20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Sterling Unabridged Classics Series)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Sterling Unabridged Classics Series)


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Originally published in 1870, Verne’s amazing undersea adventure is one of the earliest science fiction novels ever written. Since that time, generations of readers have plunged below the ocean’s waves with Captain Nemo and his first-ever submarine, The Nautilus. It’s a voyage of exploration and the imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402725999
Publisher: Sterling
Publication date: 10/28/2006
Series: Sterling Unabridged Classics Series
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 145,706
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Lexile: 1030L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jules Verne (1828-1905) used a combination of scientific facts and his imagination to take readers on extraordinary imaginative journeys to fantastic places. In such books as Around the World in Eighty Days, From the Earth to the Moon, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, he predicted many technological advances of the twentieth century, including the invention of the automobile, telephone, and nuclear submarines, as well as atomic power and travel to the moon by rocket.

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1828

Date of Death:

March 24, 1905

Place of Birth:

Nantes, France

Place of Death:

Amiens, France


Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A Shifting Reef

The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplainable occurrence which is undoubtedly still fresh in everyone's memory. Those living in coastal towns or in the interior of continents were aroused by all sorts of rumors; but it was seafaring people who were particularly excited. Merchants, shipowners, skippers and masters of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries and the various governments of both continents were deeply concerned over the matter.

Several ships had recently met at sea “an enormous thing,” a long slender object which was sometimes phosphorescent and which was infinitely larger and faster than a whale.

The facts concerning this apparition, entered in various logbooks, agreed closely with one another as to the structure of the object or creature in question, the incredible speed of its movements, the surprising power of its locomotion and the strange life with which it seemed endowed. If it was a member of the whale family, it was larger than any so far classified by scientists. Neither Cuvier, Lacépède, Dumeril nor Quatrefages would have admitted that such a monster could exist--unless they had seen it with their own scientists' eyes.

Taking an average of observations made at different times'and rejecting those timid evaluations which said the object was only two hundred feet long, and also putting aside those exaggerated opinions which said it was a mile wide and three miles long'one could nevertheless conclude that this phenomenal creature was considerably larger than anything at that time recognized by ichthyologists'if it existed at all.

But it didexist--there was no denying this fact any longer--and considering the natural inclination of the human brain toward objects of wonder, one can understand the excitement produced throughout the world by this supernatural apparition. In any case, the idea of putting it into the realm of fiction had to be abandoned.

On July 20, 1866, the steamer Governor Higginson of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Company had encountered this moving mass five miles east of the Australian coast. Captain Baker first thought he had sighted an unknown reef; he was even getting ready to plot its exact position when two columns of water spurted out of the inexplicable object and rose with a loud whistling noise to a height of a hundred and fifty feet. So, unless the reef contained a geyser, the Governor Higginson was quite simply in the presence of an unknown aquatic mammal, spurting columns of water mixed with air and vapor out of its blowholes.

A similar thing was observed on July 23 of the same year in Pacific waters, by the Christopher Columbus of the West India and Pacific Steam Navigation Company. This extraordinary creature could therefore move from one place to another with surprising speed, since within a space of only three days, the Governor Higginson and the Christopher Columbus had sighted it at two points on the globe separated by more than 2100 nautical miles.

Two weeks later and six thousand miles from this last spot, the Helvetia of the Compagnie Nationale and the Shannon of the Royal Mail Steamship Company, passing on opposite courses in that part of the Atlantic lying between the United States and Europe, signaled one another that they had sighted the monster at 42° 15' N. Lat. and 60° 35' W. Long. In this simultaneous observation they felt able to judge the creature's minimum length at more than 350 feet, since it was larger than both ships each of which measured 330 feet over-all. But the largest whales, the Kulammak and Umgullick that live in the waters around the Aleutian Islands, never exceed 180 feet in length, if that much.

These reports arriving one after the other, with fresh observations made on board the liner Le Pereire, a collision between the Etna of the Inman Line and the monster, an official report drawn up by the officers of the French frigate Normandie, and a very reliable sighting made by Commodore Fitz-James' staff on board the Lord Clyde, greatly stirred public opinion. In lighthearted countries, people made jokes about it, but in serious practical-minded countries, such as England, America and Germany, it was a matter of grave concern.

In every big city the monster became the fashion: it was sung in cafés, derided in newspapers and discussed on the stage. Scandal sheets had a marvelous opportunity to print all kinds of wild stories. Even ordinary newspapers--always short of copy--printed articles about every huge, imaginary monster one could think of, from the white whale, the terrible “Moby Dick” of the far north, to the legendary Norse kraken whose tentacles could entwine a five-hundred-ton ship and drag it to the bottom. Reports of ancient times were mentioned, the opinions of Aristotle and Pliny who admitted to the existence of such monsters, along with those of the Norwegian bishop, Pontoppidan, Paul Heggede and finally Mr. Harrington, whose good faith no one can question when he claims to have seen, while on board the Castillan in 1857, that enormous serpent which until then had been seen in no waters but those of the old Paris newspaper, the Constitutionnel.

It was then that in scientific societies and journals an interminable argument broke out between those who believed in the monster and those who did not. The “question of the monster” had everyone aroused. Newspapermen, who always pretend to be on the side of scientists and against those who live by their imagination, spilled gallons of ink during this memorable campaign; and some even spilled two or three drops of blood, after arguments that had started over sea serpents and ended in the most violent personal insults.

For six months this war was waged with varying fortune. Serious, weighty articles were published by the Brazilian Geographical Institute, the Royal Scientific Academy of Berlin, the British Association and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington; others appeared in the Indian Archipelago, in Abbé Moigno's Cosmos, in Petermann's Mittheilungen and in the science sections of all the important newspapers of France and other countries.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Copyright © by Jules Verne. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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20,000 Leagues under the Sea Sterling Unabridged Classics Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Tadjusc More than 1 year ago
20000 leagues under the sea is a tale about professor Aronnaux going on a sea mission to find a giant narwhal that can travel up to speeds of 25 knots and destroy boats like they are nothing. they found the giant narwhal and were chasing it until it turned upon then and threw Professor Aronnaux, Consiel, and Ned into the ocean. Then the large narwhal found them but it was not a narwhal but a cedar shaped boat that could sail underwater. They were brought into the underwater boat and they go on a fabulous adventure under the sea. I really liked this book because there was a lot of adventure and was a very interesting book to read. Also it was written before there were submarines so its cool that he predicted that. I would say that if you like adventure and science you should read this book because it is very interesting and is a very good novel to read.
Litgirl More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my son's home school reading class. He loves science class, so I thought he'd enjoy this story. He does. It's not easy to read. Jules Verne wasn't writing for children. But if the reader really sticks with it, it is so rewarding.
Ani_Na on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For reasons I cannot now comprehend, I checked this book out of my school library in second grade and read it all through class. Also for reasons I can't explain, I LOVED it. Which is why it has a five star rating, even though in all honest consideration it's probably not that great. I can't even be honest anymore; it's stuck to my memory like a twig between teeth, ever-present and slightly minty tasting. There are some very involved politics here, interesting from an anti-nuclear-war position. I was fascinated with the use of sea life for supplies as a child, and the imagined technology of the submarine has held up surprisingly well. If either of those things interest you, pick this book up. I'd also recommend it for anyone interested in older science-fiction, or for those reading through the Verne canon (of which I think this is the best). Otherwise, well, the five stars aren't as brilliant as they might appear.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The action of this book is slowed way down by excessive scientific description. But it was Ned Land's constant bloodthristiness for killing whatever life he found, wherever he found it (in one example, his desire to kill every kangaroo on an island), that killed this book for me. I just couldn't deal with ninteenth century ideals and views. If you ask me, not many young people are going to enjoy this. It's a valuable example of where we've come from, but with our oceans now threatened by pollution and overfishing, this account of the excesses of the past is just painful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For ages 11and up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book and i read it in two days i liked it so much!! However, it is quite a tricky read and i reccommend it to ages 11 and over
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book full of adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1) We are a no powers clan. Normal cats please. 2) All must use at least decent grammar. 3) Be active, and if you cannot come on for a long period of time for any reason, tell us in advance if possible. 4) Leave your bio here and come to the main camp! (2nd result)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
book report review “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is a great book in my opinion. It starts out with the world in wonder of a mysterious sea creature attacking and sinking many ships. In awe himself professor Aronax and his servant Cornelius would dare to try to find the creature if it was real. They join the ship called Abraham Lincoln where they travel abroad with Ned a master harpooner. For days they haven't found anything until one night they spotted the creature which attacked them. Ned threw his harpoon with great power but caused no damage to the creature. Then the Abraham was hit sending Professor Aronax and Ned to the ocean. His servant Cornelius went into the water to help them. They got on top of what they believe is a sear creature but finds out that is was a submarine disguise asa sea creature. Over the following chapters they meet the mysterious Captain Nemo. The book gives details of their exploration under the vast sea where they discover many secrets such as under water forests and the great lost city of Atlantis. The book also gives the travelers many problems that they will experience with man eating native, ice barriers in the south pole and battling giant squids using axes only. I believe the writer Jules Verne wanted his readers in excitement and awe of the sea. He creates a mood as if we were with the professor and his servant traveling and searching for the sea’s wonderful treasure of the deep secretes we are being kept away from. -zjs
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It is from another time. Reading it is like a time machine.
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Denise Hostetler More than 1 year ago
I literally just finished reading it. One of the best books out there!:)
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