History: This novel was first published in 1873 in France.
Plot: The story starts in London on October 2, 1872. Phileas Fogg is a wealthy English gentleman who lives unmarried in solitude. Despite his wealth, which is of unknown origin, Mr. Fogg, whose countenance is described as "repose in action", lives a modest life with habits carried out with mathematical precision. As is noted in the first chapter, very little can be said about Mr. Fogg's social life other than that he is a member of the Reform Club. Having dismissed his former valet, James Foster, for bringing him shaving water at 84 degrees Fahrenheit rather than the regular 86, Mr. Fogg hires the Frenchman Passepartout, of around 30 years of age, as a replacement.
Later, on that day, in the Reform Club, Fogg gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph, stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days.
He accepts a wager for £20,000 from his fellow club members, which he will receive if he makes it around the world in 80 days. Accompanied by his manservant Passepartout, he leaves London by train at 8.45 P.M. on October 2, 1872, and thus is due back at the Reform Club at the same time 80 days later, on December 21.
Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, they are watched by a Scotland Yard detective named Fix, who has been dispatched from London in search of a bank robber. Because Fogg matches the description of the bank robber, Fix mistakes Fogg for the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix goes on board the steamer conveying the travellers to Bombay. During the voyage, Fix becomes acquainted with Passepartout, without revealing his purpose. On the voyage, Fogg promises the engineer a large reward if he gets them to Bombay early. They dock two days ahead of schedule.
Now with two days extra, Fogg and Passepartout switch to the railway in Bombay, setting off for Calcutta, Fix now following them undercover. As it turns out that the construction of the railway is not totally finished, they are forced to get over the remaining gap between two stations by riding an elephant, which Phileas Fogg purchases at the prodigious price of 2,000 pounds.
During the ride, they come across a suttee procession, in which a young Parsi woman, Aouda, is led to a sanctuary to be sacrificed by the process of sati the next day by Brahmins. Since the young woman is drugged with the smoke of opium and hemp and obviously not going voluntarily, the travelers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout secretly takes the place of Aouda's deceased husband on the funeral pyre, on which she is to be burned the next morning. During the ceremony, he then rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away. Due to this incident, the two days gained earlier are lost but Fogg does not show sign of regret.
The travelers then hasten on to catch the train at the next railway station, taking Aouda with them. At Calcutta, they can finally board a steamer going to Hong Kong. Fix, who had secretly been following them, has Fogg and Passepartout arrested in Calcutta. However, they jump bail and Fix is forced to follow them to Hong Kong. On board, he shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to meet again his traveling companion from the earlier voyage.
In Hong Kong, it turns out that Aouda's distant relative, in whose care they had been planning to leave her, has moved, likely to Holland, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Meanwhile, still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. He therefore confides in Passepartout, who does not believe a word and remains convinced that his master is not a bank robber. To prevent Passepartout from informing his master about the premature departure of their next vessel, Fix gets Passepartout drunk and drugs him in an opium den. In his dizziness, Passepartout yet manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg.
Fogg, on the next day, discovers that he has missed his connection. He goes in search of a vessel that will take him to Yokohama. He finds a pilot boat that takes him and his companion (Aouda) to Shanghai, where they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they go on a search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there with the original connection. They find him in a circus, trying to earn his homeward journey.
Reunited, the four board a steamer taking them across the Pacific to San Francisco. Fix promises Passepartout that now, having left British soil, he will no longer try to delay Fogg's journey, but rather support him in getting back to Britain as fast as possible (to have him arrested there).
In San Francisco, they get on the train to New York. On the next day, Fogg starts looking for an alternative for the crossing of the Atlantic. He finds a small steamboat, destined for Bordeaux. However, the captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, whereupon Fogg consents to be taken to Bordeaux. On the voyage, he bribes the crew to mutiny and take course for Liverpool. Going on full steam all the time, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat at a very high price from the captain, soothing him thereby, and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.
The companions arrive at Queenstown, Ireland, in time to reach London via Dublin and Liverpool before the deadline. However, once on British soil again, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up—the actual bank robber had been caught three days earlier in Edinburgh.
In response to this, Fogg, in a rare moment of impulse, punches Fix, who immediately falls to the ground. However, Fogg has missed the train and returns to London five minutes late, assured that he has lost the wager.
In his London house the next day, he apologizes to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot financially support her. Aouda suddenly confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her, which he gladly accepts. He calls for Passepartout to notify the reverend. At the reverend's, Passepartout learns that he is mistaken in the date, which he takes to be Sunday but which actually is Saturday due to the fact that the party traveled east, thereby gaining a full day on their journey around the globe, by crossing the International Date Line. He did not notice this in the USA, since there were daily trains, and because he hired his own ship across the Atlantic.
Passepartout hurries back to Fogg, who immediately sets off for the Reform Club, where he arrives just in time to win the wager. Fogg marries Aouda and the journey around the world is complete.
Review: This is a great classic and comes from a writer with a solid canon of pacey adventure stories. But what you miss in the film and cartoon versions is the sheer scale of the effort of Jules Verne’s vision. He must have sat there with maps, guide books and numerous steamer and train timetables to be able not only to map the journey round the world but also factor in the numerous diversions that Phileas Fogg and company have to take. Add to that the descriptions of the places they visit, which all sound as if Verne has had personal experience of them and you are left admiring not just the story but the ambition of it.
Opening Line: “In the year 1872, No. 7 Savile Row, Burlington Gardens2 - the house where Sheridan3 died in 1814 - was occupied by Phileas Fogg, Esq.”
Closing Line: “In truth, wouldn’t anyone go round the world for less?”
Quotes: "His master's idea charmed him; he perceived a heart, a soul, under that icy exterior. He began to love Phileas Fogg"