As the second most translated author in the world (behind Agatha Christie), Jules Verne continues to make waves more than a hundred years following his death. Verne was born in Nantes, France on February 8th, 1828, and during his lifetime penned some of the most iconic works of science fiction.
Like most authors of his time, Jules Verne led a fairly fascinating life. But how much do you know about the father of science fiction? Read on for 5 fascinating facts about Jules Verne!
1. He got his law degree
Jules Verne displayed a passion for writing from a young age, but his father wanted him to pursue a more 'traditional' career and follow in his footsteps as a lawyer. Verne's father had a heavy influence over him, and Jules ended up moving to Paris to study law. In 1851, Verne obtained his law degree, but his love of writing never petered out. When his father arranged for Jules Verne to practice law in Nantes, Verne rebelled and decided to pursue his writing instead.
2. He knew Alexander Dumas
While living in Paris in the late 1840s, Verne made the acquaintance of Alexander Dumas, the author of The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Young Jules went on to become good friends with Dumas's son, who shared the same name, and together they revised a play Verne had written and eventually debuted it on the Paris stage in 1950.
3. He loved the sea
Given the themes of many of Jules Verne's books, you probably aren't very surprised to find out that he loved the sea. Verne's birthplace, Nantes, was a bustling port town and he grew up surrounded by shipbuilders, traders, and sailors. Once his writing career started to take off, Verne purchased a yacht and spent weeks at a time at sea. He saw the peace and quiet at sea as the perfect opportunity to work, and it was on his yacht that he drafted some of his most famous works: Around the World in Eighty Days and (appropriately) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
4. He predicted many technological advances
When Jules Verne wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea the Nautilus was purely a product of his imagination because the electric submarine hadn't even been invented yet! This wasn't the only technological advance Jules Verne predicted in the pages of his work. Verne wrote about skyscrapers, elevators, and cars with combustion engines, to name a few. He even dreamed of mechanical calculators (i.e. computers) which could communicate via a network (i.e. the Internet). Pretty incredible considering Jules Verne was born in the early 19th century.
5. He dabbled in travel writing
For most of us, books about travel and adventure are the closest we're getting to traveling these days. Besides being a novelist, playwright and poet, Verne also dabbled very briefly in travel writing. A pivotal moment for Jules Verne as a young man was his introduction to the great explorer Jacques Arago. Arago had been part of a three-year scientific sailing expedition which circumvented the globe, and as such was an inspiration to Verne. The Around the World in Eighty Days writer admired Jacques Arago so much that he took the nearly-blind explorer's travel journals and edited them so they could be more available to the public.
Jules Verne continues to inspire readers all around the globe, and his influence can still be seen in popular steampunk works as well as the stories and books of contemporary science fiction writers. As Ray Bradbury once said, "We are all, in one way or another, the children of Jules Verne." Considering we now live in a world Verne once dreamed up in the pages of his books, this is a poignant truth indeed.
Which Jules Verne fact did you find most surprising?
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