Shocking his stodgy colleagues at the exclusive Reform Club, enigmatic Englishman Phileas Fogg wagers his fortune, undertaking an extraordinary and daring enterprise: to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. With his French valet Passepartout in tow, Verne’s hero traverses the far reaches of the earth, all the while tracked by the intrepid Detective Fix, a bounty hunter certain he is on the trail of a notorious bank robber.
About the Author
Jules Gabriel Verne was born in the seaport of Nantes, France, in 1828 and was destined to follow his father into the legal profession. In Paris to train for the bar, he took more readily to literary life, befriending Alexander Dumas and Victor Hugo, and living by theatre managing and libretto-writing. His first science-based novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was issued by the influential publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel in 1862, and made him famous. Verne and Hetzel collaborated to write dozens more such adventures, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1869 and Around the World in 80 Days in 1872. In later life Verne entered local politics at Amiens, where had had a home. He also kept a house in Paris, in the street now named Boulevard Jules Verne, and a beloved yacht, the Saint Michel, named after his son. He died in 1905.
Date of Birth:February 8, 1828
Date of Death:March 24, 1905
Place of Birth:Nantes, France
Place of Death:Amiens, France
Education:Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris
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Excerpted from "Around the World in Eighty Days"
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 In which Phileas Fogg and Passepartout accept each other, the one as master, the other as man 1
Chapter 2 In which Passepartout is convinced that he has at last found his ideal 7
Chapter 3 In which a conversation takes place which seems likely to cost Phileas Fogg dear 12
Chapter 4 In which Phileas Fogg astounds Passepartout, his servant 21
Chapter 5 In which a new species of funds, unknown to the moneyed men, appears on 'Change 26
Chapter 6 In which Fix, the detective, betrays a very natural impatience 30
Chapter 7 Which once more demonstrates the uselessness of passports as aids to detectives 36
Chapter 8 In which Passepartout talks rather more, perhaps, than is prudent 40
Chapter 9 In which the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean prove propitious to the designs of Phileas Fogg 45
Chapter 10 In which Passepartout is only too glad to get off with the loss of his shoes 51
Chapter 11 In which Phileas Fogg secures a curious means of conveyance at a fabulous price 58
Chapter 12 In which Phileas Fogg and his companions venture across the Indian forests, and what ensued 68
Chapter 13 In which Passepartout receives a new proof that fortune favours the brave 77
Chapter 14 In which Phileas Fogg descends the whole length of the beautiful valley of the Ganges without ever thinking of seeing it 85
Chapter 15 In which the bag of bank-notes disgorges some thousands of pounds more 93
Chapter 16 In which Fix does not seem to understand in the least what is said to him 101
Chapter 17 Showing what happened on the voyage from Singapore to Hong Kong 108
Chapter 18 In which Phileas Fogg, Passepartout, and Fix go each about his business 115
Chapter 19 In which Passepartout takes a too great interest in his master, and what comes of it 121
Chapter 20 In which Fix comes face to face with Phileas Fogg 130
Chapter 21 In which the master of the "Tankadere" runs great risk of losing a reward of two hundred pounds 138
Chapter 22 In which Passepartout finds out that, even at the antipodes, it is convenient to have some money in one's pocket 148
Chapter 23 In which Passepartout's nose becomes outrageously long 156
Chapter 24 During which Mr. Fogg and party cross the Pacific Ocean 164
Chapter 25 In which a slight glimpse is had of San Francisco 172
Chapter 26 In which Phileas Fogg and party travel by the Pacific Railroad 180
Chapter 27 In which Passepartout undergoes, at a speed of twenty miles an hour, a course of Mormon history 187
Chapter 28 In which Passepartout does not succeed in making anybody listen to reason 195
Chapter 29 In which certain incidents are narrated which are only to be met with on American railroads 205
Chapter 30 In which Phileas Fogg simply does his duty 214
Chapter 31 In which Fix the detective considerably furthers the interests of Phileas Fogg 223
Chapter 32 In which Phileas Fogg engages in a direct struggle with bad fortune 230
Chapter 33 In which Phileas Fogg shows himself equal to the occasion 235
Chapter 34 In which Phileas Fogg at last reaches London 245
Chapter 35 In which Phileas Fogg does not have to repeat his orders to Passepartout twice 249
Chapter 36 In which Phileas Fogg's name is once more at a premium on 'Change 256
Chapter 37 In which it is shown that Phileas Fogg gained nothing by his tour around the world, unless it were happiness 261
Reading Group Guide
1. Having been born into a family that had made their living from the sea, Jules Verne spent his early years in a seaport town. When he was still young, Verne himself became a cabin boy on a merchant ship. In what ways do you think these elements of the author’s own life may have influenced Around the World in Eighty Days?
2. Verne became very involved with theater while studying law in Paris and is the author of many plays. What elements in this novel do you think came out of Verne’s theatrical experiences? After Eighty Days was published, Verne received many requests to dramatize the work. Do you think the book has particularly theatrical elements that would lead to its adaptation as a play?
3. Around the World in Eighty Days is considered one of the most popular adventure novels of all time. What do you think of this characterization and how would you compare it to contemporary adventure novels and films? What elements of the adventure genre have changed over time, and where do you think today’s adventure authors owe a debt to Verne?
4. Although the story begins in London, it eventually spans the entire globe. Despite the international setting, this book is distinctly British in many ways. Why might Verne have chosen a protagonist that is so quintessentially British, while the author himself was French?
5. Verne had an avid interest in science, particularly geology and geography, and was somewhat of an inventor. After having read Around the World in Eighty Days, does it surprise you that Verne is considered by many to be the father of science fiction? Where do you think Verne’s scientific expertise adds to the story?
6. For Verne, the world is shrinking; exploration has given way to tourism and imperialism. In his Introduction, Bruce Sterling argues that comments on globalization in Eighty Days are particularly relevant today. Would you agree? What evidence can you find to support this, and what lessons do you think we can learn from this novel today?
7. In many ways, Verne’s tale is one about the future, and many of his ideas have come to pass. Now that it is relatively easy to go around the world in eighty days, why is this tale still entertaining and relevant?
8. Many of the characters in the novel have names that in some way illuminate their roles. Why do you think Verne chose to call his hero Fogg, the detective Fix, and the assistant Passepartout, which means skeleton key in French?
9. Why do you think the hero, the mysterious Phileas Fogg, accepts the bet to travel the globe in eighty days?
10. When the book was written, the Parsee Indian Aouda represented the unknown and the exotic, but in many ways she is the character that the modern reader finds most familiar. Do you think this is true? In what ways is she now more modern than many of the other characters?
11. The precise and very British Phileas Fogg and his valet, the comic and very French Passepartout, are strikingly different characters. In what ways do their differences help to elucidate their individual character traits? Why does Verne include this relationship? Most of the time Passepartout is more a hindrance to his employer than helpful. Why do you think Fogg keeps him? In what ways does he serve to advance the plot, particularly with Aouda?
12. In many ways, Fogg’s travels are more than just a race around the world but a quest, one in which the hero returns somehow transformed. Do you think Fogg’s character is changed when he returns to London at the end of the challenge?
13. At the conclusion of the novel, the narrator asserts that Phileas Fogg in his journey has gained nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men! Verne seems to be making the point that love and human relationships are more important than winning bets or other material gains. Do you think that the rest of the novel would support this assertion? If not, why might Verne have included it?