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Jules Verne

Jules Verne books and biography

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20,000 Lieues Sous Les Mers Vol. 2


By Jules Verne
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20,000 Lieues Sous Les Mers Vol. 1


By Jules Verne
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20,000 Lijlen Onder Zee, Volume 2

Adventures Du Capitaine Hatteras


By Jules Verne
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Around The World In Eighty Days

Autour De La Lune


By Jules Verne
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Cinq Semaines En Ballon


By Jules Verne
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De La Terre A La Lune


By Jules Verne
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De La Terre À La Lune ( 1850 )


By Jules Verne
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Dick Sand

Eight Hundred Leagues On The Amazon

Facing The Flag


By Jules Verne
Action , Adventure

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Five Weeks In A Balloon


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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From The Earth To The Moon


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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Fur Country

In Search Of The Castaways


By Jules Verne
Action , Adventure

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Journey To The Interior Of The Earth


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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Kéraban Le Tetu


By Jules Verne
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La Jangada


By Jules Verne
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La Terre A La Lune


By Jules Verne
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Le Chateau Des Carpathes


By Jules Verne
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Le Docteur Ox


By Jules Verne
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Le Pilote Du Danube


By Jules Verne
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Le Tour Du Monde En 80 Jours


By Jules Verne
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Les Cinq Cents Millions De La Begum


By Jules Verne
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Les Enfants Du Capitaine Grant


By Jules Verne
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Les Forceurs De Blocus


By Jules Verne
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Les Indes Noires


By Jules Verne
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Les Revoltes De La "bounty


By Jules Verne
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Master Of The World

Michael Strogoff

Mysterious Island


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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Off On A Comet


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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Robur Le Conquerant


By Jules Verne
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Robur The Conqueror

Survivors Of The Chancellor

The Adventures Of A Special Correspondent


By Jules Verne
Action , Adventure

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The Moon Voyage


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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The Underground City


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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Ticket Number 9672

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea


By Jules Verne
Fiction , Fantasy

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Voyage Au Centre De La Terre


By Jules Verne
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Jules Verne

Jules Verne. Photo by Félix Nadar.
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Jules Verne. Photo by Flix Nadar.
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For the character based upon him, see: Jules Verne (SAJV)

Jules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828–March 24, 1905) was a French author and a pioneer of the science-fiction genre (sometimes even called the "father of science fiction"[citationneeded]). Verne was noted for writing about cosmic, atmospheric, and underwater travel before air travel and submarines were commonplace and before practical means of space travel had been devised. He is the third most translated author in the world, according to the Index Translationum statistics. Some of his books have been made into films.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Jules G. Verne was born in Nantes, France, to Pierre Verne, an attorney, and his wife, Sophie. The oldest of the family's five children, Jules spent his early years at home with his parents, in the bustling harbor city of Nantes. In summer, the family lived in a country house just outside the city, on the banks of the Loire River. The sight of the many ships navigating the river sparked Jules' imagination, as he describes in the autobiographical short story "Souvenirs d'Enfance et de Jeunesse". At the age of nine, Jules and his brother Paul, of whom he was very fond, were sent to boarding school at the Saint Donatien College (Petit sminaire de Saint-Donatien) in Nantes.

There Verne studied Latin, which he later used in his short story "Le Mariage de Monsieur Anselme des Tilleuls" (mid 1850s). One of his teachers may also have been the French inventor Brutus de Villeroi, who was professor of drawing and mathematics at the college in 1842, and who later became famous for creating the US Navy's first submarine, the USS Alligator. De Villeroi may naturally have been an inspiration for Jules Verne's conceptual design for the Nautilus in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, although no direct exchanges between the two men have been recorded.

Verne's second French biographer, Marguerite Allotte de la Fuye, formulated the rumor that Verne's fascination with adventure asserted itself at an early age to such a degree that it inspired him to stow away on a ship bound for Asia, but that Jules's voyage was cut short when he found his father waiting for him at the next port.

Literary debut

After completing his studies at the lyce, Verne went to Paris to study for the bar. About 1848, in conjunction with Michel Carr, he began writing librettos for operettas. For some years his attentions were divided between the theatre and work, but some travellers' stories which he wrote for the Muse des Familles seem to have revealed to him the true direction of his talent: the telling of delightfully extravagant voyages and adventures to which cleverly prepared scientific and geographical details lent an air of verisimilitude.

When Verne's father discovered that his son was writing rather than studying law, he promptly withdrew his financial support. Consequently, he was forced to support himself as a stockbroker, which he hated, although he was somewhat successful at it. During this period, he met the authors Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, who offered him some advice on his writing.

Also during this period he met Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. They got married on January 10, 1857. With her encouragement, he continued to write and actively try to find a publisher. On August 3, 1861, their son, Michel Jules Verne, was born. A classic enfant terrible, he married an actress over Verne's objections, had two children by his underage mistress, and buried himself in debts. The relationship between father and son improved as Michel grew older.

A typical Hetzel front cover for a Jules Verne book. The edition is Les Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras au Pôle Nord, type
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A typical Hetzel front cover for a Jules Verne book. The edition is Les Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras au Ple Nord, type "Aux deux lphants".

Verne's situation improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the most important French publishers of the 19th century, who also published Victor Hugo, George Sand, and Erckmann-Chatrian, among others. When they met, Verne was 35 and Hetzel 50, and from then, until Hetzel's death, they formed an excellent writer-publisher team. Hetzel's advice improved Verne's writings, which until then had been rejected and rejected again by other publishers. Hetzel read a draft of Verne's story about the balloon exploration of Africa, which had been rejected by other publishers on the ground that it was "too scientific". With Hetzel's help, Verne rewrote the story and in 1863 it was published in book form as Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon). Acting on Hetzel's advice, Verne added comical accents to his novels, changed sad endings into happy ones, and toned down various political messages.

From that point on, and up to years after Verne's death, Hetzel published two or more volumes a year. The most successful of these include: Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864); De la terre la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865); Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1869); and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), which first appeared in Le Temps in 1872. The series is collectively known as "Les voyages extraordinaires" ("extraordinary voyages"). Verne could now make a living by writing. But most of his wealth came from the stage adaptations of Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1874) and Michel Strogoff (1876), which he wrote together with Adolphe d'Ennery. In 1867 he bought a small ship, the Saint-Michel, which he successively replaced with the Saint-Michel II and the Saint-Michel III as his financial situation improved. On board the Saint-Michel III, he sailed around Europe. In 1870, he was appointed as "Chevalier" (Knight) of the Lgion d'honneur. After his first novel, most of his stories were first serialised in the Magazine d'ducation et de Rcration, a Hetzel biweekly publication, before being published in the form of books. His brother, Paul Verne, contributed to the 40th French climbing of the Mont-Blanc, added to his brother's collection of short stories Doctor Ox in 1874. Verne became wealthy and famous. He remains one of the most translated novelists in the world, second only Agatha Christie, according to UNESCO statistics.[citationneeded]

The last years

On March 9, 1886, as Verne was coming home, his twenty five year old nephew, Gaston, with whom he had entertained lengthy and affectionate relations, shot at him with a gun. One bullet missed, but the second bullet entered Verne's left leg, giving him a limp that would never be cured. Gaston spent the rest of his life in an asylum. The incident was hushed up by the media.

After the deaths of Hetzel and his beloved mother in 1887, Jules began writing works that were darker in tone. This may partly be due to changes in his personality, but an important factor is the fact that Hetzel's son, who took over his father's business, was not as rigorous in his corrections as Hetzel Sr. had been. In 1888, Jules Verne entered politics and was elected town councillor of Amiens where he championed several improvements and served for fifteen years. In 1905, while ill with diabetes, Verne died at his home, 44 Boulevard Longueville, (now Boulevard Jules-Verne). Michel oversaw publication of his last novels Invasion of the Sea and The Lighthouse at the End of the World. After Verne's death, the series of the "Voyages extraordinaires" continued for several years, in the same rhythm of two volumes a year. It has later been discovered that Michel Verne made extensive changes in these stories, and the original versions were published at the end of the 20th century.

In 1863, Jules Verne wrote a novel called Paris in the 20th Century about a young man who lives in a world of glass skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, calculators, and a worldwide communications network, yet cannot find happiness, and comes to a tragic end. Hetzel thought the novel's pessimism would damage Verne's then booming career, and suggested he wait 20 years to publish it. Verne put the manuscript in a safe, where it was discovered by his great-grandson in 1989. It was published in 1994.

Reputation in English-speaking countries

While in France and many other countries Verne is considered an author of quality books for young people with a good command of his subjects – especially technological, but also political – his reputation in English-speaking countries has for a long time suffered from poor translation.

Characteristically for much of late 19th-century writing, Verne's books often take a quite chauvinistic point of view. The British Empire in particular was frequently portrayed in a bad light, and so the first English translator, Reverend Lewis Page Mercier writing under a pseudonym, cut out many such passages, for example those describing the political actions of Captain Nemo in his incarnation as an Indian nobleman. Such negative depictions were not, however, invariable in Verne's works; for example, "Facing the Flag" features Lieutenant Devon - a heroic, self-sacrificing Royal Navy officer fully the equal of naval heroes written about by British authors.

Mercier and subsequent British translators also had trouble with the metric system that Verne used, sometimes simply dropping significant figures, at other times keeping the nominal value and only changing the unit to an Imperial measure. Thus Verne's calculations, which in general were remarkably exact, were converted into mathematical gibberish. Also, artistic passages and whole chapters were cut because of the need to fit the work in a constrained space for publication, regardless of the effect on the plot. (The London author, Cranstoun Metcalfe (1866–1938), translated most of Verne's work into English during the first half of the 20th century.)

For those reasons, Verne's work initially acquired a reputation in English-speaking countries for not being fit for adult readers. This in turn prevented him from being taken seriously enough to merit new translations, leading to those of Mercier and others being reprinted decade after decade. Only from 1965 on were some of his novels re-translated more accurately, but even today Verne's work has still not been fully rehabilitated in the English-speaking world.

Verne's works also reflect the bitterness felt in France in the wake of defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871, and the loss of Alsace and Lorraine. The Begum's Millions (Les Cinq cents millions de la Begum) of 1879 gives a highly stereotypical depiction of Germans as monstrous cruel militarists — in marked contrast to pre-1871 works such as Journey to the Centre of the Earth, in which almost all the protagonists, including the sympathetic first-person narrator, are German.

Hetzel's influence

Hetzel's influence on Verne's writings was substantial, and Verne, happy to at last find somebody willing to publish his works, agreed on almost all changes that Hetzel suggested. Not only did Hetzel reject at least one novel (Paris in the 20th Century) completely, he asked Verne to change significant parts of his other drafts. One of the most important changes Hetzel enforced on Verne was to change the pessimism of his novels into optimism. Contrary to common perception, Verne was not a great enthusiast of technological and human progress (as can be seen from his early and late works, created before he met Hetzel and after his death). It was Hetzel's decision that the optimistic text would sell better — a correct one, as it turned out. For example, the original ending of Mysterious Island was supposed to show that the survivors who return to mainland are forever nostalgic about the island, however Hetzel decided that the ending should show the heroes living happily — so in the revised draft, they use their fortunes to build a replica of the island. Many translations are like this. Also, in order not to offend France's then-ally, Russia, the origin and past of the famous Captain Nemo were changed from those of a Polish refugee avenging the partitions of Poland and the death of his family in the January Uprising repressions to those of a Hindu fighting the British Empire after the Sikh War.

Selective bibliography

Jules Verne and some of the creatures from his novels
Enlarge
Jules Verne and some of the creatures from his novels

Verne wrote 54 novels in total.

  • Five Weeks in a Balloon (Cinq Semaines en ballon, 1863)
  • Paris in the 20th Century (Paris au XXe Siecle, 1863, not published until 1994)
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth (Voyage au centre de la Terre, 1864)
  • From the Earth to the Moon (De la terre la lune, 1865)
  • Journeys and Adventures of Captain Hatteras (Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras, 1866)
  • In Search of the Castaways or Captain Grant's Children (Les Enfants du capitaine Grant, 1867-1868)
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, 1870)
  • Around The Moon (Autour de la lune, a sequel to From the Earth to the Moon, 1870)
  • A Floating City (Une ville flottante, 1871)
  • Dr. Ox's Experiment (Une Fantaisie du Docteur Ox, 1872)
  • The Adventures of Three Englishmen and Three Russians in South Africa (Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais, 1872 )
  • The Fur Country (Le Pays des fourrures, 1873)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (Le Tour du Monde en quatre-vingts jours, 1873)
  • The Survivors of the Chancellor (Le Chancellor, 1875)
  • The Mysterious Island (L’le mysterieuse, 1875)
  • The Blockade Runners, (1876)
  • Michael Strogoff (Michel Strogoff, 1876)
  • Off On A Comet (Hector Servadac, 1877)
  • The Child of the Cavern, also known as Black Diamonds or The Black Indies (Les Indes noires, 1877)
  • Dick Sand, A Captain at Fifteen (Un Capitaine de quinze ans, 1878)
  • The Begum's Millions (Les Cinq cents millions de la Bgum, 1879)
  • The Steam House (La Maison vapeur, 1879)
  • The Tribulations of a Chinaman in China (Les tribulations d'un chinois en Chine), 1879
  • Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon (La Jangada, 1881)
  • The Green Ray (Le Rayon vert, 1882)
  • The Headstrong Turk (1883)
  • The Vanished Diamond (L’toile du sud, 1884)
  • The Archipelago on Fire (L’Archipel en feu, 1884)
  • Mathias Sandorf (1885)
  • Robur the Conqueror or The Clipper of the Clouds (Robur-le-Conqurant, 1886)
  • Ticket No. "9672" (Un Billet de loterie, 1886 )
  • North Against South (Nord contre Sud, 1887)
  • The Flight to France (Le Chemin de France, 1887)
  • Family Without a Name (Famille-sans-nom, 1888)
  • Two Years' Vacation (Deux Ans de vacances, 1888)
  • Topsy Turvy, (1890)
  • The Castle of the Carpathians (Le Chteau des Carpathes, 1892)
  • Propeller Island (L’le hlice, 1895)
  • The Purchase of the North Pole (Sans dessus dessous, the second sequel to From the Earth to the Moon, 1895)
  • Facing the Flag (Face au drapeau, 1896)
  • Clovis Dardentor (1896)
  • The Sphinx of the Ice Fields or An Antarctic Mystery (Le Sphinx des glaces, a sequel to Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, 1897)
  • The Mighty Orinoco (Le Superbe Ornoque, 1897)
  • The Village in the Treetops (Le Village arien, 1901)
  • The Master of the World (Matre du monde, sequel to Robur the Conqueror, 1904)
  • Invasion of the Sea (L’Invasion de la mer, 1904)
  • A drama in Livonia (Un Drame en Livonie, 1904)
  • The Lighthouse at the End of the World (Le Phare du bout du monde, 1905)
  • The Chase of the Golden Meteor (La Chasse au mtore, 1908)
  • The Danube Pilot (Le Pilote du Danube, 1908)
  • The Survivors of the 'Jonathan' (Le Naufrages du Jonathan, 1909)

See also

  • Paschal Grousset
  • Karl May
  • Zane Grey
  • B. Traven
  • Emilio Salgari
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Osip Senkovsky
  • Oshikawa Shunro
  • Steampunk, a style that took inspiration from Verne.

Further reading

  • William Butcher, Arthur C. Clarke (Introduction) (2006). Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography. ISBN 1560258543
  • Herbert R. Lottman (1997). Jules Verne: An Exploratory Biography. ISBN 0312146361


This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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