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Subject: Best Version of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? rss

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Sam Cook
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As a big fan of solo games, I'm getting amped up for Nemo's War 2nd edition. The preview pictures are looking great!

Anyway, I thought it would be neat to read the source material sometime between now and when it finally comes out, but I've heard mixed things about certain translations.

This version is supposed to be good, and it's free on Amazon kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084A6N3Q/ref=pe_385040_117923520_...
I don't have a tablet to read it on though

Does anyone else have any other recommendations of a good version?
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Christopher Taylor
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I used this one:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/164

I would be interested to hear about the quality of that version and other versions.

Neat topic.
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Bob Loblaw
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This might help
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Robert Forrest
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I listened to one of the versions on Librivox, though I don't remember which. Really enjoyed it.
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Ian Wakeham
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The original 19th century translation by Lewis Mercier is generally frowned upon. You can recognise it (or versions of it) by the opening words:
"The year 1866 was signalized [or signalised] by a remarkable incident..."

See the Wikipedia entry for information about the more well known translations. Also see this page for discussions of various Jules Verne English translations.

The one mentioned by Chris above is probably a version of Mercier's.

An alternative on Project Gutenberg is Frederick Walter's 1991 translation, which is probably your best bet, other than buying one of the later translations mentioned in the Wikipedia article. You can also find this version on other websites.

Personally I've read the William Butcher translation which I would recommend.

Also note the title of the book. The French is "Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers". Some translations use "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea" and others "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas". Obviously "Les Mers" makes more sense based on the French plural (and the adventures in the novel).

And yet others also use digits ("20,000") in place of words ("Twenty Thousand") used in the French.
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Alan Emrich
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That is also the one I used. Also, I went with the modern and less-confusing variation of the title, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas" (plural "seas" -- so people don't confuse it with depth).

Alan Emrich
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Mike Hoyt

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OK, I'll admit it. I read the children's abridged version back when I was a child, and decided I should reread the full novel in preparation for the game.

And I was bored out of my mind with the endless descriptions of the zoology. Pages and Pages of descriptions of fish and plants. At least I think that is what was being described, I don't even know. There were little snippets of an adventure story hidden behind the walls of scientific text. And virtually nothing about an anti-Imperialism agenda.

Looking forward to the game, but willing to say I found the book a painful slog.
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Sam Cook
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blockhead wrote:
OK, I'll admit it. I read the children's abridged version back when I was a child, and decided I should reread the full novel in preparation for the game.

And I was bored out of my mind with the endless descriptions of the zoology. Pages and Pages of descriptions of fish and plants. At least I think that is what was being described, I don't even know. There were little snippets of an adventure story hidden behind the walls of scientific text. And virtually nothing about an anti-Imperialism agenda.

Looking forward to the game, but willing to say I found the book a painful slog.
This is sort of why I created the thread, since I heard that some of the more common translations are just crummy. Maybe they all have bland zoological descriptions though, I don't know! I have never actually read it myself.
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David Boeren
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I decided to download the version listed in the first post and I'm working my way through it now.

It's not that the biology descriptions are bland I think, but there are an awful LOT of them. Sometimes I just feel like I need to skip a half page here and there to get past a list of species names with no real story details.
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Alan Emrich wrote:
Quote:
That is also the one I used. Also, I went with the modern and less-confusing variation of the title, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas" (plural "seas" -- so people don't confuse it with depth).

Alan Emrich
So it's supposed to be Seas or Sea? Because the cover box art right now says Sea.
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Alan Emrich
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So it's supposed to be Seas or Sea? Because the cover box art right now says Sea.
The box cover isn't final. That's a mock-up. We'll correct that...

Alan Emrich
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Nick Bolton
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I enjoyed reading the 1879 translation by Henry Frith. This was the first English language version published in London & New York and how the novel was first experienced by English and American readers.

It may not be as accurate as modern translations, but is less bland and the (sometimes archaic) language gives a real sense of the period.

It's been out of print for ages, but you can now read it as part of "Jules Verne: Three Novels" published by Everyman's Library in 2013.
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ST Gooi
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The Best Version so far...

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Bindingaperback

Published:September 24, 1993 by US Naval Institute
http://www.usni.org/store/books/fiction/20000-leagues-under-...

By Jules Verne
(Author)
Translated by Walter James Miller & Frederick Paul Walter

For the past 120 years, readers of English have known only a poor imitation of Jules Verne's classic French novel Vingt Mille Lieues Sous les Mers and consequently relegated the writer to the category of a "boy's author". Since 1873 the standard English version has been Lewis Mercier's mangled "translation," a work that's filled with errors, mistranslations, and bogus additions, and missing nearly a quarter of Verne's original text.

Now, thanks to the life-long efforts of two Verne scholars, the English-speaking world, at last, has access to a definitive translation, the only English version based solely on the level of literary artist and scientific visionary, a category he has always enjoyed in Europe and Russia.

Mercier's act of literary vandalism went unnoticed until 1965, when New York University English professor Walter Miller discovered the missing text and began the restoration of the Verne masterpiece. After nearly thirty years of work, including rigorous examinations of his translation by experts in marine technology and biology, Miller teamed that Frederick Paul Walter in 1992 to create this landmark scientific and literary achievement.

Restored to the volume along with the original woodcut illustrations are the entertaining and often prescient drams of Captain Nemo, widely considered the prototypical science-fiction character. In this novel alone Verne has anticipated submarine diving planes, scuba gear, underwater laboratories, and marine ecological disasters. He also inspired large-scale underwater mining and farming of flora and fauna, and electricity from thermoclines, all currently in development.

Restoration of these visionary ideas and some twenty-three percent of the original text is certain to elevate Verne's standing in American scientific and literary circles.


Product Details

Subject: Fiction
Paperback : 424 pages
Illustrations: 45 illustrations
Publisher: Naval Institute Press (September 24, 1993)
ISBN-10: 0870216783
ISBN-13: 9780870216787
Product Dimensions: 7 X 10 in
Shipping Weight: 25.6 oz
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Florent Leguern Conciergerie Easylife
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blockhead wrote:
OK, I'll admit it. I read the children's abridged version back when I was a child, and decided I should reread the full novel in preparation for the game.

And I was bored out of my mind with the endless descriptions of the zoology. Pages and Pages of descriptions of fish and plants. At least I think that is what was being described, I don't even know. There were little snippets of an adventure story hidden behind the walls of scientific text. And virtually nothing about an anti-Imperialism agenda.

Looking forward to the game, but willing to say I found the book a painful slog.
One has to keep in mind what these books meant to the author : they were voyages, and odes to science and discovery. It was meant to bring readers to far reaches of the world without leaving their couch.

So I agree that the books can sometimes seem like a drag, but when you immerse yourself (pun more or less intended) in the narrative and the context of the period the book was written, it helps at least understand the book.

I don't know if the game carries a lot of anti-imperialism,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
but that view associated with Captain Nemo probably comes from the novel Mysterious Island where it is more widely explained.
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Dudley Albrecht
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Anti Imperalism plays a major role in the game. It one of the paths to victory in the game.
I second the Walter translation:The Mercier translation made huge cuts to Verne's text, and is generally poorly done. In fact all of Mercier's translations should be avoided.
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Ian Cooper
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I agree with ST Gooi and Dudley Albrecht. Walter's translation is complete and very readable. However, it is still full of descriptions of aquatic life. Personally, I found these segments easier to read in this version (but that might be more a factor of my having matured since I tried to read the book years ago). I read this version a couple of years ago and it's much better than the version I read decades ago as a teenager. The only problem with it is that it's not available in hardcover.
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Rich Dodgin
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Many, many thanks for this thread and all its contributors.

I played my first game of Nemo's War last night and today decided to order a copy of the book.

Unfortunately, I ordered a copy of the original English translation (by Mercier Lewis) as I had no idea there were different versions and issues with his translation.

Having read this thead, I have now cancelled that order and instead ordered a copy of the William Butcher translation.

Thanks again folks
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Christopher Taylor
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Found a new version here:

https://standardebooks.org/ebooks/jules-verne/twenty-thousan...

I prefer it to the Gutenberg version.
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Al Wilson
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anarchy wrote:
Found a new version here:

https://standardebooks.org/ebooks/jules-verne/twenty-thousan...

I prefer it to the Gutenberg version.
Nice! Thanks for the heads up!
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