Monday, 8 February 2010

On this day...

French author Jules Verne was born in 1828. Known as the 'father of science fiction', along with contemporary H.G. Wells, Verne developed an appetite for travel early on in his life, spending summers with the ships of the Loire River. So fascinated was young Jules, that he attempted to sneak aboard a vessel bound for India, only to be caught and whipped by his father, and hence declared, 'I shall from now on only travel in my imagination'.

This he did with aplomb, yet his expanding literary career ensured the withdrawal of parental financial support, as his father had wished him to enter law. Nevertheless, Verne found support in two of the great French writers of the age, Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo, and found fortune with publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the most important members of his trade in the 19th century. Verne's works, all voraciously adapted, concentrate on travel in space, underwater, and air; indeed he was, in technological fields, advanced for the age. Some of his most recognisable novels include, 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', 'A Journey to the Centre of the Earth', and 'Around the World in Eighty Days'. Behind Agatha Christie, Verne is the most translated author.

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