In 1873, people were amazed at how the railway system was changing the way they transported goods and brought themselves to far flung places. Today, we have planes that can cross oceans overnight. In 1873, if you send mail to another person in another country, you'd have to count days. Now, it only takes a few seconds to send emails to people from across the globe. In 1873, traveling around the world was a challenge. Now, it's recreation.
When Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days was published in 1873, it was revolutionary. One of the reasons people gravitated toward the book was to find out if the pair of Fogg and Passepartout could indeed traverse the globe in 80 days or even less. And regardless whether the British and French duo could travel from London to other countries and back, people knew that they would be reading an adventure story. Verne, around this time, has established himself a following, having written hugely successful novels A Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1871 and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea in 1872.
What hasn't changed though is man's pursuit of adventure. Rereading Around the World in 80 Days, I realized how exciting it is. Here is suspension of disbelief at its finest. You deny yourself the knowledge that everything in the novel has already been exceeded by the technology of the 21st century. You put yourself in the shoes of Fogg or Passepartout and go through each adventure.
Of course there are the usual cliches that accompany adventure stories such as this opus by Verne -- the damsel in distress, mistaken identities, a cat and mouse chase, and love reunited. I would definitely not be spoiling it to anyone if I mention that everything turn's out well at the novel's end. The ending hardly matters; it's the journey that makes this novel great.
The edition of Verne's Around the World in 80 Days that I've reread came from Michael, a fellow blogger. He's intending to have the book travel the world in 80 days, and this corner of the world where I live, the Philippines, is its first stop.
This book is now on its way to Sharon, a book blogger from Australia. The Philippines and Australia were not part of Fogg's destinations in the novel. I do wonder if this book will reach the same places as those in the novel (except for the US and the UK, of course). I can't wait to find out.
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