Jules Verne: A Reappraisal

William Butcher

At first sight, to choose to write about a popular author like Jules Verne in a learned journal may seem strange. didn't we all see through Verne at the age of ten or eleven? Haven't all his predictions happened long ago?

My contention is that the answer to each of these questions is "no". Jules Verne has always been considered a children's writer in the English-speaking countries. My aim in this article is not to argue against such a view; but to argue that he is also, perhaps above all, a writer for adults. I shall also claim that by placing this writer in a category that is often looked down upon, Verne has been unjustly neglected. In my view, Verne's public reputation hides works of considerable literary merit, which can be read with great pleasure at any age.

As one brief indication of the importance of the Voyages extraordinaires, one can point out that they have sold three times as many copies as Shakespeare, and nine times as many copies as their closest French rival (Saint-Exupéry); and that Verne has probably been also the most translated writer in the world over the last two decades. (1)

As another pointer, one can refer to the considerable amount of university research carried out on Verne in recent years. This includes four major conferences, at least nine doctorates, including Jean Delabroy's 1200-page "Jules Verne et l'imaginaire", Andrew Martin's "The Knowledge of Ignorance", and my own "A Study of Time in Jules Verne's Voyages extraordinaires", plus, finally, several learned books published in Britain and America. (2)

It is perhaps not irrelevant, either, that three of the authors have been at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, that high-powered centre for training French university teachers. There also exist studies on Verne by such household names – in France – as Roland Barthes, Michel Serres, Michel Foucault, Pierre Macherey, Jean Chesneaux, Marc Soriano, Michel Butor, and Jean Ricardou. The very serious Revue des Lettres Modernes, finally, publishes regular collections of articles on the literary aspects of this writer. (3)

Verne's reputation in the English-speaking countries, of being a simplistic and unliterary figure, is therfore totally misinformed. What all the recent studies have shown is that understanding the Voyages at more than a superficial level is difficult if one does not notice that they contain a large number of revealing oppositions. These include: a bien-pensant conservatism, but also a support for oppressed peoples from the Québecois to the Australian Aborigines; descriptions of technological progress, but also analyses of its pernicious effects on human society; the use of conventional happy endings with everybody married off, but also the pervading presence in the texts of a strong sensuality, sometimes homosexual in tendency; and direct borrowing from many of the contemporary sources, but also influences from classical mythology and from Poe, Scott, Defoe, Dickens, and Stendhal. The studies have above all shown that the reason Verne has survived as a writer is not the scientific aspects per se of the works, but their literary qualities: amongst others, their intrinsic complexity and their universal themes.

Ultimately, though, attitudes to works of literature are a matter of individual taste. My principal aim in this study will merely be to argue that virtually all of the popular conceptions on Verne are either wrong or else irrelevant to the actual works. In this way, I hope to defuse the usual attacks on this writer, in terms of his "just" being a children's writer, and point the way to a proper appreciation of his works. In very rapid summary, I will attempt to show that Verne was not a great traveller; that some of "his" books were not written by him after all; that his works were not generally set in the future; that his "anticipations" were not especially accurate or original; that his attitude to progress was not one of naive admiration; and that the term "science-fiction" – at least in its usual sense – is not appropriate to Verne's works.

First, Verne's life. He was born in Nantes (1828), studied and worked in Paris (1847-66), and lived in or near Amiens for the last forty years (1866-1905). He left France for the first time at the age of thirty-one, and his most adventurous exploits were cruises to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the United States (on the Great Eastern). (4)

This bald summary of Verne's life does not tell us a great deal. But many of the more interesting incidents that have been recounted are to be taken with a large pinch of salt: for instance, the story that, at the age of ten, Verne tried to run away to sea, was caught and beaten by his parents, and promised "Désormais, je ne voyagerai que dans les rêves". (5) The foundation for this story seems to be particularly shaky. (6)

Secondly, the question of who actually wrote the Voyages extraordinaires. Correspondence demonstrates that Verne's publisher and adviser, Jules Hetzel père, provided many ideas for the Voyages extraordinaires, and even rewrote some passages for his author. (7) Similarly, although Les Cinq cents millions de la Bégum (1879) and L'Etoile du Sud (1884) were published under Verne's sole name, they were in fact based on manuscripts by André Laurie (pseudonym of Paschal Grousset). (8) Furthermore, the short story "In the Year 2889" – published in English in The Forum (1889) – cannot be totally Jules Verne's work as he could not read English, (9) let alone write it. The letters prove that it was written by Jules Verne's son, Michel, and then presumably translated into English (or, at the very least, extensively revised, although it still contain a certain number of Gallicisms). (10) It was presumably Michel who published it in French for the 1890 and 1891 editions in the Mémoires de l'Académie . . . d'Amiens and Le Petit journal. (11)

As for the posthumous Voyages extraordinaires, there had always existed some doubt as to their authenticity. Even so, the literary world was shocked a few years ago by articles by Count Piero Gondola della Riva (12) arguing that Michel Verne's role was much more extensive than that of merely putting the manuscripts in order, as he claimed. (13) These assertions have in fact been proved by the recent publication of three of Jules Verne's original – and very different – manuscripts. In this way, one can ascribe to Michel: complete chapters of Le Volcan d'or (1906), La Chasse au météore (1908), Le Pilote du Danube (1908), Les Naufragés du "Jonathan" (1909), and Le Secret de Wilhelm Storitz (1910); virtually the whole of L'Agence Thompson and C (1907) and of l'Etonnante aventure de la mission Barsac (1919); and probably the masterpiece "L'Eternel Adam" (1910) in its entirety.

Internal evidence confirms that some of the apparent anticipations in the posthumous works do seem to be later additions due to Michel Verne. Not only are some of the ideas expressed characteristic of the posthumous period – such as the equivalence of matter and energy, (14) first postulated in Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity (1905); but also the vocabulary is indicative. Even accepting the idea of posthumous authorship, certain words predate what the Larousse de la langue française: Lexis (1977) gives as their first usage: "électro-ioniques", "subconscient", "planeur", "syntonisation", "sans-fil". (15)

But even though certain words, sentences, and chapters have been proved to have come from Michel's pen, we cannot in general rule out the possibility of spoken or written material by Jules Verne being a direct source. The difficulty is compounded by disagreement in opinions as to whether or not the posthumous works are typically "Vernian". In the light of these uncertainties, the best policy for future research would seem to be to accept Michel Verne's contributions as an integral part of the Voyages extraordinaires, but simultaneously to consider them as a particularly well-informed "commentary" on the rest, as a discourse at a second level which extrapolates tendencies from the previous works, occasionally to the point of pastiche.

Nevertheless, the problem of Michael Verne's contribution is far from resolved; and it is surprising that Gondola della Riva's revelations have so far produced little critical reaction or response. Now that both versions are available, enticing avenues for research have been opened up.

The third myth is the one that Verne's works were set in the future. The very first Voyage to have an internal setting posterior to the date of publication was Robur-le-conquérant (1886), which mentions the existence of the "Tour en fer de l'Exposition de 1889" (RC 12). (16) But others followed in rapid succession. The titles of "In the Year 2889" (1889) and "Un Express de l'avenir" (1893) speak for themselves, but there are also Sans dessus dessous (1889), Le Château des Carpathes (1892), Claudius Bombarnac (1892), L'Ile à hélice (1895), L'Invasion de la mer (1905), and "L'Eternel Adam" (1910), whose setting is divided between the third and the twenty-third millennia. Nevertheless, virtually all the best-known works are set in the past or present – and it was probably only his decreasing success with the general public that led Verne to try to adapt his later works to . . . his own reputation for "anticipations"!

In this perspective, we can observe that some of the more daring "anticipations" do occur in these later works, with notably descriptions of: an aeroplane helicopter (Robur-le-conquérant), a pneumatically-driven train under the Atlantic ("Un Express de l'avenir"), a giant cannon designed to correct the Earth's axis (Sans dessus dessous), perfect audio-visual reproduction (Le Château des Carpathes), a Trans-Siberian railway (Claudius Bombarnac), a motorised floating island (L'Ile à hélice), and a project to transform the Sahara into an extension of the Mediterranean (L'Invasion de la mer). "In the Year 2889" describes the disappearance of horse-drawn transport, trains at 1500 km hr, worldwide televised news in colour, weather control, a life expectancy of sixty-eight years, communication with the planets, algebraic "compteurs" (anagramme of "computers" . . .), aerial publicity, skyscrapers, and a reduction of the chemical elements to three basic units and then to one. (17) In "L'Eternel Adam", interplanetary communication, pneumatic trains, aircraft, and colour photography re-occur (EA 233), but the major discovery – one with surprising side-effects – is that "on avait pénétré l'intime nature du phénomène de la vie (. . .) dont les prodigieuses découvertes permettaient d'espérer, pour un avenir prochain, l'immortalité des organismes animés" (EA 233).

But the works set in the future do not have a monopoly of such "predictions". In the other works, also, one can observe such innovations as the extensive role of electricity (Vingt mille lieues and La Maison à vapeur passim), of the "heavier-than-air" ("A propos du `Géant' " (TO 101), Maître du monde), of the submarine in Vingt mille lieues but also in L'Ile mystérieuse, Face an drapeau and Mathias Sandorf, of an explosive in Face au drapeau which is claimed by its inventor to be capable of blowing the globe up (FD 174), and of the laser, remote control, artificial rain, radiotelephone, and torture by means of electric shock in L'Etonnante aventure de la mission Barsac (1919) (MB 344; 344; 345; 346; 377). Amongst precise events "predicted", perhaps the most striking is the fact that the moon-rocket of De la Terre à la Lune and Autour de la Lune is the same height and weight as Apollo 8, like it is launched from Florida and observed by means of a giant telescope in the Rocky Mountains, and like it splashes down in the Pacific, at a point only four kilometres away from that of Apollo 8. (18)

Strong critical judgement is necessary, however, in assessing Verne's "predictions". First, care must be taken not to read too much into the texts. A self-propelling missile must not be confused with a self-guiding one (FD 179), and the delirium of a scientist perhaps exaggerating the power of his explosive is not equivalent to a prediction of the atomic bomb (FD 174) – despite the extravagant claims of certain critics.

The element of chance has also been forgotten by many commentators, as undoubtedly in the case of the splash-down of the moon-rocket. The Einsteinian (or anti-Einsteinian?) hint of "la vitesse (. . .) mangeait la pesanteur" (TM 218, reproduced identically in MM 287) and the nuclear-power heavy-water hint of "l'eau est le charbon de l'avenir" (IM 457) are probably due to mere coincidence. Similarities between fact and fiction must be considered in the perspective of the many remarks in the Voyages that go very wide of the mark.

Thirdly, many of the ideas were not original to Verne. The author himself pointed out that his reading about contemporary scientific develeopments was the source of most of his ideas (TO 358 (1895)). Submarines, for instance, were built and tested between 1796 and 1801, and were actually used in the American Civil War (1861-65): even the name Nautilus came from a prototype built at Le Havre and Brest by the American Robert Fulton. (19)

In any case, virtually all of the ideas Verne used had already appeared in fiction. "In the Year 2889", in particular, probably plagiarises Albert Robida's works, especially Le Vingtième siècle (1882), although this claim has yet to be substantiated. (20) More generally, in at most three of Verne's thirty-one "livres d'anticipation", the basic idea had not already been used in fictional works: namely the living fossils in Voyage au centre de la Terre, the satellisation around the moon in Autour de la Lune, and the joining of parts of the Earth to a comet and their subsequent journey round the solar system in Hector Servadac (1877). (21)

A fourth cautionary remark is that the vision of the future in Verne's works is often merely the result of the extrapolation of past and present tendencies. This method, based as Verne himself says, on "l'application de systèmes déjà connus, mais poussés à un extrême degré de perfection" (RC 239), does throw up many accurate projections concerning giant artefacts or improvements in land-, water-, or air-based transport. But the process is basically conservative, in accordance with the (Michel-)Vernian philosophy that "rien n'arrive qui n'ait été déterminé par ce qui l'a précédé, et l'avenir est fait des prolongements (. . .) du passé" (NJ 444). This uncritical attitude works better therefore in the area of applied science than it does in international politics or the arts: if the general prediction of the increasing world dominance of the United States is correct, those of its physical absorption of Britain (JJA 201) and of Canada (B 148; 30) are as wide of the mark as those other nineteenth-century conventional wisdoms of paintings being replaced by photography (JJA 206) and novels by newspapers (TO 383).

The final limitation of the "predictions" in Verne's works is that, despite their use of extrapolation, they do not seem to betray an awareness of the acceleration of history, (22) of the exponential rate of technological innovation. Their time-scale is all wrong, referring as they do to a "progression CONSTANTE (. . .) du `mouvement industriel et commercial' " (IM 457). Thus the inventions of "In the Year 2889" will take a thousand years to come about (Robida placed them in 1953); and coal resources will be exhausted in about "cent siècles" (IN 23), or else just at the moment when "la prévoyante nature" has had time to produce some more (20M 443)! Concomitant with this lack of acceleration of history is the fate of their inventors. The machines are in the hands of a single individual, and his death causes the secret to be lost, as is explicitly emphasised for instance in Vingt mille lieues (20M 342), Robur-le-conquérant (RC 70), and Face au drapeau (FD 264). The fate of the machines themselves also presents a sombre litany: Nemo's submarine is swallowed up by the Maelstrom at the end of Vingt mille lieues; and then finally entombed under the remains of The Mysterious Island. The balloons of Cinq semaines and "Un Drame dans les airs" both crash; Hector Servadac's comet and the pneumatic tube under the Atlantic both "turn out" to be mere dreams; the Steam House explodes, both of Robur's aircraft crash, the cannons in Les Cinq cents millions de la Bégum and Sans dessus dessous both prove powerless and are abandoned, and the Carpathian audio-visual system is destroyed. The "Propeller Island" disintegrates, the Trans-Siberian train blows up, Xirdal's machine for controlling the path of the Meteor is forgotten about, an earthquake upsets the plans for the Sahara, a cataclysm floods the globe and destroys the entire civilisation of the third millennium, and the technological dystopia in Central Africa is razed to the ground. Dust to dust – at the end of the novels, it is almost as if inventors and inventions had never existed. The "predictions" usually come to have the nostalgic whiff of "what might have been" rather than "the shape of things to come".

If we examine the explicit opinions on technology expressed in the Voyages, we again find a deepseated ambivalence. On the one hand, the idea of man's technical omnipotence is systematically maintained: "il est permis de croire que (. . .) se fera un jour (. . .) tout ce que peut faire l'intelligence de l'homme" (CC 18), "'Tout ce qui est dans la limite du possible doit être et sera accompli'" (MV 274). On the other, there is a deep streak of pessimism in Verne, and a scepticism as to whether technology will be put to good use. At the beginning, fun is made of the scientists' absent-mindedness in everyday life; whereas in the later works, virtually all of the scientists end up going mad. If this implicit comment is not enough, explicit criticisms of "progress" are made, for instance the scathing commentary: "Décidément (. . .) les ingénieurs modernes ne respectent plus rien! Si on les laissait faire, ils combleraient les mers avec les montagnes et notre globe ne serait qu'une boule lisse et polie comme un œuf d'autruche, convenablement disposé pour l'établissement des chemins de fer'" (IMer 80).

Verne's machines, then, do not always have it their own way. Nevertheless, these reservations as to the accuracy, originality, permanence, and utility of the scientific innovations in the Voyages are far from destroying the importance of the innovations. Verne's works do demonstrate a shrewd awareness of technological implications, an "instinct des directions de la science", as Léon Blum says. (23) From his extremely wide reading, Verne selected the ideas he found most plausible. Thus Florida was chosen as launching-pad for the moon-rocket because it was the southernmost part of the United States, the Rockies for the telescope because they were the highest mountains. Because Verne played relatively safe, many of his scientific extrapolations have worked – at least until recently.

Because of their lucidity and their clairvoyance (in the non-mystical sense), the Voyages have above all had a popularising and educational role -- hence their categorisation as for children. Verne himself claimed: "mon dessein (. . .) ne fut pas de prophétiser, mais de répandre la connaissance" (TO 384). Explorers, geographers and scientists acknowledging their debt to Jules Verne have included Nansen, Lyautey, Simon Lake, Von Braun, Marconi, Gagarin, and Richard Byrd. (24)

In sum, Verne's presentation of science and of "progress", if judged over the whole of the works, is, I would claim, far from naive.

I would now like to go on to argue that misunderstanding on this fundamental point, or rather the whole relationship between literature and science, has dogged whole generations of critics. I would also like to claim that blindness on this point goes some way to explaining why Verne has so often been ignored in the adult histories of French literature. Neglect of the literary aspects of the Voyages has led, to take an extreme example, to trivialisations like Erich Von Daniken's "Spirit-Telephone Conversation with Jules Verne" or "Jules Verne = 1/2 de Fenimore Cooper, 1/4 d'Edgar Poe + 1/4 d'Hoffmann", and even to remarks like George Orwell's "so unliterary a writer as Verne"! (25)

But it is above all certain critics' misunderstanding of science in literature that seems to have led them astray – a point I would like to develop. Four critics in particular are, at the very least, misleading. Amongst them, Verne himself, comparing his own works with those of H. G. Wells, claimed "'I make use of physics. He invents'"; Wells used the same argument to take a sort of revenge, claiming that Verne avoids the fantastic and that "his works dealt almost always with actual possibilities of invention and discovery"; Suvin describes Verne as a strict Newtonian, dismissing him with a passing reference to his "liberal interest in the mechanics of locomotion within a SAFELY HOMOGENEOUS SPACE"; and Francis Lacassin extrapolates the claims of these first three critics, making a long list of ideas that he maintains are absent from the Voyages (and, by implication, ought to have been there): "Equation espace-temps; univers parallèles; voyage dans le temps et sa conséquence extreme, le paradoxe temporel; promotion du règne minéral ou végétal (. . ., d') espèces animales (. . .); définition d'une nouvelle cosmogonie; mutants; robots; monstres; humanoïdes". (26)

All four, I would claim, are pandering to the expectations of the public more than they are responding to the texts themselves. Turning each of their arguments strictly inside out, it is my belief that in fact Verne's works use physics in order to invent effectively (more effectively than in the magic potions, black boxes, and mechanical justifications of most of his successors, including Wells); that the side-effects include lucid analyses of science and intelligent guesses as to which of the "possibilities" were also probabilities; that Verne's space is anything but safely homogeneous; and that his scientific invention is so rich, and so accurately reproduced in Lacassin's list, that it could serve as a programme for a very interesting thesis! The common error of these critics, it seems to me, is to have confused the verisimilitude of the Voyages for verism, and science-in-fiction for science – almost as if Verne himself was meant to be a scientist, rather than a "mere" writer. In my view, the works should be judged as literature, not as pale imitations of the scientific theory or practice of the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. The authentic invention of the Voyages – to put it more positively – occurs on both the literal and literary levels – the new machine-gadgets are subject to metaphors, puns, and shifts in language before being allowed to vehicle new conceptions of space-time and new cosmogonies. Science is judge for coherence, originality, and truth – but as values in and of fiction. "At best", Verne's works are science-fiction, for in them narration governs Nature, experiments are non-reproducible and the comic, the cosmic, and the cosmetic are inseparable. "At worst", Verne's works employ science towards their own ends, sidestep it, or ignore it completely (as for instance in Le Chancellor or Michel Strogoff).

But the myth dies hard, and because the science-fiction reputation has stuck, the most famous French writer still often remains excluded from the accepted body of French literature. Further explanatory factors for Verne's strange critical reception may be found in his commercial success itself. The length of the Voyages – approximately 8 million words – is certainly another obstacle to complete knowledge and appreciation, but such an obstacle does not seem to have detracted from respect for the only comparably encyclopaedic endeavour, Balzac's La Comédie humaine. Stage adaptations and film versions, often bearing only the faintest of resemblances to the novels, have without doubt drawn attention away from the specifically literary qualities of the works, but cannot in themselves be held responsible for Verne's reputation.

Certain features of the Voyages themselves may also have contributed to misapprehensions. On a superficial level, the style is simple and easy to read, and there are errors and contradictions. Verne's reputation may also have something to do with the distance between his surface and "deep" levels, the all-encompassing nature of his irony. In Verne's works, personal and social concerns are camouflaged, truths skirted around rather than enounced, and desire functions in terms of an ailleurs: the networks of obsessions describe symptoms but avoid the sore points themselves.

All these reasons go some way to explaining Verne's unfavourable public and, until recently, critical reception. He will only be evaluated at his just worth when the examples of Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Tournier (27)

My arguments have been, I hope, a step in the right direction: I have tried to reduce the layers of misconceptions surrounding Verne, in particular concerning his "predictions" and use of science. Although I haven't even begun to demonstrate Verne's literary merit in any sort of positive fashion, I hope I have said enough to show why I prefer to call Verne a poet than a prophet. But I admit there is still a great deal of work to be done before we can possess the general depth of knowledge that is taken for granted in the case of such contemporaries and fellow-writers in the Realist or Naturalist tradition as Balzac, Flaubert, or Maupassant. Fuller investigations are still needed of the themes of cannibalism and sexuality, reading and writing, and of formal elements like the use of person, the "diary" structures, the dialogue, and the use of rhythm. Exploration of links between Verne and twentieth-century writers like Camus and Sartre is essential. Further knowledge of Michel Verne's contribution, and annotated editions of the richest works, would seem fundamental necessities.

Only if such studies are added to the growing number of serious ones in recent years can Verne's peculiarly down-to-earth and sensorial universe be totally apprehended, can we gain complete access to the poetry of his gleaming clean-machines and Romantic desolations and dissolutions, his acute sensitivity and sensibility, his kinaesthetic awareness. Verne shows man as caught between salvation and desire, the beaten track and the unexplored horizon, the contentment of closure and the voluptuousness of open space, phlegm and passion, and the word and the spirit. His prophetic literal-mindedness topples over into poetic ecstasy, and effects a subtle but far-reaching shift in our ways of seeing and feeling the world.

La Fontaine, Defoe, Swift, Alain-Fournier, Saint-Exupéry, Verne: they have all been pigeon-holed as children's writers. Generations of young readers have cause to be grateful, but Verne surely also deserves a mature reading . . . .

William Butcher

List of Sigla (and edition used: LP = Livre de Poche; 10/18 = U.G.E. "10 18"; HA = Les Humanoïdes associés)

B – Mistress Branican (LP)

CC – Cesar Cascabel (10/18)

ChC – Le Château des Carpathes (LP)

EA - "L'Eternel Adam" (LP)

ES – L'Etoile du Sud (LP)

FD – Face au drapeau (LP)

G - "Gil Braltar" (10/18)

IH – L'Ile à hélice (10/18)

IM – L'Ile mystérieuse (10/18)

IMer – L'Invasion de la mer (10/18)

IN – Les Indes noires (LP)

JJA - "In the Year 1889" (LP)

MB – L'Etonnante aventure de la mission Barsac (HA)

MM – Maître du monde (LP)

MV – La Maison à vapeur (LP)

SDD – Sans dessus dessous (10/18)

SC – Le Sphinx des glaces (LP)

TM – Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (LP)

TO – Textes oublies (10/18)

VA – Le Village aérien (HA)

20M – Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (LP)

1. According to Marc Soriano, "Qui était le vrai Jules Verne?", L'Express, 22 au 28 mai 1978, pp. 188-223 (199), who is quoting the "Bourse aux valeurs etrangères".

More precisely, his works are translated on average into more languages each year than those of any other fictional or non-fictional writer (Marcel Destombes and Piero Gondolo della Riva, "Jules Verne à la Bib1iothèque Nationale", Bulletin de la Bibliothèque Nationale, 3ème année, no. 3, sept. 1978, pp. 115-25 (116)).

2. Respectively Univ. de Paris III (1980); Univ. of Cambridge (1982). Cf. William Butcher, "A Study of Time in Jules Verne's Voyages extraordinaires" (Univ. of London, submitted 1983).

3. Jules Verne I (1976), Jules Verne 2 (1978), Jules Verne 3 (1980), Jules Verne 4 (1983), ed. François Raymond.

For bibliographical information, see Edward J. Gallagher et al., Jules Verne: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography (Boston, 1980) and Jean-Michel Margot, Bibliographie documentaire sur Jules Verne (I et II) (Ostermundigen (Switzerland), 1978, and Nyon, 1982).

4. For biographical information the most reliable study is Jean Jules-Verne, Jules Verne (1973). Marc Soriano, Jules Verne (1978), and Charles-Noel Martin, La Vie et l'oeuvre de Jules Verne (revised edition, 1978), may also be consulted with profit. (There seems to be no hard evidence for the idea that Verne went to Switzerland at the age of twenty-five (Jean-Michel Margot, "Jules Verne et la Suisse: Le(s) Séjour(s) de Jules Verne en Suisse", Bulletin de la société Jules Verne (hereafter BSJV), no. 51, 3ème tri. 1979, pp. 85-92).)

5. Jules Verne, p. 91.

6. See Char1es-Noël Martin, "La Fugue du 'mousse' Jules Verne", BSJV, no. 60, 4ème tri. 1981, pp. 136-40, and Olivier Dumas, "Quand Marguerite se contredit", BSJV, no. 64, 4ème tri. 1982, p. 312. But for an opposing view, see Marc Soriano, "Vernir/Dévernir?", Europe, no. 595-96, nov.-déc. 1978, pp. 3-9 (5).

7. See for instance letters quoted by Jules-Verne (e.g. pp. 101, 113, 145, 148-49, 153, 155, 161).

8. Demonstrated by Simone Vierne, "L'Authenticité de quelques oeuvres de Jules Verne", Annales de Bretagne, t. LXXIII, no. 3, sept. 1966, pp. 445-58.

9. See for instance Marie Belloc, "Jules Verne at Home", The Strand Magazine, Feb. 1895, pp. 206-13 (210).

10. E.g. "Do you come (this evening) by tube or by air-train?" (p. 676); "by a just turn-about of things here below" (p. 670) "the telephote was got in readiness" (p. 676); "the case stood just as the reporter said" (p. 677).

11. See Piero Gondolo della Riva, "A propos d'une nouvelle", in L'Herne "Jules Verne", pp. 284-88, for an analysis of the editions.

12. "A propos des oeuvres posthumes de Jules Verne", Europe, no 595-96, pp. 73-88; "A propos du manuscrit de Storitz", BSJV, no. 46, 2ème tri. 1978, pp. 160-63; "Encore a propos du manuscrit de Storitz", BSJV, no. 58, 2ème tri. 1981, p. 72. For an opposing point of view, see "Une Lettre de Jean Jules-Verne", Europe, no. 595-96, pp. 89-93.

13. Le Figaro, 2 mai 1905, and Le Temps, 3 mai 1905.

14. "La substance, éternellement détruite, se recompose éternellement. Chacun de ses changements d'état s'accompagne d'un rayonnement d'énergie et d'une destruction de substance correspondante" (CM(1908) 127).

15. EA (1910) 233; MB (1919) 183; 341; 344; 346. (The reference system used is that of Jules Verne 1 etc.: EA = "L'Eternel Adam" (for complete list, see my List of Sigla), 233 = "p. 233".)

16. For the reference system used here see note 15.

17. JJA 188; 210; 189; 192; 195; 196; 199; 188; 206.

18. Jules-Verne (p. 154), quoting Frank Borman.

19. Information given in Francis Lacassin, "Préface: Dans le sillage du Nautilus", in Gustave Le Rouge, Le Sous-marin "Jules Verne" (1978 (1st edn.= 1902)), pp. 5-16(6-7).

20. Fred Robida, "Jules Verne et Albert Robida", Bulletin de la société archéologique, no. 247, jan. 1973, pp. 27-29(30), merely points out two details plagiarised, "le journal téléphonoscopique" and "les trains électropneumatiques qui (...) roulent à 400 lieues à l'heure". Dominique Lacaze, "Lectures croisées de Jules Verne et de Robida", in Jules Verne et les sciences humaines (1979), pp. 76-90, claims that Verne borrowed themes from Robida for many works (SC, MB, SDD, ES, ChC, VA, C, EA) but produces no direct evidence at all.

21. Pierre Versins, "Le Sentiment de 1'artifice", L'Arc, no. 29, Sept. 1966, pp. 51-65.

22. Simone Vierne's argument to the opposite effect is not convincing: Verne was "sensible à 1'accélération de l'histoire (...) puisqu'en somme, Robur, en enlevant son Albatros hors de portée des hommes, essaye de ralentir ce processus" (Jules Verne et le roman initiatique (1973), p. 640); an idea repeated by René Pillorget, "Optimisme ou pessimisme de Jules Verne", Europe, no. 595-96, pp. 19-27(22). Pierre Macherey's argument that "l'accelération de l'aventure exprime une accélération de l'histoire", is hardly more convincing (Pour une théorie de la production littéraire (1980 (lst edn. = 1966)), p. 234).

23. "Jules Verne", L'Humanité, 3.4.1905.

24. M(arguerite) Allotte de la Fuÿe, Jules Verne, sa vie, son oeuvre (1953 (lst edn. = 1928)), pp. 205-10; Marcel Mitton, "Jules Verne précurseur", BSJV no. 48, 4ème tri. 1978, pp. 257-59 (257); Gallagher, p. xv-xvi.

25. "My Spirit-Telephone Conversation with Jules Verne", taken from Erich von Daniken, According to the Evidence (1977), in Peter Haining, The Jules Verne Companion (1978), pp. 90-93; Charles Noel Martin, "Recherches sur la science de Verne" (Thèse d'Etat, Univ. de Paris VII, 1980), p. 254; "Two Glimpses of the Moon", The New Statesman, 18 Jan. 1941, reprinted in Haining, pp. 17-19(17).

26. Quoted in Robert H. Sherard, "Jules Verne Revisited", T.P.'s Weekly, 9 Oct. 1903, p. 589; "Jules Verne and I", reprinted in Haining, pp. 62-63 (62); Darko Suvin, "Introduction", in H.G. Wells and Modern Science Fiction (1977), ed. Darko Suvin, pp. 9-32(20); "Les Naufragés de la terre", L'Arc, no.29, sept 1966, pp. 69-80(69).

27. See Eugène Brandis, "Jules Verne en Russie et en Union soviétique", BSJV, no 5, ler tri., pp. 2-16; Michel Tournier, Les Météores (1975), pp. 400-02 and passim. are followed – when non-reading or misreading are replaced by detailed attention to the Voyages themselves.