Lesser Known Facts About Jules Verne

Jules Verne, widely regarded as one of the fathers of science fiction, wrote some of literature’s most famous adventure novels. He is the second most translated author in the world since 1879, behind Agatha Christie but before Shakespeare. He published a total of 62 novels and 12 short stories. Here are a few lesser known facts about him:

  • Jules Verne was born in 1808 in Nantes, a rich city and harbor in the west of France. He was the son of a lawyer who expected the young Jules to take his law practice after his retirement.

  • Jules followed law studies and spent years to convince his family to accept his desire to become an artist.

  • To bring money to his household, Jules Verne worked as a stock broker at the stock market.

  • After having met fifteen refusals, Jules Verne met the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel. Hetzel saw the potential of Jules Verne and accepted to publish his first novel under the conditions of a strong revision of the text. It became Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863).

  • During the 1860s, Verne’s career was taking off, and he was making good money. So in 1867, he bought a small yacht, which he named the Saint Michel, after his son, Michel.

  • He wrote most of the manuscripts for Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea on his yacht.

  • Verne wrote in French, but his works have always had an international appeal. Since the 1850s, his writing has been translated into approximately 150 languages—making him the second most translated author ever.

  • In March 1886 Verne’s nephew Gaston, who was then in his twenties and suffering from mental illness, suddenly became violent and shot him twice with a pistol. This left Verne with a limp for the rest of his life.

  • Verne’s body of work heavily influenced steampunk, the science fiction subgenre that takes inspiration from 19th century industrial technology.

  • Some of the technology Verne imagined in his fiction later became reality. One of the machines that Verne dreamed up, Nautilus—the electric submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea—came to life years after he first wrote about it.

  • In addition, Verne’s Paris In The Twentieth Century contains several surprisingly accurate technological predictions. Written in 1863, the dystopian novel imagines a tech-obsessed Parisian society in 1960. Verne wrote about skyscrapers, elevators, cars with internal combustion engines, trains, electric city lights, and suburbs. He was massively ahead of his time.

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