I am delighted to announce the publication of F. P. Walter’s translation of Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas: An Underwater Tour of the World .
The book, available now in hardcover, was typeset by me using two Fournier fonts which were designed during Verne’s lifetime, and the book sports the original 1871 illustrations by Alphonse-Marie de Neuville agus Édouard Riou. The two maps have been (rather painstakingly) re-set in English.
Jules Verne (1828–1905) was born in the Breton river town of Nantes, and had a lifelong passion for the sea. First as a Paris stockbroker, later as a celebrated author and yachtsman, he went on frequent voyages—to Britain, America, the Mediterranean. But the specific stimulus for this novel was an 1865 fan letter from a fellow writer, Madame George Sand. She praised Verne ’s two early novels Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) and Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), then added: “Soon I hope you’ll take us into the ocean depths, your characters travelling in diving equipment perfected by your science and your imagination.” Thus inspired, Verne created one of literature’s great rebels, a freedom fighter who plunged beneath the waves to wage a unique form of guerilla warfare.
This translation is a faithful yet communicative rendering of the original French texts published in Paris by J. Hetzel et Cie.—the hardcover first edition issued in the autumn of 1871, collated with the softcover editions of the First and Second Parts issued separately in the autumn of 1869 and the summer of 1870. Although prior English versions have often been heavily abridged, this new translation is complete to the smallest substantive detail.
The translator, F. P. Walter, is a long-standing member of the North American Jules Verne Society. He currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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