During his twilight years, the French author Jules Verne (1828-1905) wrote two original sequels to books that had fired his own youthful imagination but which he felt to be incomplete: Johann Wyss's Swiss Family Robinson and Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
Arthur Gordon Pym (1845) was only one of many Poe stories which Verne admired; no other single author had more impact on his writing. Verne acknowledged this debt in his only major piece of literary criticism, a detailed 1864 article entitled "Edgard [sic] Poe and His Work".
Poe (1809-1849) was just emerging on the French literary scene in translation as Verne was writing his first plays and short stories. Verne was familiar with a broad range of Poe's works, the well-remembered stories as well as many that are obscure today. What is to be admired in Poe, Verne wrote, "are the novelties of his situations, the discussion of little-known facts, the observations of the unhealthy faculties of Mankind, the choice of subject-matter, the ever-strange personality of his characters, their nervous, sickly temperaments, their ways of expressing themselves by bizarre interjections. And yet, among all these improbabilities, exists at times a verisimilitude that grips the credulity of the reader."
This edition is a newly revised and modernized translation and features a new introduction by Brian Taves.
©2005 John Betancourt (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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"Good, but not all of Verne"
This is a tough one. The narrator is good - something unfortunately all too rare in Verne audiobooks - and the translation has been somewhat revised from the original by "Mrs Cashel Hoey." But the audiobook is missing the Brian Taves introduction mentioned in the description. And a comparison of the text with a more recent translation - the one by Rick Walter published by SUNY - shows that many of the cuts made by Mrs Hoey have not been restored in this version. I would use this as an intro to the story - but try to get your hands on the Walter edition (which has, in addition to the original novel by Edgar Allan Poe, a long critical essay by Verne about Poe's novel).
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