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Read: the introduction

the first part of the annotated translation

Jules Verne
with Michel Verne


The American Way of Life

Translated with a critical introduction and notes

William Butcher

The Acadian Press, 1991, 2008

In mid-nineteenth century a budding French novelist wrote a short story featuring the amazing discovery of a prehistoric giant near Albany on the Canadian border. He also demonstrated his passion for river travel and attacked the Anglo-Saxon penchant for hypocrisy. His essay must have been judged too risqué, for it was not published during his lifetime. His son, however, rescued it from oblivion, made considerable alterations, and published it.

The result was "Le Humbug" (1910): a fascinating tale by an author who became the best-selling writer of all time. Despite its title, setting and themes (or perhaps because of them?), "Humbug" has never been translated into English before.

The present volume will provide much food for thought for the general reader and the literary specialist.


  • ‘a piece of major importance’ Foundation 70, 1997, p. 90-2;
  • ‘fine work’ Les Attrape-cœurs, Jan. 1998
  • fine translation and fascinating notes Ron Miller