Jules Verne

I have been collecting JV originals for many years. Since Hetzel (JV's editor) was targeting his market towards rich kids, there are many beautiful editions. My favorite is the "titre dans l'eventail" which means title in the fan. Beautiful colours, thick paper, rich illustrations. Maitre Roethel in his dark boutique next to Notre Dame (rue Lagrange Librairie de l'ile mysterieuse) is the first person to talk to, if he feels like oupening his door for you. You can also go the the flea market in Clignancourt or at Drouot to look at the magnificent volumes.

However most people love JV for his litterature. Michel Serres, a noted french philosopher and essayist, has done a terrific job in classifying the multiple emotions one feels about reading a JV Classic. According to him, any Jules Verne story is the sum of three concentric circles:

- The geographic circle, Where people travel the world to come back to their starting point: (Le tour du monde en quatre vingt jours, Un capitaine de quinze ans...)

- The Scientific circle, where a particular technology is discovered,explained and utilized to be destroyed or be hidden. ( l'ile mysterieuse, la chasse aux meteores...)

- the initiatic circle, where a group of individuals are on a quest for an ideal, obtain it and return to their world. (Michel Strogoff, 2000 lieues sous les mers)

The circles are concentric and the center is the hero.

Jules Verne tells more than science fiction stories.

Thierry Roullier