Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Jules Verne: A Biography, Jean Jules-Verne, Verne’s grandson, provides a personal look at Jules Verne, his family, and his friends. The book is divided into chapters, each chapter covering specific years and discussing the works that Verne published during that period. Jules-Verne gives special attention to the events, both public and private, that shaped Verne’s ideas and the representation these ideas received in specific writings.

Although Verne is usually associated with science and technology, Jules-Verne instead focuses on his grandfather’s personal ideas and beliefs. For example, the reader learns that in 1848, when Verne was twenty, a popular rebellion swept much of Europe, including France. Its ideas of fellowship and democracy appealed to Verne, not only in 1848 but for the rest of his life as well. Thus the antimilitary violence of Captain Nemo in Vingt milles lieues sous les mers (1870; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1873) is explained in terms of Verne’s distrust of militarism.

Verne expressed his democratic sentiments by creating the multinational and multiracial groups of characters found in such novels as L’Île mystérieuse (18741875; The Mysterious Island, 1875) or De la terre à la lune, trajet direct en quatre-vingt dix-sept heures vingt minutes and its sequel, Autour de la lune (1865, 1870; published in English as one volume, From the...

(The entire section is 444 words.)