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Some of his works have been made into films. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through. Where were we going now, and what was reserved for the future? It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. Where, I could not say, hardly imagine. All was black, and such a dense black that, after some minutes, my eyes had not been able to discern even the faintest glimmer.

The oldest of five children, he spent his early years at home with his parents. The family spent summers in a country house just outside the city, on the banks of the Loire River. Verne and his brother Paul, of whom Verne was very fond, would often rent a boat for a franc a day. The sight of the many ships navigating the river sparked Verne's imagination, as he describes in the autobiographical short story "Souvenirs d'Enfance et de Jeunesse".

As a child, he developed a great interest in travel and exploration, a passion he showed as a writer of adventure stories and science fiction. At twelve, he snuck onto a ship that was bound for India, the Coralie , only to be caught and severely whipped by his father. He famously stated, "I shall from now on only travel in my imagination.

One of his teachers may have been the French inventor Brutus de Villeroi, professor of drawing and mathematics at Saint Donatien in , and who later became famous for creating the U. Navy's first submarine, the Alligator. De Villeroi may have inspired 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.

At Nantes in , when De Villeroi and a companion submerged for two hours in a ten foot submarine, Verne was seven years old. For years afterward, De Villeroi carried on submarine experiments in Nantes. When Verne's father discovered that his son was writing rather than studying law, he promptly withdrew his financial support. Verne was forced to support himself as a stockbroker, which he hated despite being somewhat successful at it.

Dumas would become a close friend of Verne. Verne also met Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. They were married on 10 January With her encouragement, he continued to write and actively looked for a publisher. On 3 August , their son, Michel Jean Verne, was born.

A classic enfant terrible , Michel was sent to Mettray Penal Colony in and later married an actress in spite of Verne's objections , had two children by his year-old mistress, and buried himself in debts. The relationship between father and son did improve as Michel grew older. 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. They formed an excellent writer-publisher team until Hetzel's death.

Hetzel helped improve Verne's writings, which until then had been repeatedly rejected by other publishers. Hetzel read a draft of Verne's story about the balloon exploration of Africa, which had been rejected by other publishers for being "too scientific". With Hetzel's help, Verne rewrote the story, which was published in 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. In , Verne wrote an admiring study of the works of Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Poe et ses oeuvres , and it is not difficult to see Poe's works, published in France as Histoires extraordinaires Extraordinary Stories , as a source of inspiration for Verne.

by Julio Verne

From that point to years after Verne's death, Hetzel published two or more volumes a year. The series is collectively known as "Les Voyages Extraordinaires" "extraordinary voyages". Verne could now live on his writings. But most of his wealth came from the stage adaptations of Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours and Michel Strogoff , a relatively conventional adventure tale set in Tsarist Russia, which he adapted for the stage with Adolphe d'Ennery. According to the Unesco Index Translationum, Jules Verne regularly places among the top five most translated authors in the world.

Last years On 9 March , as Verne approached his own home, his twenty-five-year-old nephew Gaston, who suffered from paranoia, shot twice at him with a gun. One bullet missed, but the second entered Verne's left leg, giving him a permanent limp. Gaston spent the rest of his life in an asylum. After the deaths of Hetzel and his beloved mother in , Verne began writing darker works. This may have been due partly to changes in his personality, but an important factor was that Hetzel's son, who took over his father's business, was not as rigorous in his edits and corrections as Hetzel Sr.

In , Verne entered politics and was elected town councilor of Amiens, where he championed several improvements and served for fifteen years. Though elected from the left he stood with the right on the Dreyfus Affair and was anti-Dreyfusard, although the theme of wrongful conviction and judicial corruption found in "The Kip Brothers", one of his last novels, suggests he may have become a Dreyfusard later in life.

The "Voyages extraordinaires" series continued for several years afterwards in the same rhythm of two volumes a year. It was later discovered that Michel Verne had made extensive changes in these stories, and the original versions were published at the end of the 20th century. In , Verne wrote Paris in the 20th Century , a novel 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 It was published in Some English publishers felt 20, Leagues Under the Sea portrayed the British Empire in a bad light, and the first English translator, Reverend Lewis Page Mercier, working under a pseudonym, removed many offending passages. Agnes Kinloch Kingston writing in the name of her husband, W.

Kingston deleted parts of The Mysterious Island such as those describing the political actions of Captain Nemo in his incarnation as an Indian nobleman freedom fighter. Such negative depictions were not, however, invariable in Verne's works; for example, Facing the Flag features, in the character of Lieutenant Devon, a heroic, self-sacrificing Royal Navy officer worthy of any created by British authors. Some of Verne's most famous heroes were British e. Mercier and subsequent British translators also had trouble with the metric system that Verne used, sometimes dropping significant figures, at other times changing the unit to an Imperial measure without changing the corresponding value.

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Thus Verne's calculations, which in general were remarkably exact, were converted into mathematical gibberish. Also, artistic passages and sometimes whole chapters were cut to fit the work into a constrained space for publication. For these reasons, Verne's work initially acquired a reputation in English-speaking countries of not being fit for adult readers. This in turn prevented it from being taken seriously enough to merit new translations, and those of Mercier and others were reprinted decade after decade.

Only from on have some of his novels received more accurate translations, but even today Verne's work has not been fully rehabilitated in the English-speaking world. Verne's works may also reflect the bitterness France felt in the wake of its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War —71 and the consequent loss of Alsace and Lorraine.

The Begum's Millions Les Cinq cents millions de la Begum of gives a highly stereotypical depiction of Germans as monstrously cruel militarists. By contrast, the rare portrayals of Germans are positive in pre 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 rejected at least one novel Paris in the 20th Century , and asked Verne to make significant changes in his other drafts. One of the most important changes Hetzel imposed on Verne was the adoption of a more optimistic tone.

Verne was in fact not an enthusiast of technological and human progress, as can be seen in the works he created both before he met Hetzel and after the publisher's death. For example, The Mysterious Island originally ended with the survivors returning to mainland forever nostalgic about the island. Hetzel decided that the heroes should live 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 famous Captain Nemo was changed from a Polish refugee avenging the partitions of Poland and the death of his family, killed in the reprisals following the January Uprising, to an Indian prince fighting the British Empire after the Sikh War. Paris in the 20th Century is an often cited example of this as it arguably describes air conditioning, automobiles, electricity, television, even the Internet, and other modern conveniences very similar to their real world counterparts.

Another example is From the Earth to the Moon , which, apart from using a space gun instead of a rocket, is uncannily similar to the real Apollo Program, as three astronauts are launched from the Florida peninsula and recovered through a splash landing. In other works, Verne predicted the inventions of helicopters, jukeboxes, and other later devices.

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He also predicted the existence of underwater hydrothermal vents that were not discovered until years after he wrote about them. Another example appears in Mysterious Island , where the main character's dog is attacked by a wild dugong, even though the dugong, like its North American cousin, the manatee, is a herbivorous mammal. Also in Mysterious Island , because of its fauna and flora, the sailor Bonadventure Pencroff asks Cyrus Harding whether the latter believes that islands like the one they are on are made especially to be ideal ones for castaways.

In From the Earth to the Moon , it was the material used in the creation of the cannon, although in this case it was probably poetic license in order to make the description of the making of the gun far more dramatic, or The Begum's Millions , where the methods used for making steel in "Steel City", described as the most modern steel factory in the world, were rather dated, but, again, much more spectacular to describe. See Neff, He also wrote short stories, essays, plays, and poems.

Note: only the dates of the first English translation and the most common translation title are given. One or two other of Rockwood's titles also seem to lesser resemble some of Verne's, e. Most of Verne's most famous novels, and some of his lesser known ones, received French, American, German, and Soviet adaptations in the s, s, and s, but probably the best known film adaptations of Verne's works came from American studios in the mids to early s. These were large-scale productions featuring top American, British, and international stars.

While American studios' interest in Verne waned after this period, productions in other countries and smaller scale American productions have continued pretty much without interruption since the invention of film, up to this day. A recent example is the remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth which was in 3D, starred Brendan Fraser, and was a highly successful box office hit. Other notable twenty-first century adaptations include the remake of Around the World in 80 Days starring Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan and the version of Mysterious Island starring Patrick Stewart which was only loosely based on the novel.

There were also references to many of Verne's works in the unsuccessful film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In , three British film-makers announced their upcoming film adaptation of "Clovis Dardentor", one of Verne's lesser known works. The majority of the many film and television productions of Verne's works have concentrated on his most famous novels, but there have also been film adaptations of many of his lesser known works, such as The Lighthouse at the End of the World , The Carpathian Castle , and The Vanished Diamond , filmed as The Southern Star.


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Michael Strogoff has been a particularly popular property for adaptation by non-Americans, having been filmed at least a dozen times for cinema and television, starting in There have also been animated adaptations. Skip to main content.

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