A hundred years after his death, Jules Verne (1828-1905) has in the popular imagination become synonymous with prediction of the future. Yet the actual texts of Verne’s major novels (the vast series known as the Voyages extraordinaires) still remain unknown to many. In the English-speaking world, translations of Verne’s best-known novels (Around the World in Eighty Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon) have often contained wholesale distortions of his plots and characters, and the popular (and false) image of Verne as a foreteller of the future often comes not through what he actually wrote, but through films and other adaptations of his work. It is against this background of misrepresentation and misconception that the present study has been produced. Verne was, Unwin argues, a master of the self-conscious novel, his work a pastiche of science discourse, fictional and non-fictional writings, and flamboyant, theatrical narrative. Unwin makes a compelling case for Verne as a master of the nineteenth-century experimental novel, in the company of Gustave Flaubert and other canonical French writers. The text will be a wonderful addition to the shelves of those interested in science fiction, experimental writing, and critical theory.
This collection of essays reflect the diversity of approaches currently being brought to bear on the writings of Jules Verne.