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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Where does the professor Lidenbrock teach?

Lidenbrock is a professor at the prestigious Johanneum Institution in Hamburg, Germany.

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Lidenbrock is a professor of mineralogy at the Johanneum Institution in Hamburg. He is a distinguished man of science who "burns the midnight oil" in pursuit of scientific truth. Hans is a little in awe of this man, who is so learned. The professor is able to classify hundreds of...

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Lidenbrock is a professor of mineralogy at the Johanneum Institution in Hamburg. He is a distinguished man of science who "burns the midnight oil" in pursuit of scientific truth. Hans is a little in awe of this man, who is so learned. The professor is able to classify hundreds of minerals by taste and smell, is in correspondence with the "great, learned and scientific men of the age," including Sir Humphry Davy and Captain Franklin, the arctic explorer, and is able to read all the "more important" languages.

Lidenbrock is a character in the mold of "professor as hero" that one finds in other books (Van Helsing in Dracula is another example, for instance). He is socially a bit awkward; his manners are rough, although he himself is of the upper class; and for him, the pursuit of knowledge is less an occupation than a kind of moral quest. Lidenbrock "stepped a yard at a time" and always seems as if he is about to punch someone—evidence of his constant passion for knowledge and impatience with those who would distract him.

Like the Icelandic alchemist Arne Saknussemm, Lidenbrock is the possessor of obscure and mysterious knowledge, but his status as "professor" legitimizes him. While the alchemists had to keep their knowledge secret, Lidenbrock's adventures underground are celebrated, and Lidenbrock's presentation to the Johanneum Institution is a means of legitimizing and publicizing his accomplishments.

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