First, consider the following amazing statistic: there were over four thousand illustrations in Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires—an average of 60+ illustrations per novel, one for every 6-8 pages of text in the original in-octavo red and gold Hetzel editions. Since the publication of Verne’s first novel in 1863, these Victorian-looking woodcut plates and maps have constituted an integral part of Verne’s early science-fiction tales: to such an extent, in fact, that today most modern French reprints of the Voyages Extraordinaires continue to feature their original illustrations—recapturing the “feel” of Verne’s socio-historical milieu and evoking that sense of faraway exoticism and futuristic awe which the original readers once experienced from these texts. And yet, to date, the bulk of Vernian criticism has virtually ignored the crucial role played by these illustrations in Verne’s oeuvre.
As I have discussed in somewhat more detail elsewhere,1 there appear to be four different categories of illustrations in the Voyages Extraordinaires, each of which has a different semiotic and/or didactic function within the narrative. The first offers renderings of the protagonists of the story—e.g., portraits like the one of Impey Barbicane in De la terre à la lune [From the Earth to the Moon] (#1). The second features the places visited by the protagonists and are normally more panoramic and postcard-like—e.g., the many exotic locales, unusual sights, and flora and fauna which the heroes encounter during their journey, like the one from Vingt mille lieues sous les mers [20,000 Leagues Under the Sea] depicting divers walking on the ocean floor (#2).
The third is documentational in nature—e.g., the map of the Polar regions (hand-drawn by Verne himself) for his 1864 novel Les Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras [The Adventures of Captain Hatteras], where the curious reader might trace the itinerary of Hatteras and his crew as they explore the Arctic (#3). And the fourth portrays a specific moment of action in the narrative—e.g., the one from Voyage au centre de la terre [Journey to the Center of the Earth] where Prof. Lidenbrock, Axel, and Hans are suddenly caught in a lightning storm on a subterranean ocean (#4).
It is also interesting to note which passages in the text are ultimately chosen for representation in Verne’s novels. Most often, this decision seems to have been made less according to their respective importance to the story-line and more according to their intrinsic pedagogical value and/or their potential for enhancing the story’s local color, verisimilitude, or metaphoric content. For example, such crucial turning-points in the narrative like the explosion of the giant elephant locomotive in La Maison à vapeur [The Steam House] or the near-collision with a comet in Autour de la lune [Around the Moon] are not represented in these novels, whereas dozens of relatively unimportant scenes are—e.g., an illustration of Indian snake-charmers from the first (#5) or, from the second, one which depicts the frustration of Michel Ardan attempting to understand the complex algebraic computations of his fellow astronauts (#6).
The textual location of these illustrations in Verne’s novels is
also noteworthy. Although differing from edition to edition (on facing
pages in the original volumes), many tend to precede their textual
counterparts by at least a page or two, arousing curiosity in the reader
(i.e., inciting him or her to continue reading) and foreshadowing events
and scenes to come. Consider, for instance, the one from L’Ile
mystérieuse [Mysterious Island] where the castaways first
encounter the land-locked Nautilus inside a seacave on Lincoln
Island (#7). This illustration has been placed on page 795. By contrast,
the page number in parentheses indicates that this scene is actually
page 798 of the narrative. Another use of illustrations to enhance
foreshadowing in Verne’s works are the often very elaborate frontispieces
opposite the title pages of these books—e.g., the one at the beginning of
the Hetzel double-volume edition containing Cinq semaines en
ballon [Five Weeks in a Balloon] and Voyage au centre de la
terre (#8). Here the reader gets a foretaste of two representative
episodes (one from each novel), superimposed upon one another in a kind
of collage depicting scenes from above, on, and below the Earth’s
surface. This frontispiece (and others) might be viewed as a highly
symbolic pictorial representation of Verne’s goal—as expressed by his
publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel—to “outline all the geographical,
geological, physical and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern
Moreover, the importance of these illustrations as visual aids to the explicit didactic intent of Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires cannot be overemphasized. The large number of purely pedagogical illustrations in Verne’s novels—those having very little to do with the fictional events narrated in the plot—is sometimes astonishing: species of fish enumerated by Conseil in Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, the phases of the moon in De la terre à la lune, the planet Saturn and its moons in Hector Servadac [Off on a Comet], various types of hot air balloons and dirigibles in Robur-le-conquérant [Robur the Conqueror, Clipper of the Clouds], etc. And even the non-pedagogical illustrations—those depicting the fictional plot—were also highly educational to French readers of the mid-late 19th century, especially to those who were less than 100% literate. As Marc Soriano has pointed out:
Let us not forget that [when Verne began to publish] we are in 1862-1865. The drive for literacy in France has been underway since the Guizot Law of 1833, but there is still much to do. Any well-advised editor must aid his readers who have not yet achieved a good reading proficiency....3
But it also must be acknowledged that the presence of such illustrations in Verne’s works acted as a double-edged sword: while they enhanced both the mimetic and the didactic dimensions of his novels, they also contributed to his entire oeuvre being considered “paraliterary” by the moguls of French literary taste of the time who viewed them as appropriate only for children or for the less-educated masses.4
According to their correspondence, Verne, Hetzel, and the illustrators of these books collaborated very closely with one another, and there was constant communication among them throughout the entire production process. In an 1868 letter from Verne to Hetzel concerning Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (#9), for instance, Verne writes:
I have received the drawings from Riou. I have several suggestions to make which I’ll mention to him by return mail. I think he needs to make the people much smaller and the rooms much larger. And he needs to add much more detail...
By the way, it was an excellent idea to use Colonel Charras as the model for Captain Nemo [#10]. I should’ve thought of that.5
The following excerpt is from an 1879 letter written by Verne to the artist Léon Benett. At the time, they were preparing the illustrations for Verne’s novel called La Maison à vapeur—that narrative where the heroes travel across India in an elephant-locomotive pulling two train-cars (#11). Verne writes:
Dear Mr. Benett, I have received your drawings which look excellent. But the caravan needs to be modified: instead of 2 train-like cars, they should be small bungalows—like little pagodas on wheels, European on the inside but Hindu on the outside. Imagine something that would go with the elephant pulling them... Be careful to make them so that they are not square, but longer than wider... And try to make them look very ornate...6
Verne often accompanied such letters to his illustrators with free-hand sketches to give them an idea of what he wanted. But, in this as in all other editorial matters, it was Hetzel who always had the final say. In the following 1884
letter, for example, Hetzel was forced to intervene in an apparent dispute between Verne and Benett over the portrayal of two protagonists in Verne’s novel Mathias Sandorf:
My dear old Benet [sic], I believe that we have finally come to the end of our miseries with these last changes that Verne has asked for. But if you look closer at his text concerning the clothing of Sarcany and Zirone, you will see that he is right. It couldn’t be clearer. He does indeed talk of a long cape and boots. You missed that entirely....Try to see if you can satisfy Verne’s demands...If he is annoying you, be assured that we are annoying him as well by forcing him to make revisions in his text. Nobody is exempt from corrections.7
Hetzel often required major changes in his illustrators’ work before
publication and sometimes also chose to radically censure their content
in the name of “good taste.” For example, a peaceful and rather banal
harbor scene at the outset of Les Voyages et aventures du capitaine
Hatteras was originally planned (and actually published in an earlier
version of the novel) to depict
Hatteras’ boisterous shipmates offering toasts of rum to celebrate the beginning of their journey toward the North Pole (#12). On occasion, however, certain editorial oversights occurred which neither Verne, nor Hetzel, nor even the illustrator himself managed to catch before publication—e.g., the one from L’Ile mystérieuse of the orangutang named “Jup” (#13) who, unlike most members of his species, has grown a tail! Or look closely at the two illustrations, placed sequentially in this same novel, where Ayrton is secretly climbing aboard a pirate ship in the middle of the night (#14-15). Ayrton not only has found a pair of pants during his climb, but also the hull and bow of the vessel have mysteriously metamorphosed from iron to wood, and a winged figurehead has suddenly appeared on its prow! And, on least one occasion, the artist actually “corrected” Verne’s text when illustrating it—e.g., Alphonse de Neuville’s portrayal of the famous battle with the giant squid in Vingt mille lieues sous les mers showing the beast with the requisite ten tentacles, instead of eight as described by Verne in his narrative (#16).8
The semiotic relationship between the illustrations and the text in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires is also interesting. As Georges Borgeaud has described it: “It is not the text which defines the illustration, but the illustration which defines the text and which transports the reader beyond...it is a catalyst to dream.”9 Each illustration not only condenses and concretizes into one image many separate segments of the text (presented linearly), but it also adds another layer of rich meaning to them, deepening the narrative’s associative and intertextual effect on the reader. In his study of Verne’s illustrations, for example, Daniel Compère has observed:
This commentary via illustration establishes a dialectic between the real and the imagined. The illustrations strengthen the verisimilitude of the Vernian text and their realism acts as a kind of guarantor of veracity. But they also add a dimension...of illusion.10
Further, the point of view represented by these illustrations—similar to the narrative voice in Verne’s texts11—is one which is constantly shifting, much like in a dream. The reader/viewer oscillates between seeing what the protagonists are actually seeing or thinking about, and what the narrator wishes to present as extra-narrative context. The point of view is sometimes anchored in the narrative’s present, sometimes in its past, sometimes in a hypothetical future. Much like a movie or TV camera, it sometimes zooms in for a close-up, sometimes zooms out for a panoramic shot, and sometimes (almost like an advertisement) intercalates into the action a brief pedagogical aside. In its polyvalent omnipresence—both within and outside the narrative itself—the point of view represented by these illustrations appears to dovetail perfectly with the dominant ideological and epistemological orientation of Verne’s entire oeuvre: i.e., a “vision” of totality, inventory, and appropriation.12
But who were these illustrators? Who were these very talented artists whose evocative images brought Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires to life and allowed millions of 19th-century readers to “boldly go” where they had not gone before? Who were these individuals who played such a large role in Verne’s worldwide celebrity and the enduring popularity of this new literary genre?
It must be said from the outset that very little is known about them.13 And even less is known about the dozens of engravers who converted the artists’ sketches into the detailed wood engravings and metal printing plates which produced the many illustrations published in these books, and whose names—Pannemaker, Hildibrand, Barbant, Prunaire, Dumont, Coste, Lavallé, Meaulle, et al.—sometimes figure prominently on the finished illustrations along with that of the illustrator himself. Consider, for example, the one from Cinq semaines en ballon (#17) illustrated by Riou and engraved by Hildebrand whose signature is found in the lower right-hand corner; or the one from Voyage au centre de la terre (#18) also illustrated by Riou but engraved by Pannemaker, who usually signed his work “PANN” (sometimes with the “N”s written backwards, as in a mirror reflection).
Edouard Riou (1833-1900) is the first and undoubtedly the most
illustrator of Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires. He illustrated
Verne’s earliest and most famous novels, including Cinq semaines en
ballon, Voyage au centre de la terre, (#19), Les Voyages et
aventures du capitaine Hatteras, Les Enfants du capitaine Grant
[The Children of Captain Grant, In Search of the Castaways], as
well as the first eleven chapters of Vingt mille lieues sous les
mers (the remaining chapters were done by Alphonse de Neuville). For
this latter novel, Verne himself posed for the portrait of Prof. Pierre
Aronnax located in an early chapter of this text. Before and after his
association with Hetzel, Riou specialized for many years in landscape
painting and commemorative pieces (the opening of the Suez Canal, the
marriage of the Russian tsar’s daughter, etc.). A student of the famous
French artists Daubigny and Gustave Doré, he was very well known in
France during the 1850s, 60s, and 70s, and he contributed illustrations
to a wide variety of French books and popular magazines throughout this
period—e.g., Dumas’ Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Scott’s
Ivanhoe and Waverley, Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris and
periodicals like Tour du monde, Illustrated Times, and
La Chronique illustrée. He was even inducted into the prestigious
Légion d’honneur toward the end of his career. Riou’s work for
Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires has been described as follows:
“Riou’s drawings are rich with light, and the traits of his characters
have a vigorous expression (#20). Riou succeeds in adapting himself
artistically to the realistic reproduction of the many fantastic locales
of the Vernian fictional geography: the mists and the glacial icepacks
(#21), the shadows inside the Earth’s crust (#22), the deserted and
expansive beaches, and the many bodies of water and their
movement...(#23). Everything is both ordered and evocative in Riou’s
work—his style might be called ‘romantic realism’...” (#24).14 Artist and Verne scholar Ron Miller has said of
Riou: “I believe his work stylistically spans the transition between the
illustrators of the early 19th century and those of the latter half—when
the profession of professional illustrators became established. Some of
the qualities that Riou carried over were the often cartoon-like
depiction of characters and the use of numerous ‘spot’
Henri de Montaut (1840?-1905?) helped Riou to illustrate Verne’s first
two novels of Cinq semaines en ballon and Les Voyages et
aventures du capitaine Hatteras. But he is better known as the sole
illustrator of Verne’s 1865 best-seller De la terre à la lune
(#25-26) and the creator of some of the most celebrated early sf
illustrations. Montaut was a successful magazine cartoonist who also
specialized in portraits—as in his rendering of the three Vernian
astronauts Barbicane, Nicholls, and Michel Ardan (#27)—the latter of
whom, incidentally, was drawn from the likeness of the famous Parisian
photographer and daredevil Nadar, whose witty personality and name (via
anagram) were immortalized by Verne in this work. Montaut was also known
to have contributed many works to the popular weekly French magazine
La Vie Parisienne
founded in 1862 and was himself responsible for starting another illustrated journal called L’Art et la Mode.
Alphonse de Neuville (1835-1885) was another much-admired painter in
France during this period. As a youth, he was a student of Eugène
Delacroix, and he was especially known for his battle scenes and pictures
of military life (especially scenes from the Franco-Prussian War of
1870-71). His paintings can be found in museums in Versailles, Grenoble,
Moscow, New York, and other cities. He also contributed a large number of
illustrations to the popular French magazine Le Tour du Monde,
provided 309 plates for Guizot’s Histoire de France, and was
inducted into the Légion d’honneur in 1881. He collaborated with
Riou on Vingt mille lieues sous les mers—all of the illustrations
from chapter 12 onwards are his (#28-31). Neuville was also responsible
for a small number of illustrations in the best-selling 1873 novel Le
Tour du monde en 80
jours [Around the World in 80 Days]—in particular, the portraits at the beginning of the novel like the one of Phileas Fogg (#32). But, before completing this work, he quit Hetzel’s employ, and it was the artist Léon Benett who provided the remainder of the illustrations for this particular novel.
Emile-Antoine Bayard (1837-1891) was a popular portrait painter and a
regular contributor to many different periodicals like the Journal des
Voyages, the Journal pour Rire, Cassell’s Magazine,
Le Tour du monde, L’Illustration, and others. He
illustrated many of Erckmann-Chatrian’s fantasy tales, a number of
literary works for youth by Alphonse Daudet, Jules Sandeau, Hector Malot,
la Comtesse de Ségur, and several classic novels like Victor Hugo’s
Les Misérables. But he is probably best remembered as the
illustrator of Un Drame dans les airs [A Drama in the Air]
in Verne’s short-story collection Le Docteur Ox [Doctor
Ox]16 and especially for the 1872 sequel
to Verne’s novel De la terre à la lune called Autour de la
lune. His work has
been described as follows: “His engravings showing the effects of
weightlessness upon the pioneer astronauts; the survey of the moon’s
surface; and, above all, the ‘spashdown’ picture are among science
fiction’s most famous illustrations (#33). The latter piece, showing the
American flag securely fixed above the module, proved to be amazingly
prophetic when Frank Borman of the Apollo 9 moon expedition landed in the
Pacific, one hundred years later, only two or three miles from the point
mentioned in the book.”17
Jules Ferat (1819-1889?) was known in Paris especially for his portrayals
of factory life, workers and their machines, and the milieu of heavy
industry (#34). He was responsible for the illustrations in many books of
fiction and non-fiction by authors like Eugène Sue, Louis Figuier,
Mayne-Reid, Edgar Allan Poe, and Victor Hugo from the early 1850s to the
late 1880s. He was also the sole illustrator for a number of Verne’s
novels—e.g., Une Ville flottante [A Floating City], Les
Forceurs du blocus [Blockade Runners], Les Aventures de
trois Russes et de trois Anglais [The Adventures of 3 Englishmen
and 3 Russians, Measuring the Meridian], Michel Strogoff, and
Les Indes noires [The Black Indies]. He was also the
co-illustrator with Alfred Quesnay de Beaurépaire (1830-?) for Le Pays
des fourrures [The Fur Country] and illustrated two short
stories, “Martin Paz” and “Un Drame au méxique” [A Drama in Mexico]. But
Ferat’s real masterpiece was the series of illustrations he did for
Verne’s 1874 novel L’Ile mystérieuse. Edmondo Marcucci18 has said of his work: “Ferat’s illustrations are
somewhat stylized: his characters have very fluid garments, rich with
folds and movement, and usually possess rugged working-class faces”—e.g.,
the portrait of Gideon Spilett from L’Ile mystérieuse (#35).
“Ferat is also a master with clair-obscur; he is particularly good
at rendering the play of light in darkened areas”—e.g., the various
illustrations depicting the coal mines of Les Indes noires (#36).
“On the other hand, he sometimes has a Michelangelo-like tendency toward
over-musculature and exaggeration of proportion in his characters”—e.g.,
the double-portrait of
Aryton and Cyrus Smith in L’Ile mystérieuse (#37). “And Ferat often seems to prefer a more symbolic than realistic portrayal of reality”—e.g., his illustration of the ocean liner called “The Great Eastern” (#38) from Verne’s early novel Une Ville flottante, where Ferat has enlarged the size of this vessel to truly gargantuan proportions. Another critic has said of Ferat: “Jules Ferat has always been my favorite of Verne’s illustrators—I associate his images with the books in much the same way that I associate Tenniel with Carroll. I would love to have seen what he would have done with 20,000 Leagues or Journey to the Center of the Earth! Benett runs a very close second, though his later work is not very good.”19
Three artists were commissioned by Hetzel to illustrate one novel each in
Verne’s collection: Henri Meyer (1844-1899) for Un Capitaine de quinze
ans [The Boy Captain], Paul-Dominique Philippoteaux (?-1903)
Servadac, and Georges Tiret-Bognet (1855-1930?) for Famille-sans-nom [Family Without a Name]. Philippoteaux, the son of another famous French artist, was also responsible—along with Benett—for illustrating Verne’s geography-history books Découverte de la Terre [Discovery of the Earth, 1868] and Les Grands Navigateurs du XVIIe siècle [The Great Navigators of the 17th century, 1879].
Léon Benett (1839-1917) was by far the most important illustrator of Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires in terms of sheer volume—almost half of the 60+ novels in this series, nearly 2,000 illustrations. A good friend of both Verne and Hetzel, his real name was Benet (with one “t”), but he added another “t” so that his name would not resemble the French word for a fool, or a simpleton. In addition to his work for Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires, Benett also illustrated books by Hugo, Erkmann Chatrian, Tolstoy, André Laurie, and Camille Flammarion among others. Benett traveled widely in the Orient and the South Seas (#39-40), and Charles Lemire,20 his fellow-traveler, described Benett and his work as follows: “We traveled together and wandered around the interior of the islands: rain forests, valleys, mountains, waterfalls, villages, plantations, tribespeople... (#41). Benett knew how to capture the real essence of all these exotic tropical locales. His notes and journal drawings were like an inexhaustible museum of our travels... And the exactitude of his illustrations were a perfect complement to the descriptions.” Benett’s work has also been described by Marcucci in the following terms:21 “He is carefully realistic in his representations”—e.g., his illustration from Les Cinq cents millions de la Bégum [The Begum’s Fortune] (#42) featuring a gigantic canon and its inventor, German mad scientist Herr Schultze (the German Chancellor Bismarck was used as model).
“Benett has a supple imagination, much movement, and there is a certain
delicacy in his lines (#43), and this is especially evident in his
portraits of women and children (#44). Finally, Benett knows better than
most how to frame an outdoor scene so that it is both real and
picturesque (#45), vibrating with richness.” But another critic, Pierre
Sichel,22 strongly disagrees, pointing out
that “Alas, ihe reproduces with exactitude the narrated events, his
portrayals go no further than that. He is not expressive. The faces of
his characters are neutral; his locales are devoid of poetry... His
compositions are impersonal (in the blandest and narrowest sense of the
word)... Thanks to the collaboration of Alphonse de Neuville, Verne’s
Le Tour du monde en 80 jours is a bit better. This latter
illustrator contributed, for example, the excellent portrait of Phileas
Fogg and a rather fine one of Passepartout. In contrast,
Benett’s rendering of the principal scenes in the novel is uniformly banal and boring... This is the work which made Jules Verne world-famous. Yet this novel is still awaiting an illustrator truly worthy of it” (#46). It is also interesting to note that Benett’s illustration of the American steam-train in Le Tour du monde en 80 jours (published in 1873) was apparently recycled thirteen years later, reappearing in the 1886 novel Robur-le-conquérant with the fantastic helicopter air-ship Albatros now inserted into it (#47).
Finally, George Roux (1850?-1929) was the second most prolific illustrator of the Voyages Extraordinaires—responsible for illustrating 22 novels in the series, mostly during the last years of Verne’s literary production (#48). He began with L’Epave du Cynthia [The Salvage of the “Cynthia”] in 1885 and finished with Verne’s last posthumous novel L’Etonnante aventure de la
mission Barsac [The Barsac Mission] in 1919. Scholarly opinion as to Roux’s merit as an illustrator tends to vary widely. One Vernian biographer, Peter Costello, has said of his illustrations for L’Etonnante aventure de la mission Barsac: “The vision of the secret city and the illustrations of it are quite magnificent. In designing the city, Roux seems to have been directly inspired by the latest advances in architecture... Verne was well served by his designers to the very end.”23 In contrast, Ron Miller has characterized Roux’s work as follows: “In my opinion, Georges Roux was the weakest of Verne’s illustrators and demonstrates not only the gradually decreasing quality of Hetzel’s illustrators but the reproduction of Roux’s work additionally suffers from the decreasing quality of the woodcut engravers—a profession that disappeared almost overnight with the introduction of the halftone process. If you look at the illustrations in Verne’s later works in chronological order, you can see this deterioration dramatically displayed.”24 And yet another, Pierre Sichel, remarks: “Roux is perhaps the most refined and the most ‘modern’ of all the illustrators of the Voyages Extraordinaires (#49). His compositions are large, luminous and very plastic”—e.g., the illustration from the Les Histoires de Jean-Marie Cabidoulin [The Sea Serpent: the Yarns of Jean-Marie Cabidoulin] (#50) where, obviously, Roux seems to have been just as clueless as De Neuville concerning shark anatomy.
“The gestures, faces, and muscles of his characters—and particularly in
groups of people—are masterfully treated”—e.g., the illustration from the
same work showing several bare-breasted New Zealand women feeding a
reclining man (#51). This particular novel was published in 1901 (some 15
years after Verne’s publisher Hetzel had died), and it is almost certain
that, had he been alive, the prudent Hetzel would have never allowed an
illustration like this one to be published in Verne’s works. In his final
comments on Georges Roux, Sichel makes the following observation:
“Lastly, I find Roux’s chromotypographs
This mention of Roux’s “chromotypographs” leads me to one last but very important matter concerning the many original illustrations in Verne’s works: i.e., their technological evolution. From 1850 onwards, the rapid development of two-toned lithography, photography, and photolithography slowly began to replace the older woodcut-engraving process in most publishing houses in France—primarily because these techniques were cheaper, faster, and much less labor-intensive.26 As a kind of graphic representation of this technological evolution in the printing industry, one need only look at the illustrations in Verne’s later Voyages Extraordinaires. For instance, consider those novels like his 1892 work entitled Claudius Bombarnac (illustrated by Léon Benett), whose title-page proudly announced the inclusion of six “large chromotypographical plates” along with “2 maps in color.”
Throughout this fin-de-siècle period of 1890 to 1900, Verne’s later novels tended to carry a mixture of old-fashioned woodcuts and the newer halftone illustrations. An example of this is George Roux’s illustrations for Verne’s 1897 epilogue to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Mystery of Arthur Gordon Pym called Le Sphinx des glaces [The Ice Sphinx]. Two illustrations, the first (a halftone) and the second (a woodcut), are located within the first couple of chapters of this work (#53-54). By Verne’s 1904 novel Maître du monde [Master of the World], however, most of the illustrations were of the new variety. And, effectively blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, even a real photograph is included from time to time—e.g., the one of Lake Michigan (#55) in this same novel.
Finally by 1907, some two years after Verne’s death, virtually all
of his remaining posthumous novels feature only “modern”
illustrations—e.g., the ones in his short story “Au XXXIXeme siècle:
Journée d’un journaliste américain en 2889” [“In the Year 2889”]
(#56)—actually written (as were a large number of other posthumous works)
by Verne’s son Michel27 and published
in the 1910 short-story collection entitled Hier et demain [Yesterday and Tomorrow].28
In conclusion, I believe that it is not too exaggerated to say that the
novels of Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires constitute a key
socio-historical artifact in understanding the dawn of our modern age—not
only because of their much-discussed literary status as proto-sf, but
also because of their evocative illustrations. The shift from a
19th-century worldview to an early 20th one is evident both in the
stylized content of these pictures—the manner of dress, the facial hair,
the Victorian “dream machines,” the Saint-Simonian portrayal of
scientists as conquering heroes, etc.—and in their actual published
format, as the technology itself was evolving from woodcuts to
photolithography, etc. As such, this remarkable collection of early sf illustrations29 stands as a living testament to the passing of an age—literary, ideological, and technological.
The narrative process is constantly breaking up. It changes signs, inverts itself, distances itself, comes from somewhere else as if from another speaker. Narrative voices emerge from nowhere, silencing those that preceded them, offering for a moment their own discourse, then suddenly disappear, to be replaced by another one of those nameless faces, these grey silhouettes. It is an organization very different from that of A Thousand and One
page 263Nights. In the latter, each narrative, even if it is recounted by a third party, is linked to the one who actually lived the story—each fable has its own voice, each voice its own fable... In Verne’s works, there is one fable per novel, but recounted by many different voices— voices that are intertwined, obscure, and contesting one another. (“Arrière fable” L’Arc 29 : 6).
plagiarized directly from Riou’s illustrations for J. Chaffanjon’s article “Voyage aux sources de l’Orénoque,” Le Tour du Monde (1889): tome 56—one of Verne’s sources for this novel. See Olivier Dumas, “À propos de Verne et Chaffanjon,” Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne 125 (1998): 10-14.
Borgeaud, Georges. “Les Illustrateurs de Jules Verne,” Arts et Lettres 15 (1949): 72.
----------. “Jules Verne et ses illustrateurs,”L’Arc 29 (1966): 43-45.
Bottin, André. Bibliographie des éditions illustrées des Voyages Extraordinaires de Jules Verne. Contes: Chez l’auteur, 1978.
Chauchoy, Philippe. Léon Benett, illustrateur de Jules Verne. Amiens: Centre Culturel de la Somme, 1991.
Chesneaux, Jean. “Les Illustrations des romans de Jules Verne,” Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne 37-38 (1976): 114-15.
Compère, Daniel. “Fenêtres latérales.” In Jules Verne 4: texte, image, spectacle, ed. François Raymond. Paris: Minard, 1983. 55-71.
----------. “Poétique de la carte,” Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne 50 (1979): 69-74.
Costello, Peter. Jules Verne, Inventor of Science Fiction. NY: Scribner’s, 1978.
Dalby, Richard. “Bayard, Emile-Antoine.” In Robert Weinburg, A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988. 47.
Dumas, Olivier. “Jules Verne et Benett, avec cinq lettres inédites de Jules Verne.” In Jules Verne 4: texte, image, spectacle, ed. François Raymond. Paris: Minard, 1983. 184-85.
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Fantasy Artists. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988.
Cinq semaines en ballon (1863, Five Weeks in a Balloon)—51
Edouard Riou (40), Henri de Montaut (5), unsigned (6)—engravers: Coste, Delaville, Dumont, Fournier, Hildibrand, Pannemaker, Prunaire
Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras (1866, Voyages of
Edouard Riou (190), Henri de Montaut (69)—engravers: Barbant, Cazat, Delaville, Dumont, Hildibrand, Joliet, Linton, Pannemaker, Pierdon, Pisan, Prunaire
Voyage au centre de la terre (1864, Journey to the Center of
Edouard Riou—engravers: Pannemaker, Gauchard, Maurand
De la terre à la lune (1865, From the Earth to the
Henri de Montaut—engravers: Pannemaker, Doms
Les Enfants du capitaine Grant (1867, The Children of Capt.
Edouard Riou—engravers: Delaville, Gauchard, Maurand, Pannemaker, Prunaire
Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1869-70, 20,000 Leagues Under
Edouard Riou (24), Alphonse de Neuville (86)—engraver: Hildibrand
Autour de la lune (1870, Around the Moon)—45
Alphonse de Neuville (6), Emile Bayard (39)—engraver: Hildibrand
Une Ville flottante, suivi des Forceurs du blocus (1871, A
Floating City, and the Blockade Runners)—44
Jules Ferat—engravers: Pannemaker, Doms
Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais (1872, Adventures
of 3 Englishmen and 3 Russians)—53
Jules Ferat—engravers: Pannemaker, Dutheil
Le Pays des fourrures (1873, The Fur Country)—103
Jules Ferat (74), Alfred Quesnay de Beaurepaire (29)—engravers: Pannemaker, Hildibrand, Dumont, Louis
Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1873, Around the World
in 80 Days)—56
Alphonse de Neuville (7), Léon Benett (49)—engravers: Dumont, Hildibrand, Louis, Pannemaker, Prévost
Le Docteur Ox (recueil): Une Fantaisie du docteur Ox, Maître
Zacharius, Un Hivernage dans les glaces, Un Drame dans les airs,
Quarantième ascension au mont Blanc (1874, Doctor Ox [short
stories]: Doctor Ox’s Experiment, Master Zacharius, Wintering in the
Ice, Drama in the Air, Fortieth Ascension of Mont Blanc)—61
Lorenz Froelich (15), Théophile Schuler (10), Edmond Yon (12), Adrien Marie (16), Emile Bayard (6), Bertrand (2)—engravers: Barbant, Pannemaker, Hildibrand
L’Ile mystérieuse (1874-75, The Mysterious
Jules Ferat—engraver: Barbant
Le Chancellor (1875, The Survivors of the
Edouard Riou (45), Jules Ferat (13)—engravers: Barbant, Crosbie, Dumont, Hildibrand, Louis, Meaulle, Pannemaker
Michel Strogoff (1876, Michel Strogoff, The Courier of the
Jules Ferat (90), Léon Benett (1)—engraver: Barbant
Hector Servadac (1877, Hector Servadac)—99
Paul Philippoteaux—engraver: Laplante
Les Indes noires (1877, The Black Indies)—45
Jules Ferat—engraver: Barbant
Un Capitaine de quinze ans (1878, Dick Sands, The Boy
Henri Meyer—engravers: Barbant, Meaulle
Les Cinq cents millions de la Bégum, (1879, The 500 Million of
the Begum, The Begum’s Fortune)—43
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Crosbie, Dumouza, Hildibrand, Louis, Meaulle, Pannemaker
Les Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine (1879, The Tribulations
of a Chinese Gentleman in China))—52
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Doumouza Dutertre, Deulard, Hildibrand, Louis, Meaulle, Maylander, Pannemaker
La Maison à vapeur (1880, The Steam House)—99
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Baude, Bellenger, Delangle, Dumouza, Froment, Heulard, Hildibrand, Joffroy, Louis Maylander, Meaulle, Pannemaker, Quesnel, Verdeil
La Jangada (1881, The Giant Raft)—98
Léon Benett (82), Edouard Riou (16)—engravers: Barbant, Bellenger, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Duvivier, Froment, Heulard, Hildibrand, Louis, Meaulle, Thomas
Le Rayon vert (1882, The Green Ray)—44
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Bellenger, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Hildibrand, Meaulle
L’Ecole des Robinsons (1882, Robinson’s School)—51
Léon Benett—engravers: Bellenger, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Meaulle, Verdeil
Kéraban-le-Têtu (1883, Kéraban the Inflexible)—101
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Bellenger, Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Froment, Heulard, Hildibrand, Lafontan, Leriverend-Dochy, Louis, Meaulle, Moller, Verdeil
L’Etoile du sud (1884, The Southern Star)—62
Léon Benett—engravers: Bellenger, Bure, Dumouza, Dutertre, Froment, Heulard, Hildibrand, Ladmiral, Louis, Meaulle, Moller, Puyplat, Verdeil
L’Archipel en feu (1884, The Archipelago on Fire)—49
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Froment, Guillaume, Heulard, Hildibrand, Ladmiral, Louis, Meaulle, Moller, Puyplat
Mathias Sandorf (1885, Mathias Sandorf)—111
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Bellenger, Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Froment, Guillaume, Heulard, Hildibrand, Jacob, Ladmiral, Louis, Meaulle, Moller, Pannemaker
L’Epave du Cynthia (1885, The Salvage of the “Cynthia”)—25
George Roux—engravers: Bellenger, Bure, Froment, Ladmiral, Mollet, Rousseau
Un Billet de loterie (1886, The Lottery Ticket)—41
George Roux—engravers: Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Froment, Hildibrand, Louis, Moller
Robur-le-Conquérant (1886, The Clipper of the Clouds,
Robur the Conqueror)—45
Léon Benett—engravers: Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Hildibrand, Ladmiral, Louis, Moller, Pannemaker, Rousseau
Nord contre Sud (1887, North Versus South)—85
Léon Benett—engravers: Bure, Delangle, Dochy, Dumouza, Froment, Ladmiral, Louis, Moller, Pannemaker, Puyplat, Vintraut
Le Chemin de France (1887, The Flight to France)—37
George Roux—engravers: Bure, Dochy, Dumouza, Dutertre, Froment, Ladmiral, Louis, Moller, Napier, Pannemaker, Rousseau, Vintraut
Deux ans de vacances (1888, A Two Years’ Vacation)—91
Léon Benett—engravers: Bure, Charpentié, Delangle, Dutertre, Froment, Ladmiral, Levasseur, Moller, Napier, Pannemaker, Petit, Puyplat, Rousseau, Vintraut
Famille-sans-nom (1889, Family Without a Name)—82
Georges Tiret-Bognet—engravers: Bellenger, Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Froment, Hamel, Ladmiral, Louis, Moller, Pannemaker, Petit, Peulot, Puyplat, Rousseau, Vintraut
Sans Dessus Dessous (1889 Topsy-Turvy, The Purchase of
the North Pole)—36
George Roux—engravers: Dumouza, Froment, Hamel, Ladmiral, Louis, Pannemaker, Petit, Peulot, Vintraut
César Cascabel (1890, Caesar Cascabel)—85
George Roux—engravers: Bellenger, Bure, Delangle, Dumouza, Dutertre, Froment, Hamel, Ladmiral, Louis, De Lucders, Moller, Peulot, Puyplat, Rousseau
Mistress Branican (1891, Mistress Branican)—83
Léon Benett—engravers: Delangle, Dumouza, Duplessis, Dutertre, Froment, Hamel, Gusman, Moller, Pannemaker, Peulot, Puyplat, Rousseau, Vintraut
Le Château des Carpathes (1892, The Castle of the
Léon Benett—engravers: ?
Claudius Bombarnac (1892, Claudius Bombarnac)—55
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Bauchart, Burgun, Carlier, Charpentié, Delangle, Duplessis, Dutertre, Froment, Gusman, Hamel, Moller, Morizet, Pannemaker, Peulot, Puyplat, Toquenne
P’tit-bonhomme (1893, Foundling Mick)—85
Léon Benett—engravers: ?
Mirifiques aventures de maître Antifer (1894, Captain
George Roux—engravers: Baudouin, Bories, Dumouza, Froment, Gusman, Hamel, Lerondeau, Maylander, Moller, Pannemaker, Fougeron-Vignerot
L’Ile à hélice (1895, The Floating Island, Propeller
Léon Benett—engravers: ?
Face au drapeau (1896, For the Flag)—42
Léon Benett—engravers: ?
Clovis Dardentor (1896, Clovis Dardentor)—47
Léon Benett—engravers: ?
Le Sphinx des glaces (1897, The Ice Sphinx)—68
George Roux—engravers: Barbant, Delangle, Duplessis, Froment, Froment fils, Guerelle, Gusman, Hamel, Marx, Maylander, Moller, Outrebon, Pannemaker, Puyplat
Le Superbe Orénoque (1898, The Superb Orinoco
George Roux—engravers: Ducourtioux, Duplessis, Froment, Guerelle, Hamel, Maylander, Moller, Pannemaker, Puyplat
Le Testament d’un excentrique (1899, The Will of an
George Roux—engravers: Duplessis, Froment, Guerelle, Maylander, Pannemaker
Seconde Patrie (1900, Second Homeland)—67
George Roux—engravers: Clément, Duplessis, Froment, Guerelle, Hamel, Mathieu, Maylander, Pannemaker, Puyplat
Le Village aérien (1901, The Village in the
George Roux—engravers: Barbant, Clément, Duplessis, Froment, Guerelle, Mathieu, Maylander, Puyplat
Les Histoires de Jean-Marie Cabidoulin (1901, The Sea Serpent:
The Yarns of Jean Marie Cabidoulin)—29
George Roux—engravers: Clément, Duplessis, Froment, Froment fils, Guerelle, Gusman, Mathieu, Maylander
Les Frères Kip (1902, The Kip Brothers
George Roux—engravers: Clément, Duplessis, Froment, Gusman, Mathieu, May-lander
Bourses de voyage (1903, Travel Scholarships
Léon Benett—engravers: Duplessis, Dutertre, Froment, Gusman, Maylander
Un Drame en Livonie (1904, A Drama in Livonia)—33
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Duplessis, Dutertre, Froment, Gusman, Mathieu, Maylander
Maître du Monde (1904, The Master of the World)—31
George Roux—engravers: Barbant, Duplessis, Dutertre, Froment, Gusman, Mathieu, Maylander, Pannemaker
L’Invasion de la mer (1905, The Invasion of the Sea
Léon Benett—engravers: Barbant, Duplessis, Froment, Gusman, Mathieu, Maylander, Vintraut
*Le Phare au bout du monde (1905, The Lighthouse at the End of
George Roux—engravers: Barbant, Clément, Duplessis, Dutertre, Froment, Mathieu, Maylander, Vintraut
*Le Volcan d’or (1906, The Golden Volcano)—47
George Roux—engravers: Dutertre, Froment, Maylander
*L’Agence Thompson and Co. (1907, The Thompson Travel
Léon Benett—engraver: Froment
*La Chasse au météore (1908, The Chase of the Golden
*Le Pilote du Danube (1908, The Danube Pilot)—29
*Les Naufragés du Jonathan (1909, The Survivors of the
*Le Secret de Wilhelm Storitz (1910, The Secret of Wilhelm
*Hier et demain (recueil): La Famille Raton, M. Ré-dièze et
Mlle. Mi-bémol, La Destinée de Jean Morénas, Le Humbug, Au XXXIXeme
siècle: Journée d’un journaliste américain en 2889, L’Eternel Adam
(1910, Yesterday and Tomorrow [short stories]: The Rat Family,
Mr. Ray Sharp and Miss Me Flat, The Fate of Jean Morenas, The Humbug, In
the Twenty-Ninth Century: The Day of an American Journalist in 2889,
George Roux (16), Félicien Myrbach (6), Léon Benett (14)
*L’Etonnante aventure de la mission Barsac (1919, The Barsac
George Roux (* posthumous)
Jules Verne’s original Voyages Extraordinaires contained over four thousand illustrations—an average of 60+ per novel in the popular Hetzel red and gold “luxury” French editions. These Victorian-looking wood-cut plates and maps constituted an integral part of Verne’s early sf oeuvre and, intercalated into the text at intervals of every 6-8 pages, they provided a powerful and omnipresent visual support structure to the text’s fictional narrative, its embedded pedagogical lessons, and its “arm-chair voyage” exoticism. The world-wide popularity of Verne’s romans scientifiques was no doubt at least partly attributable to the presence of these illustrations in his works. Thus, given the hermeneutic and historical importance of the illustrations in Verne’s oeuvre, it is somewhat surprising that, to date, they and the individuals who created them have been virtually ignored in both sf and Vernian criticism.
This article discusses the many varieties and functions of the
illustrations in Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires, the talented
artists and engravers who produced them, their
collaborative working relationship with Verne and the editor Hetzel, and the technological evolution of this craft itself from Verne’s earliest works in the 1860s to his final posthumous novel published in 1919.