Page last modified: October 25, 2018

First English "Review" of a Jules Verne Book - December 5, 1868
Five Weeks in a Balloon - Every Saturday; A Journal of Choice Reading

The December 5, 1868 issue of Every Saturday; A Journal of Choice Reading, published by Fields, Osgood & Co., Boston, includes a synopsis, plus several passages, from the book Five Weeks in a Balloon.
The source for text in this journal, is generally sourced from articles taken from other publications such as: The Pall Mall Gazette, The Spectator, All The Year Round, Chamber's Journal, The Graphic, Good Words, English Magazine, Cassell's Magazine, The Student, St. Pauls, etc.
The text for this particular review/synopsis is credited to The London
Even though it is only a review, it is thus the first known appearance of a Jules Verne book in the English language.
(Ed Note: The Jules Verne short story Balloon Voyage was published in Philadelphia in 1852)

What makes the review interesting, is that the author of the review appears to believe that the book is FACT and not FICTION! He seems genuinely perturbed that the public had not heard about these explorations, that Jules Verne had set in 1862, until now, 1868.

Note: The reviewer also incorrectly identifies the author as M. Jules Berne

Below is an image of the beginning of the review, and the text in that part is printed below:


I MUST begin by stating that I cannot guarantee
the authenticity of the following remarkable adven-
tures. I merely repeat them here, confiding in the
good faith of one M. Jules Berne.
* The French-
men, who, it is notorious, are much better up in
aeronautics than ourselves, modestly leave the mer-
it of the five weeks' balloon trip across Africa to the
On January 15, 1862, then, so M. Berne tells us,
but we have not been able to verify the fact, the
following announcement appeared in the "Daily
"That enterprising traveller, Dr. Samuel Fer-
guson, has formed the resolution of undertaking a
journey of discovery across Africa, from east to
west, but in a balloon. The starting-point of the
expedition will be the island of Zanzibar, on the
east coast. The plan of the journey was yesterday
officially approved by the Royal Geographical So-
ciety, which has made a grant of £250 towards it."
This announcement naturally produced a great
excitement. It was at first supposed to be all hum-
bug, but people gradually convinced themselves that
the untertaking was seriously meant.
Who is Dr. Fergusson?
He is the son of a captain in the English navy,
accustomed to the perils of sea voyages when quite
a boy. At the age of nineteen he joined the Engi-
neer corps of the Bengal Army, resigned his com-
mission at the end of three years,and travelled....."

*"Cinq Semaines en Balon"

*** If anyone can provide me with further images, OR the complete text of this review, I would love to reproduce it here ***
- Andrew Nash -

Return to Verne Titles Page
to Jules Verne Collecting Web Page Collecting
©Images copyright Andrew Nash 2011 to 2021
WebPage Design by Puppy Cup Productions