Alex's Reviews > Amazing Journeys: Five Visionary Classics: Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Circling the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, and Around the World in 80 Days

Amazing Journeys by Jules Verne
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Feb 22, 2012

bookshelves: reading-through-history, rth-lifetime

Here's a comparison of Walter's new translation with an older one I read a couple years back, by Quiet Vision Publishing. It describes early speculation on the nature of the thing that would turn out to be Nemo's Nautilus.

QV: "And in these disastrous times, when the ingenuity of man has multiplied the power of weapons of war, it was possible that, without the knowledge of others, a State might try to work such a formidable engine."

Walter: "In these catastrophic times when men tax their ingenuity ti build increasingly powerful aggressive weapons, it was possible that some nation, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, was testing out such a fearsome machine. The Chassepot rifle let to the torpedo, and the torpedo has led to this underwater battering ram, which in turn will lead to the world's putting its foot down. At least I hope so."

The first sentence is fairly close, though Walter reads marginally better. But that second sentence is missing altogether from the older translation. And it's good, isn't it? It adds character and makes the whole thing more fun. This is why translation is important, even for an author like Verne who isn't known for poetry. This Walter translation is less dry than the other.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Alex (new) - added it

Alex Plenty of Moby-Dick references. P. 332:
"Either Commander Farragut would slay the [supposed] narwhal, or the narwhal would slay Captain Farragut. No middle of the road for these two."

message 2: by Alex (new) - added it

Alex This translation is funnier than any Verne I've read before. Here's an example, describing one of the Nautilus' crew: "You sensed that his everyday conversation must have been packed with vivid figures of speech such as personification, symbolism, and misplaced modifiers." That sentence is entirely missing from the version I quote above.

message 3: by Alex (new) - added it

Alex So, up until chapter VIII the book can be read as a sort of brief version of Moby-Dick, yeah?

And when Nemo first appears, he invites comparisons to the Count of Monte Cristo: a mysterious, exotic man of unlimited resources who has sworn himself to be an enemy of mankind.

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