Verne, Jules

WRITER (FRANCE)
BORN 8 Feb 1828, Nantes - DIED 24 Mar 1905, Amiens: boulevard Longueville (now: 44, Bd Jules Verne)
GRAVE LOCATION Amiens, Somme: Cimetière La Madeleine

Father of the science fiction novel. Jules Verne grew up in Nantes, where his father was a prosperous lawyer. To be able to continue the practice he went to Paris to study law. There he was introduced in literary circles by his uncle and under the influence of Victor Hugo and Dumas Fils he started writing plays himself. When he was a 22 a comedy from his hand was performed in Paris. He passed his law exams all the same.

Verne was an admirer of Edgar Allen Poe and influenced by him he wrote his story "Les Premiers navires de la marine mexicaine et Un Voyage en ballon" (1851), about a voyage in a balloon.

In 1856 he went to Amiens for the wedding of a friend, but he fell in love with the mayors sister, Honorine, and married her in 1857.

Initially his writings weren't very succesful and he was a stockbroker as well until 1863. By then the publisher Jules Hetzel had started to publish his 'voyages extraordinaires' and would do so until the end of Verne's career. Verne spent much time on research for his books and his spectacular stories became popular all over the world.

From Verne's work it's clear that he held optimistical views towards technology and that he saw a leadng role for Europe in the world. After 1880 his tone became a bit more pessimistical.

Verne wrote a lot, but travelled little himself. In 1867 he visited the Niagara Falls with his brother and when he visited Gibraltar and North Africa he was celebrated there because of his work. In 1871 he settled in Amiens, where he made a 24 minute balloon flight in 1873.

His son Michel caused him some problems. He married an actress against the wishes of his father and later he ran away with a young girl, Jeanne, who bore him two kids. Eventually he divorced the actress and married Jeanne. He survived a murder attempt in 1888, when his mentally disturbed nephew Gaston shot him in the leg after he had refused to give him money. Verne was never able to walk normally afterwards and Gaston never returned to sanity. After suffering from diabetes Verne died in 1905.

Novels (among many others): "Voyage au centre de la terre" (1864, "Journey to the Centre of the Earth"); "Vingt Mille Lieues sous les Mers" (1870, "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea"); "Le Tour du Monde en 80 jours" (1873, "Around the World in Eighty Days").

Related persons
• was a friend of Dumas, Alexandre (fils)

Sources
Ricochet Sommaire

Images

The grave of Jules Verne at the Cimetière La Madeleine, Amiens.
Picture by Androom (25 Aug 2001)

 


Vernet, Horace

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 27 May 2005