Journey to the Center of the Earth Study Guide
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Chapter Summaries
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Themes
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Characters
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Analysis
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Critical Essays
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Questions & Answers
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Introduction
Journey to the Center of the Earth: Biography of Jules Verne
Introduction to Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth is a novel by French author Jules Verne. It was originally published in 1864 but was republished in 1867 with extensive revisions and enhancements. The novel combines Verne’s interest in scientific discoveries and theories with the growing public interest in science fiction. Of particular note is Verne’s dedication to developments in Victorian-era scientific theories, including the idea of a hollow Earth. Though modern readers may view the novel’s science as antiquated and improbable, contemporary readers viewed it as cutting-edge and, at least in some cases, informative.
The plot of the novel follows three explorers as they use volcanic tubes to, as the title suggests, journey to the center of the Earth. There, they find a strange and fantastical world that houses an underground ocean and living prehistoric creatures, among other phenomena. Verne details the various historical periods from which many of the plants and animals the explorers encounter derive. These details are seamlessly blended with a fast-paced adventure story, complete with near-death experiences and interpersonal conflict. Ultimately, the novel reinforces both the value of scientific discovery and the awesome power of nature, and Journey to the Center of the Earth remains a classic of the science fiction genre.
A Brief Biography of Jules Verne
Jules Verne (1824–1905) was a French author best known for his adventurous novels. Raised in Nantes in a respectable middle-class family, Jules was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps as a lawyer. When he moved to Paris as a young man, however, he drifted from his law studies and fell in with the city’s artistic circles, befriending Alexandre Dumas. He tried his hand at various literary genres, including plays, but he soon decided to settle down, marry, and find work in finance. Still, he desired to write, and in the late 1850s and early 1860s, he traveled and sought inspiration.
Verne finally found success with a trio of popular and acclaimed novels: Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872). The first two of these novels are notable for their pioneering use of science-fiction elements. Indeed, Verne is widely considered one of the foundational figures of science fiction. Verne’s merit as a literary artist has been questioned by critics and writers, but his reputation improved in the middle of the twentieth century as a result of renewed scholarly interest and improved translations.