This period of enforced confinement gives us plenty of time to read the books that we have accumulated for months without ever having found the time or the inclination to open.

For my part, I have not yet found the courage to tackle the Capital and Ideology of Thomas Piketty, but I intend to get down to it to feed my thinking in the debate on “the world after”. While waiting and to escape a little beyond the prescribed daily walks, I picked up from my library a classic of the adventure novel: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne. You see, you already forgot about confinement.

Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, an underwater odyssey

In this world-famous book, Jules Verne tells us about the incredible odyssey of the Nautilus across the seas of the globe. The main character of the novel, who is also the narrator, is a French marine biologist named Pierre Aronnax. At the beginning of the story, he is in New York with his assistant Council, when he hears of an expedition to capture a mysterious giant cetacean. Driven by curiosity, he embarked aboard the Abraham Lincoln, where he meets Ned Land, a formidable Canadian harpooner. After a few days of travel, the adventurers manage to locate the sea monster, but after a violent fight, the three men find themselves in the sea and fall into unconsciousness. When they wake up, they are amazed to discover that the so-called “sea monster” is in fact an incredible submersible called the Nautilus. It is led by Captain Nemo (person in Latin), a mysterious scientist with superior intelligence. To escape the civilization of men after a tragic event, he built this fantastic ship which cruises the seas of the globe. At his side, our three heroes will travel twenty thousand leagues (nearly 80,000 kilometres), discovering amazing creatures and underwater landscapes of breath-taking beauty.  I told you, confinement feelings are disappearing.

A visionary novel for its time

Since its publication in 1869, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas has become the founding classic of the science fiction novel, and it is still today one of the most translated and widely read French books in the world. Its main strength is to have gathered scientific and technological knowledge still very recent at the time and to have combined them to create a supernatural and enchanting story. Although not himself a scientist, Jules Verne knew better than any other how to translate in his novels the enthusiasm of his century for the discoveries of science. In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, he shares his passion for marine biology, oceanography, ichthyology, etc. through long but very lively descriptions. Going beyond the technological limits of his time in fiction, he invents an incredible submersible which prefigures the submarines of the 20th century. With his power of invention, he has delighted generations of readers.

Hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did 🙂

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