Around the World in 80 Days

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Around the World in 80 Days
Rumor has it that the 11-year-old Jules Verne tricked his way aboard the sailing ship Coralie with the aim of traveling to the West Indies to bring back a coral necklace for his much-beloved cousin. Verne’s father managed to catch him at the harbor before the ship set sail. He made his son promise to travel “only in his imagination.” This childhood feat of derring-do may have really happened, but this tale is thought to be largely embroidered upon by his biographer, his niece Marguerite. Like Jules Verne’s biography, his tales have been elaborated upon but that doesn’t make them any less intriguing or entertaining. The French author who grew from that adventurous little cabin boy wrote Around the World in Eighty Days or Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-Vingts Jours, in 1872 in serial form for the newspaper Le Temps. Verne’s most successful tale has been craftily remade as a TV series and premiered on BBC on December 26, 2021 and on PBS Masterpiece on January 2, 2022. David Tennant of Doctor Who fame knows how to portray time travel will be a fine Phileas Fogg. However, it seems that the remake will be a kaleidoscopic collage of the original story. An adventurous tale Phileas Fogg, the lead character in Jules Verne’s adventure, was an Englishman of meticulous habits. The well-regulated Fogg kept to the same schedule. His habits were unchanging and he was never late. Apart from his daily hand of whist, he played his cards close to his chest. Fogg’s fellow members of the Reform Club had no inkling how he made his fortune or how he passed his time. There was conjecture among the Reform Club members that Fogg had traveled far and wide because no one was more familiar with the world than he. But perhaps Fogg was only an armchair traveler; apart from his daily sojourns to the Reform Club, he seemed not to travel beyond the front door of his own house. Phileas Fogg, an ilustration from the novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne, painted by Alphonse de Neuville and or Leon Benett. © Wikimedia Commons Fogg’s luxurious mansion wasn’t decorated in any anticipated steampunk kind of way. The Savile Row address had no study and there were no books. There were no models of wildly inventive flying machines with gears and cogs. There was nothing copper or riveted or strangely submarine in Fogg’s house. But there was a clock. Fogg was in possession of a complicated clock which indicated the hours, minutes, and seconds as well as the days, months, and years. Jules Verne described Fogg as being as regulated as a “Leroy” chronometer. For such an automaton, the clock was an accurate metaphor for Fogg. Fogg’s new valet Passepartout soon found out his daily routine was to the minute, “toast and tea at twenty-three minutes past eight, the shaving water (at 86º) at thirty-seven minutes past nine.” Passepartout found his new boss to be “A real machine. Well I don’t mind serving a machine,” he said.

Lead photo credit : The "80 Days" board game. © Google Arts and Culture

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A freelance writer and amateur historian, Hazel knew she wanted to focus on the lives of French artists and femme fatales after an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay. A life-long learner, she is a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Toronto. Now she is searching for a real-life art history mystery to solve.


  • Beth Gersh-Nesic
    2022-01-13 06:56:07
    Beth Gersh-Nesic
    Hi Hazel, Many thanks for alerting me to this exciting series on our local PBS - did not know about this before. And thank you for a wonderful article about Jules Vernes - magnifique! Cheers - Beth