Jules Verne is an extremely popular French writer, the founder of science fiction along with Herbert George Wells. Verne’s works, written for both adolescents and adults, captured the adventurous spirit of the 19th century, its charm, scientific progress and inventions. Most of his novels were written in the form of travel notes that take readers to the moon in “From Earth to the Moon” or in a completely different direction – in “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. Many of Verne’s ideas turned out to be prophetic. Among his most famous books is the adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days (1873).
“Ah – what a journey – what a wonderful and unusual journey! We entered the Earth through one volcano, and came out through another. And this other one was more than twelve thousand leagues from Sneffels, from this dreary country of Iceland … We left the area of eternal snows and left behind a gray fog of icy open spaces to return to the azure sky of Sicily! ”(From“ Journey to the Center of the Earth ”, 1864)
Jules Verne was born and raised in Nantes.
His father was a successful lawyer. To continue the family tradition, Verne moved to Paris, where he studied law. His uncle introduced him to literary circles, and he began to publish plays under the influence of writers such as Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas (son), whom Verne knew personally. Despite the fact that Vern devoted most of his time to writing books, he received a law degree. At that time, Verne suffered from digestive problems that periodically bothered him throughout his life.
In 1854, Charles Baudelaire translated the work of Edgar Allan Poe into French. Verne became one of the most devoted admirers of the American writer and wrote his “Journey in a Balloon” (1851) under the influence of Poe. Later, Jules Verne will write the continuation of the unfinished novel Poe, “The Story of Gordon Pym,” called the Sphinx of the Ice Plains (1897). When his career as a writer slowed down, Verne again turned to brokerage, a business he had been working on before the publication of the novel Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863), which was included in the series Unusual Travels. In 1862, Verne met Pierre Jules Etzel, publisher and writer for children, who published Verne’s “Extraordinary Travels”. They collaborated until the end of the creative path of Jules Verne. Etzel also worked with Balzac and George Sand. He carefully read the manuscripts of Vern and was not shy about suggesting corrections. Verne’s early work, Twentieth Century Paris, did not please the publisher, and it never appeared in print until 1997 in English.
Verne’s novels soon gained incredible popularity in the world. Without the education of a scientist and the experience of a traveler, Vern spent most of his time researching for his works. Unlike fantasy literature, such as “Alice in Wonderland” (1865) by Lewis Carroll, Vern tried to be realistic and stick to the facts in detail. When Wells invented “cavitator,” a substance not subject to gravity, in “First Man on the Moon,” Vern was unhappy: “I sent my heroes to the moon with gunpowder, this can actually happen. And where will Mr. Wells find his “favorite”? Let him show it to me! ”However, when the logic of the novel contradicted modern scientific knowledge, Vern did not adhere to the facts. “Around the World in 80 Days”, a novel about the realistic and courageous journey of Phileas Fogg, is based on the real journey of the American George Francis Train (1829-1904). A Journey to the Center of the Earth is vulnerable to criticism from a geological point of view. The story tells of an expedition that penetrates the very heart of the Earth. In “Hector Servadak” (1877), Hector and his servant circumnavigate the entire solar system on a comet.
In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Vern described one of the forefathers of modern superheroes, the misanthropic captain Nemo, and his amazing submarine Nautilus, named after the steam submarine Robert Fulton. “Mysterious Island” is a novel about the exploits of people who find themselves on a desert island. In these works, on which films were made more than once, Vern combined science and inventions with adventures that turned to the past. Some of his works became a reality: his spaceship preceded the invention of a real rocket a century later. The first electric submarine, built in 1886 by two Englishmen, was named by Nautilus in honor of the Vernovsky ship. The first nuclear submarine launched in 1955 was also called the Nautilus.
The Disney film “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954) (directed by Richard Fleischer) won an Oscar for special effects, including a mechanical giant squid controlled by Bob Mattley. The interiors of Nautilus were recreated according to the book of Jules Verne. James Mason played captain Nemo, and Kirk Douglas played Ned Land, a hefty sailor. Mike Todd’s film “Around the World in 80 Days” (1957) won the Academy Award for Best Picture, but could not receive any awards for 44 secondary roles. The film starred 8552 animals.