Jules Verne Forum



Re: A Modest Proposal -- The PHILEADE

From: Ross F Bagby <rbagby~at~magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 17:18:09 -0500 (EST)
To: jvf~at~leeor.technion.ac.il

> > With the Dane Palle Huld also mentioned in Garmt's list, this makes 9 peopl
> > who (with varying degrees of seriousness) to my knowledge have really tried

> > Fogg's feat.
> Actually I'm rather curious to know who these people are. Could you give
> us their names (and their results?)
> Greetings,
> Garmt
Well, you already know of all but perhaps two, I think, but I'll review the
roll call to underline my point about nationalities.
1] George Train (American)
2] Nellie Bly [American] (who met Verne himself during her circumnavigation)
3] Elizabeth Bisland [American]
no wonder in BOMBARNAC Verne declares Americans THE world-circlers! ;-)
4] Gaston Stiegler [French] (who also met Verne, on the return leg of HIS trip)
5] Palle Huld [Danish] For those others on this list who like myself are
essentially English only, my checking has shown that Huld's book JORDEN RUNDT I
44 DAGE was translated as A BOY SCOUT AROUND THE WORLD
Huld may well be the last overtly Vernian circumnavigator whose goal was
competition with, rather than commemoration of, Fogg's fictional record.For the
next four, the goal was more staying within 80 Days (if sometimes by fudging)
than trying to beat it.
6] Jean Cocteau {French] It was actually Cocteau's Algerian companion Marcel
Khill who suggested the 1936 80 Days trip. To make the deadline Cocteau and
Khill took an airplane over the American West (that Cocteau himself felt this
was cheating is signalled by his need to rationalize it on the grounds Verne
overestimated USA rail speed in his published account.)
7] S.J. Perelman [American] One of the screenwriters of Mike Todd's film
version of 80 DAYS, a 1947 trip round the world he made for HOLIDAY magazine is
often misidentified as a Fogg emulation because he used the subtitle "Around
the World in 80 Cliches" for his book account WESTWARD HA! (It actually took
him six months, and had no set deadline.) Perhaps to end the confusion, in 1970
Perelman undertook with his secretary to 'really' do 80 Days (though I gather
he only counted days in motion.) While thus even more arguable than Cocteau's,
this did inspire both Marks's book on the Bly-Bisland 'race' AROUND THE WORLD
IN 72 DAYS and Coleridge's trip below.
8] Nicholas Coleridge [British] In 1983 this British writer undertook to follow
Fogg's footsteps (and no flying) with results indicated by his book's title,
AROUND THE WORLD IN 78 DAYS (published in Britain in 1984, in the US 1985.) His
chapter titles parody Verne. Very similar to Palin in such conclusions as that
the great obstacle for modern emulators of Fogg is the disappearence of
passenger shipping from the Pacific (a memorable bit is, having reached Hawaii,
he has to search the local yachts for one that will carry him to the US
9] Michael Palin {British] Easily the currently best known Fogg emulator, the 6
hour BBC video of his 1988 trip having been a perennial first on cable TV, then
on public television in the US for years now. Quite open that his voyage was "a
celebration of travel" rather than a speed test, hence such indulgences as
going from Arabia to India by a week-long dhow trip (which takes up an entire
TV episode!) And while I am willing to wager that neither Palin nor BBC
producer Clement Vallance have even heard of THREE RUSSIANS AND THREE
ENGLISHMEN, for the 'sequel' POLE TO POLE they chose to follow the 30th
meridian for much the same reason Verne's triangulators measured the 24th (that
it runs through both Russia and Africa.)
I am sure there are more. But the point is, whereas (fortunately) no one has
ever actually tried reaching the center of the Earth through Icelandic volcanos
or reaching the Moon in a giant cannon shell, many people HAVE actually tried
rounding the world in 80 days or less in direct imitation of Fogg. This is
because this Extraordinary Voyage is the most emphatically in the 'known
world', the one presented as most actually feasible.
Or -- is it? Of the list above, Bisland, Huld, and Palin are admittedly
essentially figureheads for various news organizations. (When Palin consults
veteran British journalist Alan Whicker, the latter mentions turning down an
earlier 80 Days proposal.) Only Coleridge even presents himself as a truly
Fogg-like loner.
Is this, then, one of those myths of enterprise where the spotlight is on the
heroic individual -- but the reality is that of organizational infrastructure?
Pondering this,
RF Bagby
Received on Fri 22 Mar 1996 - 00:18:39 IDT

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