Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Born in 1828, Jules Verne, who was to become one of the best-known science-fiction writers of all time, had a quiet childhood in Nantes. He attended the local lycée before going to Paris, intending to study law. However, through the influence of writers such as Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, he discovered that he preferred literary work. He wrote operas, collaborated with the younger Dumas on some plays, and tried travel writing. His first success came with the publication of Five Weeks in a Balloon. The popularity of this novel encouraged Verne to continue writing near-future scientific adventure, often involving journeys into known and unknown realms. These “voyages extraordinaires” included A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
Adopting literary techniques similar to the mid-century French realists, Verne included carefully prepared scientific and geographical data to provide plausible backgrounds for his novels. The subject matter and lively action of Verne’s tales soon gained for him an immense following in France and abroad. His novels coincided with the popular interest in science and technology beginning to sweep people’s imaginations during the second half of the nineteenth century. Their popularity is attested by the great...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Jules Gabriel Verne was born in 1828, the son of Pierre Verne, a lawyer, and Sophie, née Allotte de la Fuye. He was born in Nantes, on the Île Feydeau, an island in the Loire River that has since been connected to the bank. His family appears to have been a bastion of middle-class respectability, desperately concerned with keeping up appearances. This fact appears to have had a profound effect on Verne’s life, a subtle but important influence on his work, and to be the cause of some misrepresentation in the biographies written by members of his family—even the one published in 1973 by Jean Jules-Verne (his grandson).
Verne’s life story seems to have been one of constant and unsuccessful rebellion against the standards and lifestyle that his family tried to impose on him. He never escaped the clutches of middle-class respectability and seems to have spent the last forty years of his life maintaining a facade for the sake of the expectations of his family. Under such circumstances, it is perhaps not surprising that he took full advantage of the opportunity to become a voyager in the imagination—a champion escapist.
Verne studied law in his father’s office for a while before going to Paris, ostensibly to continue his studies there. Actually, he wanted to be a playwright, and he threw himself into the bohemian life of the student quarter of the Left Bank, where he met Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas, père. Dumas encouraged...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Jules Gabriel Verne was born on February 8, 1828, the eldest son of a lawyer, in the provincial port of Nantes, France. His education was typical of that of a middle-class nineteenth century family, since his parents intended for him to take over his father’s legal office. According to family legend, Verne was a good student, but he entertained daydreams of adventure, leading to an attempt at the age of eleven to run away to sea. As the eldest son, Verne consented to attend law school despite a lack of interest in the subject, while his younger brother Paul was allowed to follow the more exciting career of captain in the merchant marine.
Family legend also attributes to Verne a childhood love for a cousin. In order to get Verne out of the way during her engagement, he was sent to Paris to continue his studies. While in the capital, Verne became close to the popular novelist Alexandre Dumas, pèere and frequented literary and theatrical groups. He was soon trying his hand at vaudeville as well as tragedy.
Although he had successfully completed his law degree in 1848, Verne refused to return to Nantes. He began to publish in the journal Musée des families. In Parisian salons, he met explorers and scientists and began to use what he could learn from them for his stories.
In 1856, Verne met Honorine de Viane, a young widow...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury once declared himself “a son of Jules Verne.” If the nineteenth century French writer of educational works for young people can be considered a founder of the science-fiction novel, it is not attributable simply to his interest in the techniques and discoveries being made in his own time. There is something timeless about Verne’s novels. Like the best science-fiction works, they call upon mythological structures. The voyage, whether it be around the world, to the moon, to the center of the earth, or under the sea, is first of all a quest for the self. All Verne’s journeys are initiations, which permit his hero to come to a greater self-awareness.
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Jules Verne was born on February 8, 1828, at Nantes, an industrial town on the Loire River in western France. His father, Pierre Verne, was a magistrate and his mother, Sophie Allotte de la Fuye Verne, was a descendant of an established, well-to-do French family. Verne completed his legal training but never took over his father's law practice as intended. Instead, he pursued an interest in literature and drama. He began to write plays for production in the Parisian theatre, most of which were unsuccessful. In 1850, one of his plays (The Broken Straws) was successfully produced by the famous author Alexandre Dumas at the Theatre Historique. Verne served as secretary of the Theatre Lyrique in Paris from 1852 to 1854.
While still involved in the Parisian theater, Verne read Charles Baudelaire's translations of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories and began to write similar tales. Verne thought that Poe's tales would have been more convincing if they had been more scientifically credible. Verne, however, did not really discover his own gift for writing scientific romances until 1857, when he married a widow with two daughters. He abruptly discarded his assumed bohemian poverty for a career as a stockbroker and continued to write plays, comedies, and stories.
In 1863 he published the first of what he called his Voyages extraordinaires, or fantastic voyages—Cinq Semaines en ballon, translated into English six years later as Five...
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