Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Second Coming of Verne

For those of us who have long appreciated the literary endeavors of prolific French novelist Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Days, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, etc.), news that younger readers are finally “discovering” his significance can only be heartening.

From The Barnes & Noble Review:
Few people some twenty years ago, near the start of the administration of George Bush, Sr.--when cyberpunk was still a fresh notion, when there existed only three Star Wars films, all good, and when the word “steampunk” had only just been coined--would have predicted that in the early twenty-first century some of the most entertaining and deftly rendered science fiction being currently published would derive from the pen of a Frenchman dead for a century, whose legacy had long been set in cement as amounting to nothing more than ham-handed adventure novels for juveniles. And yet at that distant time, the re-discovery of this Gallic genius was actually well underway, and today his stature is almost completely restored to its former glory.

The author under discussion, as you might well guess, is none other than Jules Verne, one of the two generally acknowledged fathers of the science fiction genre, along with his co-daddy, H. G. Wells. Recent years have seen a flood of “new” Verne titles, including re-translations of familiar classics (The Mysterious Island), first-time English versions of lesser-known novels (The Kip Brothers), and even heretofore-lost manuscripts brought to light (Paris in the Twentieth Century). Taken as a whole, this mass of Verniana has permitted and encouraged a reassessment of the writer’s career and reputation among scholars and critics, as well as providing real pleasures for the average reader and fan.
You’ll find the whole piece here.


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