collage of bones, insects, a volcano, a dinosaur, and a skull

Journey to the Center of the Earth

by Jules Verne
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Is Journey to the Center of the Earth real?

No, Journey to the Center of the Earth is not based on real events. It is, however, inspired by the scientific theories and revelations of Verne's day.

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Journey to the Center of the Earth is not at all based on real events. In its day, the book was considered a "voyage extraordinaire," something quite close to a fantasy adventure. (It must be remembered that science fiction as modern readers know it was only just starting to develop...

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Journey to the Center of the Earth is not at all based on real events. In its day, the book was considered a "voyage extraordinaire," something quite close to a fantasy adventure. (It must be remembered that science fiction as modern readers know it was only just starting to develop in the nineteenth century, beginning with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in 1818.)

However, the novel was inspired by actual scientific interests and discoveries from Jules Verne's time. The theories of scientists such as Charles Darwin were making major waves in both the scientific world and the overall culture of the Victorian era by presenting strange new ideas that challenged the traditional Judeo-Christian view of the natural world and how human beings came to exist. Paleontology was also a major interest in the nineteenth century, hence the presence of prehistoric creatures in the subterranean world the main characters explore in Verne's novel.

Interestingly, it was originally assumed that Verne's novel would only hold interest for child readers, since the idea of a journey to the center of the earth seemed fantastical. However, Verne's commitment to the scientific knowledge of his day ensured the story would hold the attention of an adult readership as well.

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