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Readers: 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (Fast Track Classics) [Paperback]

Jules Verne


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Book Description

8 Dec 2006 0462000214 978-0462000213 1
A huge and dangerous sea monster is terrifying sailors. But Aronnax and his friends discover that the 'monster' is really the Nautilus, a submarine with a mysterious captain. Captain Nemo takes the three men on a miraculous journey beneath the oceans of the world - but there is no escape from the submarine.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish; 1 edition (8 Dec 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0462000214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0462000213
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 14.4 x 0.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,440,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DREADFUL TRANSLATION, UNRELIABLE NOTES 10 April 2005
By F. P. Walter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
A sorry example of the laziness and irresponsibility of many trade editors today -- and it's especially shameful in a publication targeted to students and youngsters.

First, the basic text is dreadful: though unidentified, it's the long-discredited translation signed by "Mercier Lewis" and rushed into print in 1872 by the London firm of Sampson, Low. As modern scholars have documented on numerous occasions, Verne's original French was politically censored, drastically abridged, couched in stilted Victorian prose, and riddled with hundreds of inane translating errors. Its clunky, antiquated English is something no American student could possibly enjoy ("I own my heart beat," says the narrator, who actually means, "I admit my heart was pounding"). As for the translating blunders, some are asinine beyond belief -- Verne's characters start a fire with a lentil (Verne: lens) . . . loosen bolts with a key (Verne: wrench) . . . and claim iron is lighter than water (Verne: the opposite, of course).

Are these obscure facts? Anything but. Over the past four decades, this translation's inadequacy has been bemoaned repeatedly in basic reference works (Taves & Michaluk's JULES VERNE ENCYCLOPEDIA), online (the Jules Verne Forum at jv.gilead.org.il), and in readily available MODERN translations of this novel (e.g., the paperback editions from Signet, Oxford, and the U.S. Naval Institute). What's more, not only has Simon & Schuster's current editorial staff shirked the most rudimentary homework, they're apparently too lazy even to double-check their OWN publishing files: as long ago as 1966, S & S issued a revised edition of the Mercier Lewis translation; they hired NYU expert Walter James Miller to correct and reword Lewis's text -- which, in a specially written preface, Miller denounced as a "botched up translation . . . slashed and slapdash." Lewis's renderings, he said, "bristle with technical errors and omit whole passages vital to the technical integrity, the character development, even the humor of the story."

In short, Simon & Schuster could easily have reprinted their own 1966 version, not ideal but vastly better than Lewis's original. Or, alternatively, they could have reprinted either of the other two English translations in the public domain, both superior in accuracy and completeness. But, these days, indolence and ignorance apparently rule in the halls of S & S.

So, though this Enriched Classics series boasts on its back covers about its "practical scholarship," the said scholarship, not surprisingly, often works out to be dismally unreliable. The "helpful notes" and "insightful commentary" can range from the useless to the ridiculous. On p. 425, the explanatory notes can only tell us that such sea creatures as tubipores, gorgones, and spondyles are "various kinds of marine life." Big help. (They're corals, sea fans, and oysters, folks.) On the other hand, when the notes attempt more, they're often worse: on p. 426, for instance, I was amazed to learn that porphitae and asterophytons are "igneous outcrops." Nooo!!! These aren't rocks, people, they're animals! (Jellyfish and starfish, for Lord's sake.)

If you're as astonished as I am that such bluff and nonsense is being palmed off on our kids as "scholarship," write S & S this week.

Meantime, what edition of 20,000 LEAGUES should you acquire? First, in addition to this Enriched Classics version, also avoid those other student editions (!) published by Scholastic, Tor, and Apple -- they don't identify it either, but they all blindly reprint this same hopeless 1872 Mercier Lewis translation. Fortunately, however, there are four sound paperback texts of 20,000 LEAGUES, all readily available, all immeasurably superior in accuracy, completeness, and readablility. For general readers the Bonner (Bantam) and Brunetti (Signet) translations are both worthwhile. For readers wanting an annotated edition, there are two good ones: Butcher's (Oxford), which is strong on the novel's genesis and manuscript record, and Miller's own illustrated retranslation (U.S. Naval Institute), which is strong on the marine biology -- and on which I myself collaborated. All are competitively priced, so there's no need to settle for something inferior.

By the way, the above-cited deficiencies may well be typical of this Enriched Classics collection as a whole -- I note that their edition of Dumas' MONTE CRISTO also features a seriously inadequate text. Students, parents, and teachers are warned to proceed with caution vis-à-vis the entire series.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Version of a Great Story is Garbage 24 Mar 2006
By D. Merchant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Shameful. To use a widely discredited translation when better, more accurate translations exist, and to have such horrendous errors in the notes is just shameful. There is absolutely no reason to reprint a discredited translation that is full of outrageous errors and huge omissions, and which "enriches" the text with completely erroneous notes. Abysmal. This butchered version of a great story deserves a negative five star rating. No school should purchase this edition. No library should have it on its shelves. And no individual should waste their hard earned money on this when better editions already exist, and when better editions can be easily and readily reprinted by the publisher, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. _Much_ better editions exist. Read the excellent reviews below by J. M. Margot and F. P. Walter to discover what editions you should be looking for.

And if you are a fan of Verne, or just a fan of quality publishing, please write Simon & Schuster, Inc., and tell them to replace this absolutely abysmal edition(especially since they have access to better translations):

Jack Romanos President and CEO
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-698-7000
Fax: 212-698-7099
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book! 24 Mar 2006
By J. M. Margot - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're going to read one of the great classics of literature-and you should-don't pick up this edition. It is a reprint of a version that dates back to the 1870s and was exposed more than 40 years ago for cutting nearly one-quarter of Verne's story and mistranslating much of the remainder. Its reappearance in this edition is all the more amazing considering Tor's status as a leading science fiction publisher, and the company's willingness to perpetrate this fraud on is many readers is truly stunning. If you want to truly get to know Verne's novel, pick up the elegant Naval Institute Press edition, in a modern, complete, updated translation, with commentary by the leading American Verne expert today, Walter James Miller. That book also comes with many of the artistic engravings that illustrated the original French first edition (no illustrations are to be found in the B&N Mercier reprint). Less attractive but more academic is the Oxford Classics version of Twenty Thousand Leagues. This review is posted on behalf of the North American Jules Verne Society by Jean-Michel Margot, president NAJVS.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 24 Nov 2009
By Lydia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
As an adventure story, there are few that can touch this classic. I remember reading through this book around 10 years old and how much I loved reading about all of the various life forms beneath the sea. I also credit this book for my fascination with all things aquatic.

There's a lot of criticism on all of the technical jargon included in this book and I don't really understand that. If this doesn't interest the reader it's simple to just skim over the information and or skip it altogether. It's not vital to the story, it just enriches it. But enrichment aside, the story does well standing on its own.

Jules Verne's interest in science is so incredibly apparent. He really was a man before his time. Everything had a plausible explanation (although I admit to not having much knowledge in the areas he was writing on).

His characters were rich and full of life. Nemo was deliciously mysterious throughout the entire length of the book. The Dr., his man servant and Ned all had their own distinct personalities.

My father recommended I read this book again (he actually wanted me to read the third in the trilogy - In Search of the Castaways being the second, and The Mysterious Island being the third) and I'm glad I did. So often people talk about the classics and if you haven't read one in a while it seems like the stories are remembered as dull and hard to read, but once again, as I dove back into this classic book, I was reminded of why I read so many of them as a young teenager.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! 6 Aug 2007
By M. Hargrave - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I purchased this book to read to my five year old son. It is a great adaptation and there are pictures on every three to four pages which keeps him interested in the book. Great illustrations! We are loving every minute of it and read 2-3 chapters a night!
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