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Five Weeks in a Balloon
A Journey of Discovery by Three Englishmen in Africa
Jules Verne; Frederick Paul Walter, trans.; Arthur B. Evans, ed.

Early Classics of Science Fiction

2015 • 396 pp. 81 illus. 6 x 9"
Science Fiction / Steampunk

$35.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7547-0

$27.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7548-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“[M]akes a classic piece of French speculative fiction accessible to English readers … catches so well the excitement and risks … providing us with this fine new translation and critical edition of Verne’s entertaining, historically important, and complex breakthrough novel.”—John Rieder, Los Angeles Review of Books

First complete English translation of Verne’s debut novel from 1863

One of the great “first novels” in world literature is now available in a complete, accurate English translation. Prepared by two of America’s leading Verne scholars, Frederick Paul Walter and Arthur B. Evans, this edition honors not only Verne’s farseeing science, but also his zest, style, and storytelling brilliance. Initially published in 1863, Five Weeks in a Balloon was the first novel in what would become the author’s "Extraordinary Voyages" series. It tells the tale of a 4,000-mile balloon trip over the mysterious continent of Africa, a trip that wouldn’t actually take place until well into the next century. Fusing adventure, comedy, and science fiction, Five Weeks has all the key ingredients of classic Verne: sly humor and cheeky characters, an innovative scientific invention, a tangled plot that’s full of suspense and surprise, and visions of an unknown realm. As part of the Early Classics of Science Fiction series, this critical edition features extensive notes, all the illustrations from the original French edition, and a complete Verne biography and bibliography. Five Weeks in a Balloon will be a prized addition to libraries and science fiction reading lists, and a must-read for Verne fans and steampunk connoisseurs.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

Five Weeks has all the hallmarks of the best Verne works: drama mixed with comedy, the latest technology (here, obviously the balloon) pushed into realms of speculation (Verne imagined methods for controlling balloons not yet in existence), and ethical debates around war, greed, and, in this case, hunting. Walter does an excellent job of bringing Verne’s language to life; this readable translation is accessible and modern without losing a sense of being of the 19th century. The introduction and footnotes enhance the experience, as do the many illustrations. The book also includes a very useful ‘gallery of heroes,’ which gives thumbnail biographies of the more than 150 real-life scientists and adventurers mentioned by Verne but now known primarily to specialists only. This work will appeal to a broad audience.”—A. Castaldo, Choice

"This new edition of his first great adventure story contains everything a reader could desire: an excellent English translation with an enticing introduction, reproductions of the original illustrations, scholarly notes, an extensive Verne bibliography — all brought together in an exceptionally well-designed volume.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post

“[T]his is the first faithful translation. Verne was more popular than respected, and earlier translations hurried, if not downright sloppy. Add to this the copious notes and careful commentary, and what we have here is another service from the Wesleyan University Press presented for the understanding and enlightenment of the readers of Voyages Extraordinaires from then until now.”—Joseph T. Major, Alexiad

“While in his own land, many contemporary critics held his commercial popularity meant he was only a mere genre-based storyteller than a serious author (though this would soon change), Verne, in the English speaking world, was only deemed a writer for children and a naïve proponent of science and technology– for which translators and publishers were solely responsible. US academician Arthur B Evans notes that literary scholars agree that Verne’s early English translations were ‘extremely shoddy’ and ‘often bear little resemblance’ to their originals ... Corrective action is underway but many are even not aware anything was wrong.”—Vikas Datta, The News Minute (India)

“Arthur B. Evans, professor emeritus of modern languages (French) at DePauw University, is the editor of the first complete English translation of Five Weeks in a Balloon, Jules Verne’s debut novel … Art Evans, who is retiring from the DePauw faculty at the conclusion of the academic year, won the 2014 Cyrano Prize for his scholarly contributions to the field of French science fiction. Forbes has called the professor, who has published numerous books and articles on Jules Verne, ‘the most prominent Verne scholar in the US.’”DePauw University

Five Weeks in a Balloon counts among the dozen Verne books that are the most interesting for modern readers and critics, and even in French, no annotated or critical edition has ever appeared. Walter is at the forefront of contemporary translators.”—William Butcher, author of Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography

“A daring adventure with huge dollops of geographical, technological, and scientific information, touches of humor, and a slow build-up followed by one exciting incident after another. This is essential reading for Verneans as well as the go-to text for ordinary readers seeking an accurate translation of one of Verne’s most popular and significant novels.”—Michael Dirda, author of Classics for Pleasure and On Conan Doyle

JULES VERNE (1828–1905) was the first author to popularize the literary genre that has become known as science fiction. FREDERICK PAUL WALTER is the translator of eight novels by Verne. Past vice-president of the North American Jules Verne Society and a former NPR scriptwriter and reference librarian, he lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. ARTHUR B. EVANS is a professor of French at DePauw University and winner of the 2014 Cyrano prize for his scholarly contributions to the field of French science fiction. He has published numerous books and articles on Jules Verne and other early writers of French science fiction, serves as the managing editor of Science Fiction Studies, and is the general editor of Wesleyan’s Early Classics of Science Fiction series.

Publication of this book is funded by the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:28:50 -0500