7 responses

  1. storygal
    May 28, 2012

    I’ve only read one book by Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and that was such a long time ago. Mysterious Island, apart from being scientifically dated and puzzling in places, sounds like quite an adventure.

    Reply

    • Janet Sketchley
      May 28, 2012

      It’s a fun story, Carolyn. I read a lot of his other work growing up, but when I went to re-read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as an adult I found the technical references put me to sleep. Guess I’m getting lazy. I may try it again and just give myself permission to skip those parts.

      Reply

  2. Joachim Boaz
    May 28, 2012

    Be aware that at least 200 pages are missing from these early editions DESPITE claims that they are unabridged. The original French edition was substantially larger and a large portion of the social commentary was cut by the American publishers. I’ve read it in the original French a while back and was shocked at how much was missing (he’s much more satirical than one might think) THUS, the “political incorrectness” is a sort of satire of America (just look at the neat little pyramidal society — even an orangutan!) he’s created! The new (since 2000) editions contain the missing portions.

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  3. Joachim Boaz
    May 28, 2012

    Here’s the publication history. So, any of the newer ones will work — it’s all coming back (I read the new translation at least 8 or so years ago). My original one was from the 50s and contained the cuts.

    “In September 1875 Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searle published the first British edition of Mysterious Island in three volumes entitled Dropped from the Clouds, The Abandoned, and The Secret of the Island (195,000 words). In November, 1875 Scribners published the American edition of these volumes from the English plates of Sampson Low. The purported translator, W. H. G. Kingston, was a famous author of boys’ adventure and sailing stories who had fallen on hard times in the 1870s due to business failures, and so he hired out to Sampson Low as the translator for these volumes. However, it is now known that the actual translator of Mysterious Island and his other Verne novels was actually his wife, Agnes Kinloch Kingston, who had studied on the continent in her youth. The Kingston translation changes the names of the hero from “Smith” to “Harding”; “Smith” is a name often used by gypsies and not suitable for an English hero. In addition many technical passages were abridged or omitted and the anti-imperialist sentiments of the dying Captain Nemo were purged so as not to offend English readers. This became the standard translation for more than a century.

    No unabridged translations appeared until 2001 when the illustrated version of Sidney Kravitz appeared (Wesleyan University Press) almost simultaneously with the new translation of Jordan Stump published by Random House Modern Library (2001). Kravitz also translated Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson, published by the North American Jules Verne Society and BearManor Fiction in 2011.”

    Reply

    • Janet Sketchley
      May 28, 2012

      Thank you so much for all this information. I’ll definitely look for a complete version. And now I understand why one of the reviews I read referred to Cyrus Smith instead of Harding. It seemed an odd thing, to change his name.

      Reply

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