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The Mysterious Island


The Mysterious Island

The Mysterious Island
Cover page of The Mysterious Island
Author Jules Verne
Original title L'Île mystérieuse
Translator Agnes Kinloch Kingston and W. H. G. Kingston (1875)
Stephen W. White (1876)
I. O. Evans (1959)
Lowell Bair (1970)
Sidney Kravitz (2001)
Jordan Stump (2001)
Illustrator Jules Férat
Country France
Language French
Series The Extraordinary Voyages #12
Genre Adventure novel
Publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel
Publication date
Published in English
Media type Print (Hardback)
Preceded by Around the World in Eighty Days
Followed by The Survivors of the Chancellor

The Mysterious Island (

  • Works related to The Mysterious Island at Wikisource
  • The Mysterious Island at Project Gutenberg Stephen W. White translation (1876)
  • The Mysterious Island at Project Gutenberg W. H. G.Kingston (Mrs. Agnes Kinloch Kingston) translation (1875)
  • The Mysterious Island Sidney Kravitz's unedited unabridged translation (2001). The extensive introduction and notes for this volume are at Mysterious Island Introduction.
  • The Mysterious Island interactive 3D model on CryEngine 1 by Crytek
  • The Mysterious Island public domain audiobook at LibriVox
  • North American Jules Verne Society

External links

  1. ^ "Jules Verne: An Author Before His Time?"
  2. ^ Science Fiction Studies, "Books in Review, July 2002
  3. ^ Nash, Andrew (2001-11-27). École des Robinsons (L') - 1882. Retrieved on 2009-08-13.
  4. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (February 9, 2012). "Volcanic Adventures in Jules Verne Country".  
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^


  1. ^ In the French original, some characters were named a little differently: Gédéon Spillet, Nabuchodonosor (Nab) and Harbert Brown. In the Kingston translation, the engineer is named Cyrus Harding, and the sailor is named Pencroft.
  2. ^ There are discrepancies in continuity between this novel and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Although this novel was written in 1874, its events take place from 1865 to 1869. The events of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea take place between 1867 and 1868. For example, the Captain Nemo appearing in this novel dies at a time when the Captain Nemo in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was still alive. There is usually a note in most editions of the book admitting date discrepancies. There are also similar discrepancies with In Search of the Castaways, although, these are not as often pointed out.


Cyrus Smith blessing Captain Nemo on his death bed in The Mysterious Island

Other works inspired by The Mysterious Island

Lobby Card for the 1929 version of The Mysterious Island, filmed in Technicolor

Film and television adaptations

The novel has been translated into Marathi by B. R. Bhagwat titled 'निर्जन बेटावरचे धाडसी वीर'. The title roughly translates to 'Brave fighters on a deserted island'. It has a cult following in Maharashtra, a state in India where the official language is Marathi.

Translations into other languages

This edition in English by F. Raynal has additional appendices by French scholar Dr Christiane Mortelier who presents a convincing case for the influence of Francis Raynal's 19th century publication "Wrecked On A Reef" (originally published in French as "Les Naufrages des Iles Auckland") on Verne's Mysterious Island. Verne read Raynal's account of the wreck of the Grafton (Captain Thomas Musgrave) on the subantarctic Auckland Islands and loosely based his story on this true account of shipwreck, survival, privation, and ultimate rescue. The Grafton was wrecked in the Auckland Islands on 3 January 1864. The crew of five (including Musgrave) survived for 19 months before three of them sailed to Stewart Island (New Zealand) in a boat they had made. The remaining two were rescued. Verne incorporated much of this historical material into his Mysterious Island narrative.

2003 Edition of Wrecked On A Reef

Except for the Complete and Unabridged Classics Series CL77 published in 1965 (Airmont Publishing Company, Inc), no other unabridged translations appeared until 2001 when the illustrated version of Sidney Kravitz appeared (Wesleyan University Press) almost simultaneously with the new translation of Jordan Stump published by Random House Modern Library (2001). Kravitz also translated Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson, published by the North American Jules Verne Society and BearManor Fiction in 2011.

In 1876 the Stephen W. White translation (175,000 words) appeared first in the columns of The Evening Telegraph of Philadelphia and subsequently as an Evening Telegraph Reprint Book. This translation is more faithful to the original story and restores the death scene of Captain Nemo, but there is still condensation and omission of some sections such as Verne's description of how a sawmill works. In the 20th century two more abridged translations appeared: the Fitzroy Edition (Associated Booksellers, 1959) abridged by I. O. Evans (90,000 words) and Mysterious Island (Bantam, 1970) abridged by Lowell Blair (90,000 words).

In September 1875 Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searle published the first British edition of Mysterious Island in three volumes entitled Dropped from the Clouds, The Abandoned, and The Secret of the Island (195,000 words). In November, 1875 Scribners published the American edition of these volumes from the English plates of Sampson Low. The purported translator, W. H. G. Kingston, was a famous author of boys' adventure and sailing stories who had fallen on hard times in the 1870s due to business failures, and so he hired out to Sampson Low as the translator for these volumes. However, it is now known that the translator of Mysterious Island and his other Verne novels was actually his wife, Agnes Kinloch Kingston, who had studied on the continent in her youth. The Kingston translation changes the names of the hero from "Smith" to "Harding"; "Smith" is a very common name in the UK and would have been associated, at that time, with the lower classes. In addition many technical passages were abridged or omitted and the anti-imperialist sentiments of the dying Captain Nemo were purged so as not to offend English readers. This became the standard translation for more than a century.

Publication history in English

Afterward, the island's central volcano erupts, destroying the island. Jup the orangutan falls into a crack in the ground and dies. The colonists, forewarned of the eruption by Nemo, find themselves safe but stranded on the last remaining piece of the island above sea level. They are rescued by the ship Duncan, which had come to rescue Ayrton but were redirected by a message Nemo had previously left on Tabor Island. After they return to United States, they form a new colony in Iowa with Nemo's gift, and live happily ever after.

The secret of the island is revealed when it is discovered to be Captain Nemo's hideout, and home port of the Nautilus. Having escaped the Maelstrom at the end of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the Nautilus sailed the oceans of the world until all its crew except Nemo had died. Now an old man with a beard, Nemo returned the Nautilus to its secret port within Lincoln Island. Nemo had been the mysterious benefactor of the settlers, providing them with the box of equipment, sending the message revealing Ayrton, planting the mine that destroyed the pirate ship, and killing the pirates with an "electric gun". On his death bed Captain Nemo reveals his true identity as the lost Indian Prince Dakkar, son of a Raja of the then independent territory of Bundelkund and a nephew of the Indian hero Tippu-Sahib. After taking part in the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857, Prince Dakkar escaped to a deserted island with twenty of his compatriots and commenced the building of the Nautilus and adopted the new name of "Captain Nemo". Nemo also tells his life story to Cyrus Smith and his friends. Before he dies, he gives them a box of diamonds and pearls as a keepsake. Afterwards, he dies, crying "God and my country!"("Independence!", in Verne's original manuscript) The Nautilus is scuttled and serves as Captain Nemo's tomb.

Ayrton's former companions arrive by chance on Lincoln Island, and try to make it into their lair. After some fighting with the protagonists, the pirate ship is mysteriously destroyed by an explosion. Six of the pirates survive and kidnap Aryton. When the colonists go to look for him, the pirates shoot Harbert, seriously injuring him. Harbert survives, but suffers from his injury, narrowly cheating death. The colonists at first assume Ayrton to have been killed, but later they find evidence that he was not instantly killed, making it possible for him to be alive. When the colonists rashly attempt to return to Granite House before Harbert fully recovers, Harbert contracts malaria and is saved by a box of quinine sulphate, which mysteriously appears on the table in Granite House. After Harbert recovers, they attempt to rescue Aryton and destroy the pirates. They discover Ayrton at the sheepfold, and the pirates dead, without any visible wounds.

The group finds a message in a bottle directing them to rescue a castaway on nearby Tabor Island, who is none other than Tom Ayrton (from In Search of the Castaways). On the return voyage to Lincoln Island, they lose their way in a tempest but are guided back to their course by a mysterious fire beacon.

During their stay on the island, the group endures bad weather, and domesticates an orangutan, Jupiter, abbreviated to Jup (or Joop, in Jordan Stump's translation). There is a mystery on the island in the form of an unseen deus ex machina, responsible for Cyrus' survival after falling from the balloon, the mysterious rescue of Top from a dugong, the appearance of a box of equipment (guns and ammunition, tools, etc.), and other seemingly inexplicable occurrences.

Map of "Lincoln Island"

After flying in a great storm for several days, the group crash-lands on a cliff-bound, volcanic, unknown island, described as being located at , about 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) east of New Zealand. They name it "Lincoln Island" in honor of their president, Abraham Lincoln. With the knowledge of the brilliant engineer Smith, the five are able to sustain themselves on the island, producing fire, pottery, bricks, nitroglycerin, iron, a simple electric telegraph, a home on a stony cliffside called "Granite House", and even a seaworthy ship. They also manage to figure out their geographical location.

The plot focuses on the adventures of five Americans on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. During the American Civil War, five northern prisoners of war decide to escape, during the siege of Richmond, Virginia, by hijacking a balloon. The escapees are Cyrus Smith, a railroad engineer in the Union army (named Cyrus Harding in Kingston's version); his ex-slave and loyal follower Neb (short for Nebuchadnezzar); Bonadventure Pencroff, a sailor (who is addressed only by his surname. In Kingston's translation, he is named Pencroft); his protégé and adopted son Harbert Brown (called Herbert in some translations); and the journalist Gedéon Spilett (Gideon Spilett in English versions). The company is completed by Cyrus' dog "Top".

Plot summary


  • Plot summary 1
  • Publication history in English 2
  • 2003 Edition of Wrecked On A Reef 3
  • Translations into other languages 4
  • Film and television adaptations 5
  • Other works inspired by The Mysterious Island 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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