Niels Klim’s Journey Under the Ground
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Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, written in Latin and published in 1741 (though written earlier), is, like Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, an irreverent political and social satire in the form of a fantasy story, and occupies a central place in the history of early science-fiction/fantasy literature. Niels Klim is the first “Hollow Earth” story, though, unlike notable scientists of his time, Holberg did not take this idea seriously, explicitly making fun of people’s gullibility.
Some 80 years later, in 1820, another Hollow Earth story, Symzonia by the anonymous author Captain Seaborn, was actually written to promote the concept. Another century later, when Edgar Rice Burroughs made Hollow Earth the setting of his Pellucidar books, it was clear that this was fantasy, but one more century later, it is still a fantasy that works, when it gives us a good tale to enjoy.
About the Author
Ludvig Holberg, who was born 1684 in Bergen, Norway and died 1754 in Copenhagen, was a Danish-Norwegian writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright, best known still today for his comedies. Influenced by Humanism and the Enlightenment, he is considered to be the founder of modern Danish and Norwegian literature. While Ludvig Holberg was a prolific writer, Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, written in Latin and published in 1741 (though written earlier), is his only novel.