A Chronology of Jules Verne

William Butcher

Note: this Chronology first appeared in Backwards to Britain (1992—edited by William Butcher; Chambers) and in Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1992), Around the World in Eighty Days (1995), Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas (1998) and The Adventures Of Captain Hatteras (2005) (all translated and edited by William Butcher; Oxford University Press: Oxford World’s Classics); this is an updated version, reproduced from Jules Verne, Lighthouse at the End of the World , translated and edited by William Butcher (Nebraska UP, Lincoln (NE), 2007). It appears here with grateful acknowledgements to Dr. Butcher and the publishers. All the bracketed references are to the Complete Jules Verne Bibliogrphy.
8 February: birth of Jules Verne on Île Feydeau in Nantes, to lawyer Pierre and Sophie Verne, of distant Scottish descent. Both parents have close links with reactionary milieus and the slave trade. The family moves to Quai Jean‑Bart, with a magnificent view of the Loire.
Birth of brother, Paul, later a naval officer and stockbroker; followed by sisters Anna (1837), Mathilde (1839), and Marie (1842). Jules hears street battles in the July Revolution.
Goes to boarding school: the teacher is the widow of a sea‑captain, whose return she still awaits. The Vernes spend the summers with a retired slave‑runner uncle in the bucolic countryside.
École Saint‑Stanislas. Performs well in geography, singing, Greek, and Latin. Henceforth the family lives half the year at Chantenay, on the Loire.
Petit séminaire de Saint‑Donatien, then Collège royal de Nantes. Easily passes baccalauréat . Writes short prose pieces and four plays, later to be followed by thirty more.
Moves to Paris and studies law; marriage of his first cousin, Caroline Tronson, with whom he has long been in love. Experiences a fruitless passion for Herminie Arnault‑Grossetière and writes more than fifty poems, many dedicated to her, as well as an unfinished novel, Un Prêtre en 1839 [PT] (A Priest in 1839).
Is present at the July disturbances. In the literary salons meets Dumas père and fils .
Passes law degree and stays on in Paris.
One‑act comedy Les Pailles rompues [PA] (Broken Straws) opens at Dumas's Théâtre historique and is published.
Meets author Jacques Arago and frequents Adrien Talexy's musical salon. Publishes two short stories. Has a first attack of facial paralysis.
Becomes secretary of the Théâtre lyrique on little or no pay. Organizes a dining club called The Eleven Bachelors, reciting his love poetry to them. Refuses to take over his father's law practice: "literature above all." Publishes three more stories and the play Les Châteaux en Californie [CA] (Castles in California - in collaboration). His co-authored operetta Le Colin‑maillard [CV] (Blind Man's Bluff) is performed. Visits brothels in the theater district.
Goes to a wedding in Amiens, and meets Honorine de Viane, a young widow with two daughters.
Publishes his first book, Le Salon de 1857 (The 1857 Salon). Marries Honorine, becomes a stockjobber, and moves several times.
Visits Scotland and England, the first of about twenty visits to the British Isles, and is decisively marked by the experience. Writes Voyage en Angleterre et en Écosse [VH] (Backwards to Britain).
2 July–8 August: Norway and Denmark.
3 August: birth of only child, Michel.
31 January: Cinq semaines en ballon [CS] (Five Weeks in a Balloon) is published by Jules Hetzel, but sells poorly (all dates are those of beginning of first publication, usually as a serial).
New one‑book contract with Hetzel. Publication of “Edgar Poe et ses oeuvres” [EP] (“Edgar Allan Poe and his Works”), Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras [AH] (Adventures of Captain Hatteras), and Voyage au centre de la Terre [VC] (Journey to the Center of the Earth). Paris au XX e siècle [PV] (Paris in the Twentieth Century) is brutally rejected by the publisher.
De la Terre à la Lune [TL] (From the Earth to the Moon), Les Enfants du capitaine Grant [EG (Captain Grant’s Children), and “Les Forceurs de blocus” [FB] (“Blockade Runners”). A new contract specifies two hundred thousand words a year. Acquires a boat, visits Italy with Hetzel, and moves summer residence to the fishing village of Le Crotoy.
Géographie de la France et de ses colonies. [GI] (Geography of France and her Colonies). Goes with brother to Liverpool, thence on the Great Eastern to America.
Baptizes a new boat the Saint‑Michel . Visits London.
Vingt mille lieues sous les mers [VL] (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas), Autour de la Lune [AL] (Round the Moon). Rents a house in Amiens.
Découverte de la Terre [PE] (Discovery of the Earth). Hetzel rejects L’Oncle Robinson[OR] (Uncle Robinson), an early version of L’Île mystérieuse [IM] (The Mysterious Island). During the Franco‑Prussian War Verne is in the National Guard.
Briefly goes back to the Stock Exchange. Father dies.
Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours [TM] (Around the World in Eighty Days) and Le Pays des fourrures [PF] (The Fur Country). Becomes member of Académie d’Amiens.
Le Docteur Ox [OX] (Dr Ox’s Experiment, and Other Stories) and L’Île mystérieuse [IM] (The Mysterious Island). Begins collaboration with Adolphe d’Ennery on highly successful stage adaptations of novels (Le Tour du monde en 80 jours [TN] (1874), Les Enfants du capitaine Grant [EH] (1878) , Michel Strogoff [VC] (1880)). Moves to 44 boulevard Longueville, Amiens.
Le Chancellor [CR] (The “Chancellor”), Michel Strogoff [MI], Hector Servadac [HS], and Les Indes noires [IO] (The Black Indies). Buys second, then third boat, the Saint-Michel II and III. Gives huge fancy-dress ball, but wife critically ill. Michel rebels, and is sent to a reformatory. Is sued for plagiarism.
Un Capitaine de quinze ans [CQ] (The Boy Captain). Sails to Portugal and Algeria.
Les Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine [TC] (The Tribulations of a Chinese in China), and La Maison à vapeur [MV] (The Steam House). Sails to Edinburgh, and then by train and ferry to the Hebrides. Probably has an affair with Luise Teutsch.
La Jangada [JA] (The Giant Raft). Sails to Holland and Denmark.
Le Rayon vert [RV] (The Green Ray) and L'École des Robinsons [EQ] (The School for Robinsons). Rents a larger house at 2 Rue Charles-Dubois, Amiens.
Kéraban-le-têtu [KT] (Keraban the Inflexible). Michel marries, but soon abducts a minor, and will have two children by her within eleven months. Verne takes his wife on a grand tour of the Mediterranean, including a private audience by Pope Leo XIII.
Mathias Sandorf [MS]. Sells Saint Michel III.
Robur-le-conquérant [RC] (The Clipper of the Clouds).
9 March: his favourite nephew Gaston, mentally ill, premeditatedly attempts to murder Verne, laming him for life.
17 March: Hetzel dies.
Mother dies. Nord contre sud [NS] (North against South).
Deux ans de vacances [DV] (Two Years Vacation). Elected local councillor on a Republican list. For next fifteen years attends council meetings, administers theatre and fairs, and gives public talks.
Sans dessus dessous [SD] (The Purchase of the North Pole) and “In the Year 2889” [JN] (by Michel but signed Jules Verne).
Stomach problems.
Le Château des Carpathes [CC] (Carpathian Castle). Pays debts for Michel.
L’Île à hélice [IH] (Propeller Island), the first European novel in the present tense and third person.
Face au drapeau [FD] (For the Flag) and Le Sphinx des glaces [SG] (An Antarctic Mystery). Is sued for libel by chemist Turpin. Health deteriorates. Brother dies.
Dreyfus Affair: Verne is anti-Dreyfusard.
Le Village aérien [VA] (The Village in the Treetops). Moves back into 44 boulevard Longueville.
Maître du monde [MM] (The Master of the World).
17 March: falls ill from diabetes.
24 March: dies. The French government shuns the funeral.
On Verne’s death, L’Invasion de la mer [IR] (Invasion of the Sea) is in the course of publication. Michel takes responsibility for the manuscripts, publishing Le Phare du bout du monde [PM] (The Lighthouse at the End of the World), Le Volcan d’or [VO] (The Golden Volcano—1906), L’Agence Thompson and Co° [AG] (The Thompson Travel Agency—1907), La Chasse au météore [CM] (The Hunt for the Meteor—1908), Le Pilote du Danube [PD] (The Danube Pilot—1908), Les Naufragés du ‘Jonathan’ [NJ] (The Survivors of the Jonathan—1909), Le Secret de Wilhelm Storitz [WS] (The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz—1910), Hier et Demain [HD] (Yesterday and Tomorrow—short stories, including “L’Éternel Adam” [EL] (“Edom”)—1910), and L’Étonnante aventure de la mission Barsac [BC] (The Barsac Mission—1914). Between 1985 and 1998 the original (i.e. Jules's) versions are published, under the same titles except for En Magellanie [EM] (Magallania), “Voyage d'études” [VS] (“Study Visit”), and Le Beau Danube jaune [BD] (The Beautiful Yellow Danube).
For the 150th anniversary of his birth, the novelist undergoes a major re-evaluation in France, with hundreds of articles, Ph.D.s, and books. On a cumulative basis, Verne is the most translated writer of all time.
Voyage à reculons en Angleterre et en Ecosse (Backwards to Britain), San Carlos et autres récits inédits (San Carlos and Other Stories), and Paris au XX e siècle (Paris in the Twentieth Century), setting a US record for a French book.

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS! Unicode Encoded Some Rights Reserved Hosted by ibiblio JV.Gilead.org.il
Copyright © Zvi Har’El
$Date: 2008/01/31 08:02:58 $