Verniana — Jules Verne Studies / Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 11 (2018–2020) — 1–20

The English Translations of Jules Verne’s Sans dessus dessous

Arthur B. Evans


There exist four different English translations for Jules Verne's Sans dessus dessous (1889). The first, by an anonymous translator, was published with the title Barbicane and Company in the British periodical The Boy’s Own Paper from October 1889 to September 1890. It was then published as a book by Sampson Low in December 1890 with the revised title The Purchase of the North Pole. The first American edition of this novel was also published in 1890 in New York by J.S. Ogilvie. It featured a different but also anonymous translation and a title that attempted to be more faithful to Verne's: Topsy-Turvy. There are two modern English-language versions of this work. An abridged and updated version of the Sampson Low translation later reappeared in 1966 in the “Fitzroy Edition” published in London by Arco; it too was titled The Purchase of the North Pole and was edited by I.O. Evans. And in 2012 a new translation of this novel was published in London by the Hesperus Press, carrying a title a bit closer to Verne’s, The Earth Turned Upside Down; it was translated by Sophie Lewis. In the following comparative analysis, all four translations of Verne's novel are examined and evaluated according to their completeness, accuracy, and style.

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