A Journey to the Center of the Earth is a classic1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne.The story involves German professor Otto Lidenbrock who believes there are volcanic tubes going toward the center of the Earth.He, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans descend into the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull, encountering many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, before eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy, at the Stromboli volcano. In the mid-19th century, during Verne's lifetime,exploration to unknown lands was in vogue.
During this period, the interior of Africa, the geographical and magnetic poles, and much of Central and South America were little known by Europeans. Well known explorers such as Sir Richard Burton and Henry Morton Stanley and David Livingston were exploring above the earth's surface as their fictional counterparts Professor Hardwigg and Harry were exploring below.
Also, Charles Darwin was gaining attention for his theory of evolution; this is touched on by Verne in this novel. New frontiers were opening while "new ideas about the planet's core,prehistoric man, dinosaurs, and early life on earth battled religious intolerance and Barnum-like hoaxes" (Afterword 292). The Afterword of this Signet Classic edition explains that Verne "was able to adapt nearly every important element in the story's action from contemporary,intellectual, literary, scientific, and geographical thought" (291). The world during Verne's lifetime was full of new ideas and was exploding with new knowledge. Verne captures that spirit in Journey to the Center of the Earth