AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS

 

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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, first 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 set by his friends at the Reform Club.

 

 

Map of the 80 day World trip Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne

 

Map of the 80 day World trip by Phileas Fogg

 

 

Background and analysis

 

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 money difficulties (his previous works were not paid royalties), recently his father had died, and he had witnessed a public execution which had disturbed him. However 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. 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). It was another notable mark in the end of an age of exploration and the start of an age of fully global tourism which 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. It is comparable in some respects today to civilian space tourism, a realm normally reserved for an elite professional few.

 

Verne is often characterized 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 speaking countries.) Rather than any futurism, it remains a memorable portrait of the British Empire "on which the sun never sets" at its very peak, drawn by an outsider. It is also interesting to note that, as of 2006, there has never been a critical edition of Around the World in Eighty Days. This is in part due to the poor translations available of his works, 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.

 

The closing date of the novel, 22 December, 1872, was also the same date as the serial publication. 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 actually lobbied Verne to appear in the book! It is unknown if Verne actually submitted to their requests, but the descriptions of some rail and shipping lines leave some suspicion he was influenced.

 

Although a journey by hot air balloon has become one of the images most strongly associated with the story, this iconic symbol was never deployed in the book by Verne himself - 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, there have been hundreds of publicity-seekers who have emulated Fogg's fictional circumnavigation, often within self-imposed constraints:

  • 1889 - Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in 80 days for her newspaper, the New York World. She managed to do the journey within 72 days.

  • 1903 – James Willis Sayre, a Seattle theatre critic and arts promoter, set the world record for circling the earth using public transportation exclusively, completing his trip in 54 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes.

  • 1908 - Harry Bensley, on a wager, set out to circumnavigate the world on foot wearing an iron mask.

  • 1988 - Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin took a similar challenge without using aircraft as a part of a television travelogue, called Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days.

  • 1993 - Present - The Jules Verne Trophy is held by the boat that sails around the world without stopping, and with no outside assistance in the shortest time.

 

Origins

 

The idea of a trip around the world within a set time frame 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 to Verne. About six sources have been suggested as the origins of the story:

 

Greek traveler 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. However in 1869-70 the idea of traveling around the world reached critical popular attention when three technological 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, an 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 1872 Thomas Cook organized 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 later 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. Verne, according to a second-hand 1898 account, refers to a Thomas Cook advertisement as a source for the idea of his book. In interviews in 1894 and 1904 Verne himself 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." Around the World itself says the origins was a newspaper article. All of these point to Cook's advert as being a probable spark for the idea of the book.

 

Further, 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 Alahabad and Bombay, a central point in Verne's work. 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. The Nouvelles Annales were written by Conrad Malte-Brun (1775-1826) and his son Victor Adolphe Malte-Brun (1816-1889). Scholars believe Verne was aware of either 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.

 

Another possible source is the traveler 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 his being imprisoned. Train later claimed "Verne stole my thunder. I'm Phileas Fogg."

 

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 eighty 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 dènouement [sic] ready found. The story was not written until long after. I carry ideas about in my head for years - ten, or fifteen years, sometimes - before giving them form." 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. 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. Verne even analyzed Poe's story in his Edgar Poe and His Works (1864).

 

In summary 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. In addition Poe's short story "Three Sundays in a Week" was clearly the inspiration for the lost day plot device.

 

 

Plot summary

 

The story starts in London on October 2, 1872. Phileas Fogg is a wealthy, solitary, unmarried gentleman with regular habits. The source of his wealth is not known and he lives modestly. He fires his former valet, James Forster, for bringing him shaving water two degrees too cold. He hires as a replacement Passepartout, a Frenchman of around 30 years of age.

 

Later that day in the Reform Club, he 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.

 

 

The proposed schedule

 

 

London to Suez

rail and steamer

7 days

Suez to Bombay

steamer

13 days

Bombay to Calcutta

rail

3 days

Calcutta to Hong Kong

steamer

13 days

Hong Kong to Yokohama

steamer

6 days

Yokohama to San Francisco

steamer

22 days

San Francisco to New York

rail

7 days

New York to London

steamer

9 days

 

total

80 days

 

 

Fogg accepts a wager for £20,000 from his fellow club members, which he will receive if he makes it around the world in 80 days. Accompanied by his manservant Passepartout, he leaves London by train at 8.45 p.m. on October 2, 1872, and thus is due back at the Reform Club at the same time 80 days later, on December 21.

 

Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, he is watched by a Scotland Yard detective named Fix, who has been dispatched from London in search of a bank robber. Because Fogg matches the description of the bank robber, Fix mistakes Fogg to be the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix goes on board of the steamer conveying the travelers to Bombay. During the voyage, Fix gets acquainted with Passepartout, without revealing his purpose.

 

Still on time, Fogg and Passepartout switch to the railway in Bombay, setting off for Calcutta, Fix now following them undercover. As it turns out, the construction of the railway is not totally finished, so they are forced to get over the remaining gap between two stations by riding an elephant, which Phileas Fogg purchases at the prodigious price of 2,000 pounds.

 

During the ride, they come across a suttee procession, in which a young Parsi woman, Aouda, is led to a sanctuary to be sacrificed the next day. Since the young woman is drugged with the smoke of opium and hemp and obviously not going voluntarily, the travelers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout secretly takes the place of Aouda's deceased husband on the funeral pyre, on which she is to be burned the next morning. During the ceremony, he then rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away.

 

The travelers then hasten on to catch the train at the next railway station, taking Aouda with them. At Calcutta, they finally board a steamer going to Hong Kong. Fix, who had secretly been following them, has Fogg and Passepartout arrested in Calcutta. But they jump bail and Fix is forced to follow them to Hong Kong. On board, he shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to meet again his traveling 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 there, has moved, likely to Holland, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Meanwhile, still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. He therefore 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. In his dizziness, Passepartout yet manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg.

 

Fogg, on the next day, discovers that he has missed his connection. He goes in search of a vessel which will take him to Yokohama. He finds a pilot boat which takes him and his companions (Aouda and Fix) to Shanghai, where they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they go on a search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there with the original connection. They find him in a circus, trying to earn his homeward journey.

 

Reunited, the four board on 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 rather support him in getting back to Britain as fast as possible (to have him arrested there).

 

In San Francisco, they get on the train to New York. During that trip, the train is attacked by Native Americans, who take Passepartout and two other passengers hostage. Fogg is now faced with the dilemma of continuing his tour, or going to rescue Passepartout. He chooses the latter, starting on a rescue mission with some soldiers of a nearby fort, who succeed in freeing the hostages. To make up for the lost time, Fogg and his companions hire a sledge, which brings them to Omaha, Nebraska, where they arrive just in time to get on a train to Chicago, Illinois, and then another to New York. However, reaching New York, they learn that the steamer for Liverpool they had been trying to catch has left a short time before.

 

On the next day, Fogg starts looking for an alternative for the crossing of the Atlantic. He finds a small steam boat, destined for Bordeaux. However, the captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, wherupon Fogg consents to be taken to Bordeaux. On the voyage, he bribes the crew to mutiny and take course for Liverpool. Going on full steam all the time, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat at a very high price from the captain, soothing him thereby, and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.

 

The companions arrive at Queenstown, Ireland, in time to reach London via Dublin and Liverpool before the deadline. However, once on British soil again, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up--the actual bank robber had been caught several days earlier in Liverpool. In response to this, Fogg, in a rare moment of impulse, punches Fix, who immediately falls to the ground. However, Fogg has missed the train and returns to London five minutes late, assured that he has lost the wager.

 

In his London house the next day, he apologizes to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot financially support her. Aouda suddenly confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her, which he gladly accepts. He calls for Passepartout to notify the reverend. At the reverend's, Passepartout learns that he is mistaken in the date, which he takes to be Sunday but which actually is Saturday due to the fact that the party traveled east, thereby gaining a full day on their journey around the globe, by crossing the International Date Line.

 

Passepartout hurries back to Fogg, who immediately sets off for the Reform Club, where he arrives just in time to win the wager. Thus ends the journey around the world.

 

 

Jules Verne's - Around the World in Eighty Days, Tour du Monde 80 Jours

 

Jules Verne's - Around the World in Eighty Days

Tour du Monde 80 Jours

 

 

Literary significance and criticism

 

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 summarized 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. But 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 out 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 pst 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).

 

 

Allusions/references from other works

 

  • In 1988 Michael Palin attempted to duplicate Fogg's journey in a BBC documentary miniseries called Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days, ultimately returning to London with mere hours to spare.

 

 

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

 

The book has been adapted many times for feature films and television.

  • A 1919 silent black and white parody by director Richard Oswald didn't disguise its use of locations in Germany as placeholders for the international voyage; part of the movie's joke is that Fogg's trip is obviously going to places in and around Berlin. There are no remaining copies of the film available today.

  • The best known version was released in 1956, with David Niven and Cantinflas heading a huge cast. Many famous performers play bit parts, and part of the pleasure in this movie is playing "spot the star". The movie earned five Oscars, out of eight nominations. See Around the World in Eighty Days for details.

  • 1963 saw the release of The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze. In this parody, the Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Joe DeRita) are cast as the menservants of Phileas Fogg III (Jay Sheffield), great-grandson of the original around-the-world voyager. When Phileas Fogg III is tricked into replicating his ancestor's feat of circumnavigation, Larry, Moe, and Curly-Joe dutifully accompany their master. Along the way, the boys get into and out of trouble in typical Stooge fashion.

  • In 1983 the basic idea was expanded to a galatic scope in Japan's Ginga Shippu Sasuraiger, where a team of adventurers travel through the galaxy in a train-like ship that can transform into a giant robot. The characters are traveling to different planets in order to return within a certain time frame and win a bet.

  • A 1989 three-part TV mini-series starred Pierce Brosnan as Fogg, Eric Idle as Passepartout, Peter Ustinov as Fix and several TV stars in cameo roles, including Patrick Macnee and Christopher Lee as members of the Reform Club, Robert Morley and Roddy McDowall as officials of the Bank of England, John Hillerman, Jack Klugman, Darren McGavin, Henry Gibson and John Mills. The heroes travel a slightly different route than in the book and the script makes several contemporary celebrities part of the story who were not mentioned in the book, such as Sarah Bernhardt, Louis Pasteur, Jesse James, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Queen Victoria.

  • In 2001 the story was adapted for the stage by American playwright Mark Brown. In what has been described as "a wildly wacky, unbelievably creative, 90-miles-an-hour, hilarious journey" this award winning stage adaptation is written for five actors who portray thirty-nine characters.

  • The story was again adapted for the screen in 2004 starring Jackie Chan as Passepartout and Steve Coogan as Fogg. This version is a parody of the other Around the World in 80 Days films loosely based on Jules Verne's story. It makes Passepartout the hero and the thief of the Bank's treasure. Fogg's character is an absent-minded crackpot inventor who bets with a rival scientist that he can travel the world with (then) modern means of transportation. Like the 1919 version, This film was also filmed in Berlin, but tried to hide it this time: The Gendarmenmarkt's German Cathedral was redressed as the Bank of England and several other locations in and around the city were used as historic London.

  • Several animated films and cartoon series were made based on Verne's book.

    • An Indian Fantasy Story is an unfinished French/English co-production from 1938, featuring the wager at the Reform Club and the rescue of the Indian Princess. It was never completed as a full feature film.

    • Around the World in 79 Days, a serial segment on the Hanna-Barbera show The Cattanooga Cats from 1969 to 1971.

    • Around the World in 80 days from 1972 by Canadian studio Rankin-Bass with Japanese Mushi productions as part of the Festival of Family Classics series.

    • A one-season cartoon series Around the World in 80 days from 1972 by Australian Air Programs International.

    • Around the World with Willy Fog by Spanish studio BRB Internacional from 1981 with a second season produced in 1993. This series depicts the characters as talking animals and takes several liberties with the original story, but still remains faithful to the basic ideas. This show has gained a cult following in Britain, Germany and Spain. The first season is "Around the World in 80 Days", and the second season is "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"; all three books are by Jules Verne.

    • Tweety's High Flying Adventure is a direct-to-video cartoon by Warner Brothers from 2000 starring the Looney Tunes characters. It takes a great many liberties with the original story, but the central idea is still there - indeed, one of the songs in this film is entitled Around the World in Eighty Days. This movie frequently appears on various US-based cable TV networks.

    • Around the World in 80 Narfs is a Pinky and the Brain episode where the Brain claims to be able to make the travel in less than 80 days and the Pompous Explorers club agrees to make him their new president. With this, the Brain expects to be UK's new Prime Minister, what he considers back at that time, the fastest way to take over the world.

 

 

Cultural references

There are at least four board games by this name [1].

 

 

REFERENCES and LINKS

 

 


 

 

 

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

 

Two European teams are now planning to try and set world navigation records in a solar powered boat, a notable effort as far as Jules Verne is concerned, since the eventual target is to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or less.  The first team is from the United Kingdom, led by Nelson Kruschandl.  His vessel is called Solar Navigator.  The development of this project has been mostly in the backyard and on local Sussex waters.  

 

The second and latest team to decide to go for it as of March 16 2006, are PlanetSolar, a Swiss/French team made up of 15 persons, 11 concerned with the boat and expedition directly and 4 on a sponsorship committee.

 

THE BOATS

 

 

Solar powered trimaran concept drawing

 

 

PlanetSolar - solar powered trimaran

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS:

 

 


 

 

This website is Copyright © 1999 & 2007  NJK.   The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. All rights reserved.  All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged.       Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.

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