20,000 Leagues under the Sea 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The United States government prepares an expedition to seek and destroy the suspected sea monster, enlisting the aid of Professor Aronnax of the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Aronnax theorizes that the creature is a giant narwhal. The expedition therefore includes harpooner Ned Land, a Canadian. After months of fruitless search, they sight an immense marine object. It turns out to be a giant submarine, which sinks them.

Only Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and Land survive, to be captured and taken on board the submarine Nautilus. There they meet Captain Nemo, who, because he will never release them, reveals to them the Nautilus’ wonders.

Aronnax discovers in Nemo a congenial fellow scientist but also a misanthrope who has vowed never again to set foot on inhabited land. At first Aronnax is fascinated by such wonders as scenes of the ocean from the submarine’s window, explorations of the sea bottom in diving gear, a funeral in an undersea coral cemetery, Atlantis by night, and an underwater volcanic explosion. Ned Land, however, grows moody and discontented, constantly planning escape.

When they are nearly trapped under ice at the South Pole, Aronnax agrees to flee at the next opportunity. The Nautilus then travels northward and, when approaching the coast of Norway, is drawn into a maelstrom. Aronnax, Conseil, and Land regain consciousness on an island, and the Nautilus has disappeared. Whether it escaped, they do not know.


Allotte de la Fuÿe, Marguerite. Jules Verne . Translated by Erik de Mauny. London: Staples Press, 1954. A biography of Verne by a member of his family which includes a commentary on his works, including the chapter “Nemo, Genius of the...

(The entire section is 408 words.)