Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Around the World in 80 Days

writerinthenorth
Reader

Around the World in 80 Days

Postby writerinthenorth » Fri April 27th, 2012, 8:19 am

For some reason I had never before got round to reading this classic, nor seen any of the adaptations on screen, despite my enjoyment of other Verne works, especially 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' which has resonated with me since childhood. I am glad now that I saved this pleasure to savour it all the more today.

Like our hero, I was transported from start to finish of Phileas Fogg's incredible journey; before that, in fact, for his introduction by the author and his calm placing of a £20,000 wager against his friends in the Reform Club had me immediately engaged.

Verne's adroit use of point of view is one example of his masterful skills as story-teller. He never permits the reader Fogg's internal perspective on a situation - instead telling the story partly authorially and partly though Passepartout or Fix, fellow-passengers with opposing views of the protagonist. As a result we never lose the sense of Fogg as an enigma (note his name), never have any advance notice of his planning, while his ability to extemporise solutions to overcome seemingly impossible barriers is our constant surprise and delight.

Paradoxically, the less we know about him the more interesting and intriguing he becomes, and the stronger the bond we feel both for Fogg and those he protects. We can easily comprehend the hero-worship of Passepartout and the love interest of Aouda, for we share it.

Fogg has few compeers in English literature that I can think of, though it strikes me that Ian Fleming may have had something of Fogg in mind when he created the generally imperturbable and resourceful James Bond. Verne's creation, though, for me is the greater hero, and the more memorable.

Return to “Classics”