Jules Verne
Around the World in 80 Days


"He lived alone, and so to speak, outside of every social relation; and as he knew that in this world account must be taken of friction, and that friction retards, he never rubbed against anybody" (Around the World in Eighty Days)

Jules Verne was born to family of a seafaring and legal beackground in Nantes in 1828, where he was also educated. He studied to become a lawyer in Paris between 1847 and 1849 and married Honorine de Vione in 1857 before setting off on various trips to England, Scotland and New York. Verne suffered misfortune aplenty. Not only was shot in the foot by his insane nephew so that he walked with a limp for the rest of his life but he also underwent a series of attacks of facial paralysis. Nonetheless the writer had the good fortune to be elected councillor in Amiens in 1888 to be re-elected repeatedly until the early 1900s.

Verne is famous for popularising science in a number of vividly imagined and often visionary adventure stories. His first success as a writer was with Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863). The author is best known now for his Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864) which is fairly self-explanatory in concept; The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866), about a polar expedition; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), about Captain Nemo and his submarine "Nautilus". Most famous of all his novels, though, is Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). This story concerned, as the title suggests, the traversing of the world in miraculously fast time (on a bet) of a certain quiet and refined English gentleman, Phileas Fogg, and his valet Passepartout.

Verne's special talent was for writing books that explored the new sense that anything could be done in the nineteenth century particularly as regards transport. By providing logical and seemingly possible ways of exploring in fiction the ends of the earth from every viewpoint, Verne was one of the first writers of science fiction. He takes us to extremes without allowing them ever to seem implausible. However, with this exploration in mind, Verne rarely bothers with more than surface characterisation and tends instead to rely on comical stereotypes. Worse for the modern reader is that Verne's heroes are always male and go about their scientifical explorations with no money troubles and no women. They are, however, rollicking jaunts through the exciting possibilities presented by the constraints of earthly life.

Virgina.edu The life and works of Jules Verne, contains a short biography and bibliography, books reviews, commentary and pictures
Collectors Guide A collectors guide on Jules Verne
Zvi Har'El's Jules Verne Collection Including various links to other related sites as well as to other related societies
The Jules Verne Collection A collection of various things related to the great french wirter

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