Short summary - Journey to the Centre of the Earth - Jules Gabriel Verne

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Jules Gabriel Verne

1863 A professor of mineralogy finds an encrypted manuscript in an old manuscript. His young nephew and assistant helps him read a coded message from the past. It claims that it is possible to "reach the center of the Earth" through the crater of the Icelandic volcano Snaefellsjokull. The professor, his nephew, and a guide hired in Iceland set off into the bowels of the earth, unaware of the adventures that await them.

The protagonist of the novel. the wayward fifty-eight-year-old professor Otto Lidenbrock, who lives in Hamburg, teaches mineralogy and geology at the university.

The action begins May 24, 1863. In a recently acquired twelfth-century manuscript written in runes, the professor discovers a ciphered message from the 16th-century Icelandic alchemist Arne Saknussemm. The professor believes that Saknussemm wants to share a scientific discovery, and asks the narrator - his nephew Axel - to decipher the message.

Luckily, Axel manages to decipher the document. Arne Saknussemm reports that a traveler who climbs the crater of the Snaefellsjokull volcano will be able to get to the center of the Earth. He himself undertook this journey. Professor Lindenbrock, like a real geologist, decides to go to the center of the Earth, and Axel must accompany him.

The professor and nephew leave Hamburg. After stopping in Denmark for a holiday, they move on to Iceland. In Reykjavik, they invite a man named Hans Bjelke as their guide. The three of them climb the crater of the volcano and find a descent down there.

They manage to penetrate into the depths of the Earth. When they reach a fork, they take the wrong route at first, the road ends in a dead end, and they turn back. Meanwhile, their water supply is running out and it seems that the expedition is doomed to failure.

Hans leaves his comrades and goes in search of water. He finds a spring that flows along the rock wall and brings his friends to it. With a pickaxe, they punch a hole in the wall so that a small stream flows out of it. It is called "Hans Brook".

During the further descent, Axel loses his friends. They find each other only after a few days thanks to a sound phenomenon similar to the phenomenon in the Cathedral of St. Paul.

The heroes go to the shore of the underground sea, which they cross on a raft. On the other side, they see huge mushrooms, which they identify as giant champignons. In addition to mushrooms, there are also bizarre plants, as well as a small island with a geyser.

While traveling through the underworld, the friends see a fight between an ichthyosaur and a plesiosaur. Soon a storm begins, during which ball lightning hits the raft. The storm drives them to the other side. There they discover the remains of prehistoric humans.

In the same place, our heroes find traces of Saknussemms and the entrance to another cave. The grotto ends after a few meters. When travelers try to clear the passage, the underground sea falls into the abyss, and the raft is sucked into the funnel. They find themselves first on the water, then on the lava of the volcano of the island of Stromboli near Sicily. Through the crater they get to the surface.