Verne, Jules (vûrn; zhül vĕrn) [key], 1828–1905, French novelist, originator of modern science fiction. After completing his studies at the Nantes lycée, he went to Paris to study law. He early became interested in the theater and wrote (1848–50) librettos for operettas. For some years his concerns alternated between business and the theater, but after 1863 he drew upon his interest in science and geography to write a series of romances of extraordinary journeys, in which he anticipated, with remarkable foresight, many scientific and technological achievements of the 20th cent.
Verne is especially known to English readers in translations of his Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863), A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1870), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), The Mysterious Island (1875), and Michael Strogoff (1876). Extremely popular, he wrote more than 50 books by the time he died. Plays and motion pictures have been made from many of his works, which are still widely read, particularly by the young. In 1989 the manuscript of Verne's long-lost 1863 novel Paris in the 20th Century was discovered; the pessimistic and prophetic futurist work was published in 1994.
See A. B. Evans, Jules Verne Rediscovered (1988).
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