Jules Verne

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Verne, Jules

(vûrn; zhül vĕrn), 1828–1905, French novelist, originator of modern science fiction. After completing his studies at the Nantes lycée, he went to Paris to study law. He early became interested in the theater and wrote (1848–50) librettos for operettas. For some years his concerns alternated between business and the theater, but after 1863 he drew upon his interest in science and geography to write a series of romances of extraordinary journeys, in which he anticipated, with remarkable foresight, many scientific and technological achievements of the 20th cent.

Verne is especially known to English readers in translations of his Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1870), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), The Mysterious Island (1875), and Michael Strogoff (1876). Extremely popular, he wrote more than 50 books by the time he died. Plays and motion pictures have been made from many of his works, which are still widely read, particularly by the young. In 1989 the manuscript of Verne's long-lost 1863 novel Paris in the 20th Century was discovered; the pessimistic and prophetic futurist work was published in 1994.


See A. B. Evans, Jules Verne Rediscovered (1988); H. Lottman, Jules Verne: An Exploratory Biography (1996).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Verne, Jules


Born Feb. 8, 1828, in Nantes; died Mar. 24, 1905, in Amiens. French writer. One of the creators of the genre of the science fiction novel. The son of a lawyer. Lawyer by education.

Verne’s literary activity began in 1849 as an author of unimportant plays. At the end of 1862 (dated 1863), Verne’s first novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was published. Subsequently he published more than 65 novels of science fiction, travel adventure, and social satire, as well as novellas and short stories, such as A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Around the Moon (1869), Captain Grant’s Children (1867-68), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1869-70), Around the World in Eighty Days (1872), The Mysterious Island (1875), and Dick Sands, A Captain at Fifteen (1878). Verne is also the author of works on geography and the history of geographical explorations. His creative work is permeated with the romanticism of science, with the discovery of the secrets of our planet and the universe. Verne’s hero is the unselfish scientist and humanist, who is at times a fighter against tyranny and national oppression. A democrat and a believer in the republican form of government, Verne was linked with the Utopian socialists and the leaders of the 1871 Paris Commune. He argued against the use of scientific achievements in the interests of rich men (the short story “In the 29th Century: One Day of an American Journalist in the Year 2889,” 1889; the novel Propeller Island, 1895). In a number of Verne’s novels there appears the character of the misanthropic scientist who is striving for world domination (The Begum’s Fortune, 1879; The Master of the World, 1904) or the scientist who furnishes weapons to tyrants who utilize science for criminal ends (For the Flag, 1896, and others).

In Russia the creative work of Verne has long enjoyed continuous favor. His first novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon (Russian translation, An Aerial Journey Across Africa, 1864), was favorably reviewed by M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin (see Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 5, 1937, p. 379). A crater on the far side of the moon has been named after Verne.


In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1-88. St. Petersburg, 1906-07.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-12. Moscow, 1954-57.
Istoriia velikikh puteshestvii, vols. 1-3. Leningrad, 1958-61.


Andreev, K. Tri zhizni Zh. Verna. Moscow, 1956.
Brandis, E. Zh. Vern. Leningrad, 1963.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Brandis, E., and M. Lazarev. Zhiul’ Vern: Biobibliografcheskii ukazatel’, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1959.
Alloue de la Fuÿe, M. Jules Verne: Sa vie, son oeuvre [2nd ed.]. Paris, 1953.
Frank, B. Jules Verne et ses voyages [2nd ed.]. Paris, 1955.
Yanatka, J. M. Neznámý Jules Verne: Jeho skutečný život, osobnost a dílo. Prague, 1959.
Evans, I. O. Jules Verne and His Work. London, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.