Today we are celebrating the 184th birthday of Jules Verne, one of the founding fathers of science fiction and the second most translated author in the world after Agatha Christie.
Born in the harbour city of Nantes, France, the young Jules Verne spent a great amount of time watching the ships navigate the Loire River. This experience sparked the boy’s interest for travel and adventures, which he would later express through his writing.
His literary career started with writing liberetti for operettas. In 1863, he published his first full-length book En luftballongsresa genom Afrika (A Hot Air Balloon trip through Africa). However, the success came to him after meeting Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the more important French publishers of the 19th century. Hetzel significantly influenced Verne’s writings. He corrected the stories, gave invaluable advice on how to rewrite them and infused them with optimism.
Their fruitful partnership saw the publication of Verne’s most popular novels:
Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon) in 1863;
Voyage au centre de la Terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth) in 1864;
De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon) in 1865;
Les Enfants du capitaine Grant (Captain Grant’s Children) in 1867–1868;
Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) in 1869;
Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days) in 1872.
Discover more on Europeana and explore the unknown with Jules Verne’s books.