Long considered “The Father of Science Fiction,” Jules Verne has astounded many with his prescience–focusing many of his novels on inventions that were before their time, such as spaceships, submarines, and even a proto-fax machine. Yet, while Verne has been a beloved literary hero for young people since the success of his first published novel Five Weeks in a Balloon in 1863, he also has had an impact on readers of all ages. A re-examination of his work today reveals Verne’s literary prowess not only for his foresight in predicting new forms of travel, but also for his insights into humanity, society, history, and the world. This course will introduce students to the scope of Verne’s novels and thoughts.
Jules Verne Rediscovered: Didacticism and the Scientific Novel, by Arthur B. Evans
Jules Verne: An Exploratory Biography, by Herbert Lottman
Hollywood Presents: Jules Verne, the Father of Science Fiction on Screen, by Brian Taves
Jules Verne: Journeys in Writing, by Timothy Unwin
Online academic journal devoted to Jules Verne’s works: Jules Verne Studies/ Etudes Jules Verne: Verniana (www.verniania.com)
- Although Verne seems to highlight the wonders of technology, what are the dangers that he warns against, as well?
- Verne researched the latest scientific discoveries of his time, and his novels were meant to educate as well as to entertain. Yet, they can also be read as exciting travel logs. How does Verne help us travel through his works?
- Describe the typical Vernian hero, as well as his opposite, the Vernian anti-hero or nemesis. Why is there a dearth of female protagonists?
- How is Verne a writer of his time and country (mid-to-late 19th-century France)? How did Verne become a universally appreciated novelist and one of the most translated? (Because he has been so widely translated, many readers have assumed he wrote in English, Spanish, and Russian, among many other languages and nations).