Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V = VERNE, Jules - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

IF you could go back in time and have a conversation with this author, what would you ask him? 

Jules Verne, c.1878 portrait by Felix Nadar, PD

V = Verne, Jules - Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ

Jules Gabriel Verne, February 8, 1828 - March 24, 1905,was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. He was best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction.

Verne was born in Nantes to bourgeois parents, and expected to follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer, but he quit that profession early on to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaires, which was a popular series of adventure novels including Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Verne is considered a major literary author by many in France and most of Europe, where he had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation differs greatly in Anglophone regions largely because of highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted. Hence, he was labeled a 'genre fiction' writer or an author of children's books. (In other words, snubbed by the literary judges. . .)

Sometimes called the 'Father of Science Fiction', Verne has said that he doesn't have any 'science' in his writing.  His works have been the second most translated in the world since 1979, ranking him between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare. 

Early on while still living in Nantes, Jules met a young woman one year older than himself and fell in love. He wrote and dedicated some 30 poems to here. Alas, her parents didn't approve of a young man with tenuous means of employment (writing), and married her instead to a wealthy landowner ten years her senior. This aborted love affair seems to have permanently marked the author and his work as his novels include a significant number of young women married against their will. . .As a result, Verne also bore a grudge against his birthplace and Nantes society. 

Verne used his family connections to make an entrance into Paris society. His uncle Francisque de Chateaubourg introduced him into literary salons. Verne said that at that time, he could have recited by heart whole pages of Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, but he was most influenced by his dramatic work. 

In 1848, Verne began getting violent stomach cramps, the first of many he would suffer from during his life. Many modern scholars have hypothesized that he had colitis. In 1851, he would acquire another health problem, the first of four attacks of facial paralysis. These were due to an inflammation in the middle ear, though this cause remained unknown to Verne during his life. 

In 1869, Verne and Hetzel (his publisher) had a conflict over his manuscript for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. After that, Verne didn't collaborate as he had done, but two or more volumes a year, from the Voyages extraordinaires, continued to be published. The most successful of those stories are: Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Voyage au centre de la Terre) (1864); From the Earth to the Moon (De la Terre a la Lune) (1865); Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Vingt mille lieues sous les mers) (1869) and Around the World in Eighty Days (Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) (1872). Jules could now live on his writings. Now Verne was enthusiastically received in France by writers and scientists alike.

As Verne's popularity grew among readers and attendees of his plays (especially Around the World in Eighty Days) led to a gradual change in his literary reputation. He was seen by contemporary critics of his day as a 'mere genre-based storyteller' rather than a serious author worthy of academic study. This denial of his formal literary status took different forms including dismissive criticism by Emile Zola and the lack of nomination to Verne for membership in the Academie Francaise. 

Verne said in a late-in-life interview: "The great regret of my life is that I have never taken any place in French literature." Verne considered himself a man of letters and an artist, living in the pursuit of the ideal, and this dismissal on the basis of literary ideology was the ultimate snub. (Do we remember his critics? NO. Do we remember him YES, many do. Point made.)

On March 24, 1905, while ill with diabetes, Verne died at his home in Amiens. Little did he know his work would be celebrated by many in this new century (the 20th). Below is an image of his tomb.

Tomb of Jules Verne, Amiens, PD

Verne himself flatly denied that he was a futuristic prophet, saying that any connection between scientific developments and his work were 'mere coincidence' and attributing his indisputable scientific accuracy to his extensive research. He took notes from any book, newspaper, magazine or scientific report that he came across because he was interested in these things himself, but also to use in his own writings.

I consider this man a hero for having the will to pursue his own style, regardless of the snobbery of the literati. It reminded me of the French Impressionists and their snubbing from the art salons in the late 1800s. He also furthered a genre I love to read.

Have you read any of Jules Verne's works? What about the movies which incorporate elements of Jules Verne's original books? Do you think Jules Verne has been an influence on the popularity of Steampunk? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Sorry about the late posting today. . .

A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge




 Restored photograph of Jules Verne by Félix Nadar circa 1878

Photograph taken circa 1878, according to the subject's grandson. See Jean Jules-Verne, Jules Verne: a biography  Age about 50

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.

Verne's Tomb
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
Attribution: lepoSs

This file is free content in the United States but non-free or potentially non-free in its country of origin. Wikimedia Commons only accepts files that are public domain or freely licensed in both the country of origin and the United States.
This image become public domain in France in 2023.