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Around the World in 80 Days


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Jules Verne: Pardon me, madams, I am not sure I understand the question. The novels you have read, I must assume, are English translations. The original text is in French.

Readers, this weekend Heather and I made an exciting discovery! While cleaning out my grandmother’s attic together, she and I stumbled upon something remarkable. We found a journal kept by my great-great-grandmother who lived in Victorian England and who also happened to be a close friend of Heather’s great-great-grandmother. They were both members of high society and well-known patrons of the arts and so moved in very influential circles. This journal contained pages and pages of interviews our ancestors had with famous Victorians. You can imagine our thrill at finding such a piece of history! I am very excited to share here my transcription of the first of many interviews, this one with Jules Verne!

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    Jules Verne: I’m sorry, it seems to me that you have entirely misunderstood my book. No one walks 20,000 leagues under the sea – the characters travel in a submarine. But do keep in mind, this was a work of fiction. Such a marvelous machine does not exist that I am aware of, though one day perhaps it will.

    Jules Verne was with reason proud of his prescience. He rightly considered himself a poet, in the old sense of “maker.” He once said: “After all, poets are not necessarily dreamers, but prophets.” In his own case there is certainly no impression of dream-like unreality. At no point after the title does the reader become incredulous. Even in such a preposterous conception as a voyage from the earth to the moon in a great hollow cannon-ball we are so cleverly hypnotized by the novelist’s art that not only does the trip seem quite plausible, but we appear to be taking it ourselves.