The "Voyages Extraordinaires" of M.
Jules Verne deserve to be made widely known in English-speaking
countries by means of carefully prepared translations. Witty and
ingenious adaptations of the researches and discoveries of modern
science to the popular taste, which demands that these should be
presented to ordinary readers in the lighter form of cleverly mingled
truth and fiction, these books will assuredly be read with profit and
delight, especially by English youth. Certainly no writer before M.
Jules Verne has been so happy in weaving together in judicious
combination severe scientific truth with a charming exercise of playful
Iceland, the starting point of the marvellous
underground journey imagined in this volume, is invested at the present
time with. a painful interest in consequence of the disastrous
eruptions last Easter Day, which covered with lava and ashes the poor
and scanty vegetation upon which four thousand persons were partly
dependent for the means of subsistence. For a long time to come the
natives of that interesting island, who cleave to their desert home
with all that amor patriae which is so much more easily
understood than explained, will look, and look not in vain, for the
help of those on whom fall the smiles of a kindlier sun in regions not
torn by earthquakes nor blasted and ravaged by volcanic fires. Will the
readers of this little book, who, are gifted with the means of
indulging in the luxury of extended beneficence, remember the distress
of their brethren in the far north, whom distance has not barred from
the claim of being counted our "neighbours"? And whatever their humane
feelings may prompt them to bestow will be gladly added to the
Mansion-House Iceland Relief Fund.
In his desire to ascertain
how far the picture of Iceland, drawn in the work of Jules Verne is a
correct one, the translator hopes in the course of a mail or two to
receive a communication from a leading man of science in the island,
which may furnish matter for additional information in a future
The scientific portion of the French original is not
without a few errors, which the translator, with the kind assistance of
Mr. Cameron of H. M. Geological Survey, has ventured to point out and
correct. It is scarcely to be expected in a work in which the element
of amusement is intended to enter more largely than that of scientific
instruction, that any great degree of accuracy should be arrived at.
Yet the translator hopes that what trifling deviations from the text or
corrections in foot notes he is responsible for, will have done a
little towards the increased usefulness of the work.