Jules Verne was a French author and pioneer of the “adventure” genre. He is the second most translated author in the world, since 1979, ranking after William Shakespeare and before Agatha Christie. Verne is regarded by many as one of the fathers of science fiction, along with authors like H.G. Wells. He is best known for his adventure novels, such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- Jules Verne was born on February 8, 1828.
- In 1857, the author married Honorine de Viane Morel.
- His father resisted the young Verne’s desire to become an author, instead of encouraging him to inherit the family’s law practice.
- It was in 1862 that Verne began his series of novels known as “Voyages Extraordinaires.”
- Jules Verne passed away on March 24, 1905, from chronic diabetes and complications from a stroke.
- The importance of his literary contributions was only acknowledged after his death.
- On March 9, 1886, Verne’s 26-year-old nephew shot him twice with a pistol.
- The stage production of his novel Around the World in Eighty Days was commercially popular.
- He was friends with Alexandre Dumas and the author’s son.
- He suffered from violent stomach cramps throughout his life.
- Verne missed the birth of his son, and an only biological child, Michel.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – a well-loved novel that was initially serialized between 1869 and 1870 in French. The novel tells the story of the discovery of the Nautilus submarine, the adventures of Captain Nemo, and more. Verne was famously inspired by a model of a French submarine that he examined at the 1867 Exposition Universelle to write the novel.
- From the Earth to the Moon – is an 1865 novel that tells the story of a society of weapons enthusiasts in America and their creation of an enormous space gun. They launch a projectile into space with the goal of landing on the moon.
- Five Weeks in a Balloon – or, Five Weeks in a Balloon, or, A Journey of Discover by Three Englishmen in Africa, is the first of Verne’s adventure novels, published in 1863. The book describes the plains of Africa, an environment that many readers, at the time, knew little about.
- Around the World in Eighty Days – was first published in French in 1872, and describes the journey of Phileas Fogg and his valet who attempt to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. It is one of Verne’s most popular literary accomplishments.
- Journey to the Center of the Earth– was first published in French in 1864 and describes the adventures of an eccentric professor who journeys, through volcanic tubes, to the center of the earth. There, the explorers discover prehistoric creatures, an underground ocean, and more.
In 1857, the author married Honorine de Viane Morel, a young widow with two children of her own. In July 1858, Jules Verne took his first trip outside of France a sea voyage from Bordeaux to Liverpool and Scotland that was offered at no charge via a friend’s brother. He utilized this trip as inspiration in his semi-autobiographical novel, Backwards to Britain, which was not published until 1989. During a later trip, Verne missed the birth of his son, and his only biological child, Michel.
It was in 1862 that Verne began his series of novels known as “Voyages Extraordinaires,” the first of which was Five Weeks in a Balloon, published in 1863. The book was followed by his best-known literary works including Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).
Later Life and Death
On March 9, 1886, Verne’s 26-year-old nephew shot him twice with a pistol. The second bullet entered Verne’s leg resulting in a permanent limp he dealt with for the rest of his life. This was one of several darker events in Verne’s later life, including the death of his mother. In 1888, he was elected town councilor of Amiens and served in that role for fifteen years. He was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in 1870 and then an Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 1892.
Jules Verne passed away on March 24, 1905, from chronic diabetes and complications from a stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side. He died in his home in Amiens and his later works were published by his son. Amazingly, an unknown novel titled Paris in the Twentieth Century was discovered and published by Verne’s great-grandson in 1994.
Verne’s legacy during his life was complicated. He was commercially popular, particularly due to the successful stage version of his novel Around the World in Eighty Days, but, he was never acknowledged as an author of broader literary importance in France, at least during his lifetime. It was only after his death, that Verne’s stylistic skill, literary themes, originality, and more were fully appreciated for their influence.
In the years after his death, French journals devoted issues to Jules Verne, and his work, and included essays by a variety of highly regarded French authors, including Michel Foucault. Today, he is considered one of the most important authors in French history and is cited as incredibly influential on later literary movements like surrealism and the avant-garde.
Influence from other Writers
Jules Verne was notably influenced by writers such as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Jean-Paul Sarte, Paul Claudel, and more.
Literature by Jules Verne
Explore literature by Jules Verne below, created by the team at Book Analysis.