Around the World in 80 Days. Jules Verne.
Jules Verne. Around the World in 80 Days.
About the author
Jules Verne (February 8, 1828 March 24, 1905) was a French writer and a pioneer of the science fiction (scientific romance) genre. Verne was born in Nantes to attorney Pierre Verne and his wife Sophie. The oldest of the family's five children, he spent his early years at home with his parents, on a nearby island in the Loire River. This isolated setting helped to strengthen both his imagination and the bond between him and his younger brother Paul. At the age of nine, the pair were sent to boarding school at the Nantes lycée. There Jules studied Latin, which was used later in his short story Le Mariage de Monsieur Anselme des Tilleuls (mid-1850, not yet translated into English). The following legend was created by his second French biographer, Marguerite Allotte de la Fuye: Verne's fascination with adventure asserted itself at an early age, inspiring him at one point to stow away on a ship bound for Asia. His voyage was cut short, however, as he found his father waiting for him at the next port. After completing his studies at the lycée, Verne went to Paris to study for the bar. About 1848, in conjunction with Michel Carre, 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 Musée 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 the law, he promptly withdrew his financial support. Consequently, he was forced to support himself as a stockbroker, which he hated, although he was a success at it. During this period, he met the authors Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, who offered him some advice on his writing. It was during this period he met Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. They married on January 10, 1857. With her encouragement, he continued to write and actively try to find a publisher. On August 4, 1861, their son, Michel Jean Pierre Verne, was born. A classic enfant terrible, he married an actress over Verne’s objections, and had two children by his underage mistress. Verne’s situation improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the most important French publishers of the 19th century, who published also Victor Hugo, George Sand, and Erckmann-Chatrian, among others. 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). Verne became wealthy and famous. From that point on, and for nearly a quarter of a century, scarcely a year passed in which Hetzel did not publish one or more of his stories. The most successful of these include: Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864); De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865); Vingt Mille Lieues sous les mers (20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, 1869); and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), which first appeared in Le Temps in 1872. After his first novel, most of his stories were first serialized in the Magasin d’Education et de Recreation, 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. He remains the most translated novelist in the world, in 148 languages, according to the UNESCO statistics.