opium den. Passepartout still manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg.

Fogg discovers that he missed his connection. He searches for a vessel that will take him to Yokohama, finding a pilot boat that takes him and Aouda to Shanghai, where they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there on the original boat. They find him in a circus, trying to earn the fare for his homeward journey. Reunited, the four board a steamer taking them across the Pacific to San Francisco. Fix promises Passepartout that now, having left British soil, he will no longer try to delay Fogg's journey, but support him in getting back to Britain to minimize the amount of his share of the stolen money that Fogg can spend.

In San Francisco they board a transcontinental train to New York, encountering a number of obstacles along the way: a massive herd of bison crossing the tracks, a failing suspension bridge, and the train being attacked by Sioux warriors. After uncoupling the locomotive from the carriages, Passepartout is kidnapped by the Indians, but Fogg rescues him after American soldiers volunteer to help. They continue by a wind powered sledge to Omaha, where they get a train to New York.

In New York, having missed the sailing of their ship, Fogg starts looking for an alternative to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He finds a steamboat destined for Bordeaux, France. The captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, whereupon Fogg consents to be taken to Bordeaux for $2000 (roughly $39,569 today) per passenger. He then bribes the crew to mutiny and make course for Liverpool. Against hurricane winds and going on full steam, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat from the captain and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.

The companions arrive at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, in time to reach London before the deadline. Once on British soil, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up—the actual robber was caught three days earlier in Edinburgh. However, Fogg has missed the train and returns to London five minutes late, certain he lost the wager.

Fogg apologises to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot support her. Aouda confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her. He calls for Passepartout to notify the minister. The following day, at the minister's, Passepartout learns that he is mistaken in the date, which he takes to be Sunday, December 22, but which is actually Saturday, December 21, because the party travelled eastward, gaining a day. The wager can still be won, but there is very little time left.

Passepartout hurries to inform Fogg, who reaches the Reform Club just in time to win the wager. Fogg marries Aouda and the journey around the world is complete.

Background and analysis[edit]

Around the World in Eighty Days was written during difficult times, both for France and for Verne. It was during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871) in which Verne was conscripted as a coastguard; he was having financial difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties); his father had died recently; and he had witnessed a public execution, which had disturbed him.[3] Despite all this, Verne was excited about his work on the new book, the idea of which came to him one afternoon in a Paris café while reading a newspaper (see "Origins" below).

The technological innovations of the 19th century had opened the possibility of rapid circumnavigation and the prospect fascinated Verne and his readership.[3] In particular three technological breakthroughs occurred in 1869-70 that made a tourist-like around-the-world journey possible for the first time: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in America (1869), the linking of the Indian railways across the sub-continent (1870), and the opening of the Suez Canal (1869).[3] It was another notable mark in the end of an age of exploration and the start of an age of fully global tourism that could be enjoyed in relative comfort and safety. It sparked the imagination that anyone could sit down, draw up a schedule, buy tickets and travel around the world, a feat previously reserved for only the most heroic and hardy of adventurers.[3]

Verne is often characterised as a futurist or science fiction author but there is not a glimmer of science fiction in this, his most popular work (at least in English).[3] Rather than any futurism, it remains a memorable portrait of the British Empire "on which the sun never sets" shortly before its peak, drawn by an outsider.[3] It is interesting to note that, as of 2006, there has never been a critical edition. This is in part due to the poor translations available, the stereotype of "science fiction" or "boys' literature". However, Verne's works were being looked at more seriously in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, with new translations and scholarship appearing. It is also interesting to note that the book is a source of common notable English and extended British attitudes in quotes such as, "Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty ... endured the discomfort with true British phlegm, talking little, and scarcely able to catch a glimpse of each other" as in chapter 12 when the group is being jostled around on the elephant ride across the jungle. In chapter 25, when Fogg is insulted in San Francisco, Detective Fix acknowledges that "It was clear that Mr. Fogg was one of those Englishmen who, while they do not tolerate dueling at home, fight abroad when their honor is attacked."

The closing date of the novel, 21 December 1872, was the same date as the serial publication.[3] As it was being published serially for the first time, some readers believed that the journey was actually taking place — bets were placed, and some railway companies and ship liner companies lobbied Verne to appear in the book.[3] It is unknown if Verne submitted to their requests, but the descriptions of some rail and shipping lines leave some suspicion he was influenced.[3]

Although a journey by balloon has become one of the images most strongly associated with the story, this iconic symbol was never deployed by Verne – the idea is briefly brought up in chapter 32, but dismissed, it "would have been highly risky and, in any case, impossible." However the popular 1956 movie adaptation Around the World in Eighty Days floated the balloon idea, and it has now become a part of the mythology of the story, even appearing on book covers. This plot element is reminiscent of Verne's earlier Five Weeks in a Balloon which first made him a well-known author.

Following Towle and d'Anver's 1873 English translation, many people have tried to follow in the footsteps of Fogg's fictional circumnavigation, often within self-imposed constraints:

Origins[edit]

The idea of a trip around the world within a set period had clear external origins and was popular before Verne published his book in 1872. Even the title Around the World in Eighty Days is not original. About six sources[3] have been suggested as the origins of the story, as follows:

Greek traveller Pausanias (c. 100 AD) wrote a work that was translated into French in 1797 as Voyage autour du monde ("Around the World"). Verne's friend Jacques Arago had written a very popular Voyage autour du monde in 1853. In 1869/70 the idea of travelling around the world reached critical popular attention when three geographical breakthroughs occurred: the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in America (1869), the linking of the Indian railways across the sub-continent (1870), and the opening of the Suez Canal (1869). In 1871 appeared Around the World by Steam, via Pacific Railway, published by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and an Around the World in A Hundred and Twenty Days by Edmond Planchut. Between 1869 and 1871, American William Perry Fogg went around the world describing his tour in a series of letters to The Cleveland Leader, titled Round the World: Letters from Japan, China, India, and Egypt (1872). In early 1870, the Erie Railway Company published a statement of routes, times, and distances detailing a trip around the globe of 23,739 miles in seventy-seven days and twenty-one hours.[4]

Another early reference comes from the Italian traveler Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri. He wrote a book in 1699 that was translated into French: Voyage around the World or Voyage du Tour du Monde (1719, Paris).[5] The novel documents his trip as one of the first Europeans to circle the world for pleasure rather than profit, using publicly available transportation. Gemelli Careri provides rich accounts of seventeenth-century civilization outside of Europe. These include Persia during the Ottoman Empire, Hindustan during the reign of Aurungzebe, the Chinese Lantern Festival and the Great Wall, and the native people of Meso-America. References to his books can be found in other historical publications like the Calcutta Review.

In 1872 Thomas Cook organised the first around-the-world tourist trip, leaving on 20 September 1872 and returning seven months later. The journey was described in a series of letters that were published in 1873 as Letter from the Sea and from Foreign Lands, Descriptive of a tour Round the World. Scholars have pointed out similarities between Verne's account and Cook's letters, although some argue that Cook's trip happened too late to influence Verne.[3] Verne, according to a second-hand 1898 account, refers to a Cook advertisement as a source for the idea of his book.[3] In interviews in 1894 and 1904, Verne says the source was "through reading one day in a Paris cafe" and "due merely to a tourist advertisement seen by chance in the columns of a newspaper.”[3] Around the World itself says the origins were a newspaper article. All of these point to Cook's advert as being a probable spark for the idea of the book.[3]

The periodical Le Tour du monde (3 October 1869) contained a short piece entitled "Around the World in Eighty Days", which refers to "140 miles" of railway not yet completed between Allahabad and Bombay, a central point in Verne's work.[3] But even the Le Tour de monde article was not entirely original; it cites in its bibliography the Nouvelles Annales des Voyages, de la Géographie, de l'Histoire et de l'Archéologie (August, 1869), which also contains the title Around the World in Eighty Days in its contents page.[3] The Nouvelles Annales were written by Conrad Malte-Brun (1775—1826) and his son Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun (1816—1889).[3] Scholars believe Verne was aware of the Le Tour de monde article or the Nouvelles Annales (or both), and consulted it — the 'Le Tour du monde even included a trip schedule very similar to Verne's final version.[3]

A possible inspiration was the traveller George Francis Train, who made four trips around the world, including one in 80 days in 1870. Similarities include the hiring of a private train and being imprisoned. Train later claimed "Verne stole my thunder. I'm Phileas Fogg."[3]

The book page containing the famous dénouement (page 312 in the Philadelphia - Porter & Coates, 1873 edition)[6]

Regarding the idea of gaining a day, Verne said of its origin: "I have a great number of scientific odds and ends in my head. It was thus that, when, one day in a Paris café, I read in the Siècle that a man could travel around the world in 80 days, it immediately struck me that I could profit by a difference of meridian and make my traveller gain or lose a day in his journey. There was a dénouement ready found. The story was not written until long after. I carry ideas about in my head for years – ten, or 15 years, sometimes – before giving them form."[3] In his lecture of April 1873 "The Meridians and the Calendar", Verne responded to a question about where the change of day actually occurred, since the international date line had only become current in 1880 and the Greenwich prime meridian was not adopted internationally until 1884.[3] Verne cited an 1872 article in Nature, and Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Three Sundays in a Week" (1841), which was also based on going around the world and the difference in a day linked to a marriage at the end.[3] Verne even analysed Poe's story in his Edgar Poe and His Works (1864).

Either the periodical 'Le Tour du monde or the Nouvelles Annales, W. P. Fogg, probably Thomas Cook's advert (and maybe his letters) would be the main likely source for the book.[3] Poe's story "Three Sundays in a Week" was clearly the inspiration for the lost day plot device.[3]

Literary significance and criticism[edit]

Select quotes:

  1. "We will only remind readers en passant of Around the World in Eighty Days, that tour de force of Mr Verne's—and not the first he has produced. Here, however, he has summarised and concentrated himself, so to speak ... No praise of his collected works is strong enough .. they are truly useful, entertaining, poignant, and moral; and Europe and America have merely produced rivals that are remarkably similar to them, but in any case inferior." (Henry Trianon, Le Constitutionnel, December 20, 1873).
  2. "His first books, the shortest, Around the World or From the Earth to the Moon, are still the best in my view. However, the works should be judged as a whole rather than in detail, and on their results rather than their intrinsic quality. Over the last forty years, they have had an influence unequalled by any other books on the children of this and every country in Europe. And the influence has been good, in so far as can be judged today." (Léon Blum, L'Humanité, April 3, 1905).
  3. "Jules Verne's masterpiece .. stimulated our childhood and taught us more than all the atlases: the taste of adventure and the love of travel. 'Thirty thousand banknotes for you, Captain, if we reach Liverpool within the hour.' This cry of Phileas Fogg's remains for me the call of the sea." (Jean Cocteau, Mon premier voyage (Tour du monde en 80 jours), Gallimard, 1936).
  4. "Leo Tolstoy loved his works. 'Jules Verne's novels are matchless', he would say. 'I read them as an adult, and yet I remember they excited me. Jules Verne is an astonishing past master at the art of constructing a story that fascinates and impassions the reader. (Cyril Andreyev, "Preface to the Complete Works", trans. François Hirsch, Europe, 33: 112-113, 22-48).
  5. "Jules Verne's work is nothing but a long meditation, a reverie on the straight line—which represents the predication of nature on industry and industry on nature, and which is recounted as a tale of exploration. Title: the adventures of a straight line ... The train.. cleaves through nature, jumps obstacles .. and continues both the actual journey—whose form is a furrow—and the perfect embodiment of human industry. The machine has the additional advantage here of not being isolated in a purpose-built, artificial place, like the factory or all similar structures, but of remaining in permanent and direct contact with the variety of nature." Pierre Macherey (1966).[7]

Adaptations and influences[edit]

The book has been adapted many times in different forms.

In games[edit]

In literature[edit]

In musicals[edit]

  • In 1946 Orson Welles produced and starred in Around the World, a musical stage version, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, that was only loosely faithful to Verne's original.
  • A musical version, 80 Days, with songs by Ray Davies of The Kinks and a book by playwright Snoo Wilson, directed by Des McAnuff, ran at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in San Diego from August 23 to October 9, 1988, receiving mixed responses from the critics. Davies's multi-faceted music, McAnuff's directing, and the acting were well received, with the show winning the "Best Musical" award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle.[8]
  • In 2013 a musical version "Around the World in 80 Days" with book and lyrics by Chris Blackwood and music by Piers Chater Robinson went on general release and has had productions across the globe. Published by IT&M Shows.

In theater[edit]

  • Mark Brown adapted the book for a five-actor stage production in 2001. It has been performed in New York, Canada, England, South Africa, and Bangladesh.[9]

Internet[edit]

  • Flightfox created a trip, "Around the World in 80 Hours" to see if flight experts could find flights following the same path as described in the book (for cheap).[10] The online travel company then wrote a fictional eBook based on the results of the contest.[11]

Onscreen[edit]

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

Sports[edit]

  • The Jules Verne Trophy was created as a challenge to circumnavigate the world under sail in less than 80 days. It was accomplished for the first time in 1993.

In other uses[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Fehrmann, A.: Die Reise um die Erde in 80 Tagen. URL last accessed 2006-12-23.
  2. ^ N.N.: Éditions Hetzel: Jules Verne - Cartonnages volumes simples: Le tour du monde en 80 jours. URL last accessed 2006-12-23.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x William Butcher (translation and introduction). Around the World in Eighty Days, Oxford Worlds Classics, 1995, Introduction.
  4. ^ The Kansas Daily Tribune, February 5, 1870.
  5. ^ Careri, Giovanni Francesco Gemelli; Noble, Eustache Le (1719). Voyage du Tour du Monde (1719, Paris). 
  6. ^ "TrueScans of Around the World in Eighty Days; Philadelphia - Porter & Coates, 1873". Truescans.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  7. ^ Macherey, Pierre (1966). Pour une théorie de la production littéraire. Maspero. 
  8. ^ Neu. "80 Days". Kinks.de. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  9. ^ "Mark Brown – Writer". epicurious.com. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ https://flightfox.com/contest/102501
  11. ^ https://flightfox.com/showcase/around-the-world-in-80-hours
  12. ^ "Cartoon Synopsis for An Indian Fantasy". 
  13. ^ http://www.mercurytheatre.info/mercurylog
  14. ^ BBC Radio 4 Extra - Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days - Episode Guide
  15. ^ Radio Drama Reviews Online - Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, adapted by Terry James
  16. ^ https://www.worldsoffun.com/online-fun/history

External links[edit]