Jules Gabriel Verne (1828 - 1905) was a novelist, poet and playwright, renowned as one of the pioneers of science fiction as a genre. As a person who was born, brought up and lived most of his life in France, it should come to no one’s surprise that his primary language was French. As a science fiction fan myself, I thought that one of the first writers to take this genre seriously would be the perfect subject for this essay. Undeniably Jules Verne has had a huge impact on literature as well as many disciplines of science and even geography. In addition to that, I had read some of his novels earlier and found them to be enjoyable reads with a strong scientific foundation. What I found most intriguing about his works was the thorough description of how his hypothetical machines and gadgets worked and how grounded in reality that they were. So, without further ado, let’s find out about his life.
Jules Verne was born on the 8th of February, 1828 to Pierre Verne and Sophie Verne, in Nates, France. His parents had close links to the slave trade, which Jules later on came to despise. In a year, he would have a brother, Paul, and later three sisters, Anna, Mathilde and Marie. Jules began school in 1834 and throughout his school career demonstrated proficiency in singing, Greek, Latin and geography along with an innate sense of curiosity about the world around him. In accordance with his father’s wishes, he moved to Paris where he studied law from 1847 – 1849. After receiving his law degree, he started writing short stories and met author Jacques Arago. In this time he also took up poetry and wrote more than 50 poems, many of them directed towards Herminie Arnault‑Grossetière, a love interest he had at the time. A few years later, he published his first book, Le Salon de 1857 (The 1857 Salon), and married Honorine de Viane, a young widow with two daughters. With his new wife, Jules then visit Scotland and England and was inspired to write his book, Voyage en Angleterre et en Écosse (Backwards to Britain). He soon had his first and only child, Michel.
On January 31st, 1863 Jules Verne’s writing career truly started after Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon) was published by Jules Hetzel. Although the book did not sell well, it created a partnership between Hetzel and Verne which would in one year give him the opportunity to publish some of his more famous works like Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras (Adventures of Captain Hatteras), and Voyage au centre de la Terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth). After settling down with his family in Amiens, he took a trip to America in 1867 seeking inspiration. During this time, he was doing quite well financially and so, on 1868 he bought a yacht, which he christened the Saint-Michel after his son. During this part of his life, Jules Verne wrote many of his most famous stories, with a focus on science fiction and exploration. Some of these tales are: Vingt mille lieues...