Jules Verne: A Portrait

Joanna Richardson describes the life and work of the French father of science fiction.

Nearly a century ago, in 1873, Paris was engrossed in a new and remarkable work of science fiction: Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours.

Within the year it had been translated as Round the World in Eighty Days, and London revelled in Phileas Fogg, his imperturbable valet Passepartout, and how they made their journey and won their wager.

In 1874, in collaboration with Dennery, Jules Verne adapted his work for the stage; in recent years it has also inspired a film. It has remained among the most popular works ever written by its prolific, immensely successful author.

Jules Verne was born at Nantes on February 8th, 1828. He was educated at the local lycee. Even as a child he seems to have longed for adventure; when he was eleven years old he ‘ran away to sea’.

He was sent home in disgrace, and decided that henceforward he would travel only in his imagination. He was to keep his promise by writing about fifty voyages extraordinaires.

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