Jules Verne

Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


Jules Verne—Author of Science Fiction

February 8, 1828, Nantes, France, 12:00 PM, LMT. (Source: Sabian Symbols #928). Died, March 24, 1905, Amiens, France

(Ascendant, Gemini; Sun and Mercury in Aquarius, with Sun conjunct MC; Moon conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio; Venus in Pisces; Mars in Sagittarius; Saturn in Cancer; Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn; Pluto in Aries)


Everybody knows that the great reversed triangle of land, with its base in the north and its apex in the south, which is called India, embraces fourteen hundred thousand square miles, upon which is spread unequally a population of one hundred and eighty millions of souls.

It was all very well for an Englishman like Mr. Fogg to make the tour of the world with a carpet-bag; a lady could not be expected to travel comfortably under such conditions.

On the 31st of October, at ten o'clock in the morning, the troop disembarked on the quays of Tampa Town; and one may imagine the activity which pervaded that little town, whose population was thus doubled in a single day.

On the morrow the horizon was covered with clouds- a thick and impenetrable curtain between earth and sky, which unhappily extended as far as the Rocky Mountains. It was a fatality!

The Nautilus was piercing the water with its sharp spur, after having accomplished nearly ten thousand leagues in three months and a half, a distance greater than the great circle of the earth. Where were we going now, and what was reserved for the future?

This forcible abduction, so roughly carried out, was accomplished with the rapidity of lightning. I shivered all over. Whom had we to deal with? No doubt some new sort of pirates, who explored the sea in their own way. Hardly had the narrow panel closed upon me, when I was enveloped in darkness.

Thus ends the voyage under the seas. What passed during that night- how the boat escaped from the eddies of the maelstrom-- how Ned Land, Conseil, and myself ever came out of the gulf, I cannot tell.

We were alone. Where, I could not say, hardly imagine. All was black, and such a dense black that, after some minutes, my eyes had not been able to discern even the faintest glimmer.

“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.”

“Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real”
(Neptune in Capricorn in 8th house opposition Saturn in Cancer in 2nd house)

“Whatever one man is capable of conceiving, other men will be able to achieve”

“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.”

“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”

“He believed in it, as certain good women believe in the leviathan--by faith, not by reason.”

“The resolutions passed at the last meeting produced a great effect out of doors. Timid people took fright at the idea of a shot weighing 20,000 pounds being launched into space; they asked what cannon could ever transmit a sufficient velocity to such a mighty mass.”

“We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.”

“To those who were not familiar with the motions of the moon, they demonstrated that she possesses two distinct motions, the first being that of rotation upon her axis, the second being that of revolution round the earth, accomplishing both together in an equal period of time, that is to say, in twenty-seven and one-third days.”

“Ah, pierce me 100 times with your needles fine and I will thank you 100 times, Saint Morphine, you who Aeseulapus has made a God.”

“Was I to believe him in earnest in his intention to penetrate to the centre of this massive globe? Had I been listening to the mad speculations of a lunatic, or to the scientific conclusions of a lofty genius? Where did truth stop? Where did error begin?”
(Sun & Mercury in Aquarius conjunct MC)

“Liberty is worth paying for . . .”

“He rose at thirteen minutes to one, and directed his steps towards the large hall, a sumptuous apartment adorned with lavishly-framed paintings. A flunkey handed him an uncut Times, which he proceeded to cut with a skill which betrayed familiarity with this delicate operation.”

“The way of describing this unlooked-for scene, the history of the patriot ship, told at first so coldly, and the emotion with which this strange man pronounced the last words, the name of the Avenger, the significance of which could not escape me, all impressed itself deeply on my mind. My eyes did not leave the Captain, who, with his hand stretched out to sea, was watching with a glowing eye the glorious wreck.”

“It swam crossways in the direction of the Nautilus with great speed, watching us with its enormous staring green eyes. Its eight arms, or rather feet, fixed to its head, that have given the name of cephalopod to these animals, were twice as long as its body, and were twisted like the furies' hair.”

“How much further can we go? What are the final frontiers in this quest for travel? Will humankind only be satisfied when journeys into space become readily available and affordable? ”

“Travel enables us to enrich our lives with new experiences, to enjoy and to be educated, to learn respect for foreign cultures, to establish friendships, and above all to contribute to international cooperation and peace throughout the world.”
(Gemini Ascendant. Uranus in 9th house. Sun in Aquarius.)

"Sir," replied the commander, "I am nothing to you but Captain Nemo; and you and your companions are nothing to me but the passengers of the Nautilus."
(20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

"Axel," replied the Professor with perfect coolness, "our situation is almost desperate; but there are some chances of deliverance, and it is these that I am considering. If at every instant we may perish, so at every instant we may be saved. Let us then be prepared to seize upon the smallest advantage."
(Journey to the Centre of the Earth)

" . . . as long as the heart beats, as long as body and soul keep together, I cannot admit that any creature endowed with a will has need to despair of life."
(Journey to the Centre of the Earth)

On 24 May 1863, a Sunday, my uncle, Professor Lidenbrock, came rushing back towards his little house at No. 19 Konigstrasse, one of the oldest streets in the historic part of Hamburg.
- A Journey to the Centre of the Earth
(ch. 1) [Books (First Lines)]

Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house in which Sheridan died in 1814. He was one of the most noticeable members of the Reform Club, though he seemed always to avoid attracting attention; an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known, except that he was a polished man of the world. People said that he resembled Byron--at least that his head was Byronic; but he was a bearded, tranquil Byron, who might live on a thousand years without growing old.
- Around the World in 80 Days
[Books (First Lines)]

Phileas Fogg had won his wager, and had made his journey around the world in eighty days. To do this he had employed every means of conveyance--steamers, railways, carriages, yachts, trading-vessels, sledges, elephants. The eccentric gentleman had throughout displayed all his marvellous qualities of coolness and exactitude. But what then? What had he really gained by all this trouble? What had he brought back from this long and weary journey?
Nothing, say you? Perhaps so; nothing but a charming woman, who, strange as it may appear, made him the happiest of men!
Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?
- Around the World in 80 Days
[Books (Last Lines)]

During the War of the Rebellion, a new and influential club was established in the city of Baltimore in the State of Maryland. It is well known with what energy the taste for military matters became developed among that nation of ship-owners, shopkeepers, and mechanics. Simple tradesmen jumped their counters to become extemporized captains, colonels, and generals, without having ever passed the School of Instruction at West Point; nevertheless; they quickly rivaled their compeers of the old
continent, and, like them, carried off victories by dint of lavish expenditure in ammunition, money, and men.
- From the Earth to the Moon (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]

"Sire, a fresh dispatch."
"From Tomsk?"
"Is the wire cut beyond that city?"
"Yes, sire, since yesterday."
"Telegraph hourly to Tomsk, General, and keep me informed of all that occurs."
- Michael Strogoff (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]

"Nothing, sir, can induce me to surrender my claim."
"I am sorry, count, but in such a matter your views cannot modify mine."
"But allow me to point out that my seniority unquestionably gives me a prior right."
"Mere seniority, I assert, in an affair of this kind, cannot possibly entitle you to any prior claim whatever."
- Off on a Comet! (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]

Bang! Bang!
The pistol shots were almost simultaneous. A cow peacefully grazing fifty yards away received one of the bullets in her back. She had nothing to do with the quarrel all the same.
- Robur the Conqueror (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]

If I speak of myself in this story, it is because I have been deeply involved in its startling events, events doubtless among the most extraordinary which this twentieth century will witness. Sometimes I even ask myself if all this has really happened, if its pictures dwell in truth in my memory, and not merely in my imagination.
- The Master of the World (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]

Speaking of the great American Andes, the mineralogist Hauy uses a grand expression when he calls them "The incommensurable parts of Creation."
- Tigers and Traitors (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]

But what has become of the Nautilus? Did it resist the pressure of the maelstrom? Does Captain Nemo still live? And does he still follow under the ocean those frightful retaliations? Or, did he stop after that last hecatomb? Will the waves one day carry to him this manuscript containing the history of his life? Shall I ever know the name of this man? Will the missing vessel tell us by its nationality that of Captain Nemo?
I hope so. And I also hope that his powerful vessel has conquered the sea at its most terrible gulf, and that the Nautilus has survived where so many other vessels have been lost! If it be so- if Captain Nemo still inhabits the ocean, his adopted country, may hatred be appeased in that savage heart! May the contemplation of so many wonders extinguish forever the spirit of vengeance! May the judge disappear, and the philosopher continue the peaceful exploration of the sea! If his his destiny be strange, it is also sublime. Have I not understood it myself? Have I not lived ten months of this this unnatural life? And to the question asked by Ecclesiastes 3,000 years ago, "That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?" two men alone of all now living have the right to give an answer - CAPTAIN NEMO AND MYSELF.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
[Books (Last Lines)]

The year 1866 was signalized by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
[Books (First Lines)]

The man must have travelled everywhere - mentally, if in no other way.

‘What’s the matter?’ asked Mr. Fogg. ‘In my hurry and flurry … I forgot …’ ‘what?’ ‘To put out the gas in my room!’ ‘Well, my boy,’ replied Mr. Fogg (to Passepartout) coldly, ‘it will be burn at your own expense.’

‘Certainly,’ he thought, ‘the man is a polite rascal, but a rascal none the less.’

That very day, the second of October, Phileas Fogg had dismissed James Foster, because the fellow had committed the offense of bringing him shaving water at eighty-four Fahrenheit instead of eighty-six, and he was expecting a new servant, who was to report himself between eleven and half-past.

‘The least they can do is return the shoes!’ cried Passepartout angrily; whereupon the shoes were given back to him.
‘A precious sum they have cost!’ he muttered. ‘More than a thousand pounds each! And they are not even comfortable!’


Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828–March 24, 1905) was a French author who pioneered the science-fiction genre. He is best known for novels such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870), Journey To The Center Of The Earth (1864), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before air travel and practical submarines were invented, and before practical means of space travel had been devised. He is the third most translated author in the world, according to Index Translationum. Some of his books have been made into films. Verne, along with Hugo Gernsback and H. G. Wells, is often popularly referred to as the "Father of Science Fiction".[1]

Early years
Jules G. Verne was born in Nantes, France, to Pierre Verne, an attorney, and his wife, Sophie. The eldest of five children, Jules spent his early years at home with his parents in the bustling harbor city of Nantes. The family spent summers in a country house just outside the city, on the banks of the Loire River. Here Jules and his brother Paul would often rent a boat for a Franc a day. The sight of the many ships navigating the river sparked Jules's imagination, as he describes in the autobiographical short story Souvenirs d'Enfance et de Jeunesse. At the age of nine, Jules and Paul, of whom he was very fond, were sent to boarding school at the Saint Donatien College (Petit séminaire de Saint-Donatien). As a child, he developed a great interest in travel and exploration, a passion he showed as a writer of adventure stories and science fiction. His interest in writing often cost him progress in other subjects.

At the boarding school, Verne studied Latin, which he used in his short story Le Mariage de Monsieur Anselme des Tilleuls in the mid 1850s. One of his teachers may have been the French inventor Brutus de Villeroi, professor of drawing and mathematics at the college in 1842, and who later became famous for creating the US Navy's first submarine, the USS Alligator. De Villeroi may have inspired Verne's conceptual design for the Nautilus in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, although no direct exchanges between the two men have been recorded.

Verne's second French biographer, Marguerite Allotte de la Fuye, formulated the rumor that Verne was so fascinated with adventure at an early age that he stowed away on a ship bound for the West Indies, but that Jules's voyage was cut short when he found his father waiting for him at the next port.

Literary debut
After completing his studies at the lycée, Verne went to Paris to study for the bar. About 1848, in conjunction with Michel Carré, he began writing librettos for operettas. For some years his attentions were divided between the theatre and work, but some travellers' stories which he wrote for the Musée des Familles revealed to him his true talent: the telling of delightfully extravagant voyages and adventures to which cleverly prepared scientific and geographical details lent an air of verisimilitude.

When Verne's father discovered that his son was writing rather than studying law, he promptly withdrew his financial support. Verne was forced to support himself as a stockbroker, which he hated despite being somewhat successful at it. During this period, he met Alexandre Dumas, père and Victor Hugo, who offered him writing advice.

Verne also met Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. They were married on January 10, 1857. With her encouragement, he continued to write and actively looked for a publisher. On August 3, 1861, their son, Michel Jules Verne, was born. A classic enfant terrible, Michel would marry an actress over Verne's objections, had two children by his underage mistress, and buried himself in debts. The relationship between father and son did improve as Michel grew older.

A typical Hetzel front cover for a Jules Verne book. The edition is Les Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras au Pôle Nord, type "Aux deux éléphants".Verne's situation improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, one of the most important French publishers of the 19th century, who also published Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, and Erckmann-Chatrian, among others. They formed an excellent writer-publisher team until Hetzel's death. Hetzel helped improved Verne's writings, which until then had been repeatedly rejected by other publishers. Hetzel read a draft of Verne's story about the balloon exploration of Africa, which had been rejected by other publishers for being "too scientific". With Hetzel's help, Verne rewrote the story, which was published in 1863 in book form as Cinq semaines en balloon (Five Weeks in a Balloon). Acting on Hetzel's advice, Verne added comical accents to his novels, changed sad endings into happy ones, and toned down various political messages.

From that point to years after Verne's death, Hetzel published two or more volumes a year. The most successful of these include: Voyage au centre de la terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864); De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865); Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1869); and Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), which first appeared in Le Temps in 1872. The series is collectively known as "Les voyages extraordinaires" ("extraordinary voyages"). Verne could now live on his writings. But most of his wealth came from the stage adaptations of Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1874) and Michel Strogoff (1876), which he wrote with Adolphe d'Ennery. In 1867 Verne bought a small ship, the Saint-Michel, which he successively replaced with the Saint-Michel II and the Saint-Michel III as his financial situation improved. On board the Saint-Michel III, he sailed around Europe. In 1870, he was appointed as "Chevalier" (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur. After his first novel, most of his stories were first serialised in the Magazine d'Éducation et de Récréation, a Hetzel biweekly publication, before being published in the form of books. His brother Paul contributed to 40th French climbing of the Mont-Blanc and a collection of short stories - Doctor Ox - in 1874. Verne became wealthy and famous. According to the Unesco Index Translationum, Jules Verne regularly places among the top five most translated authors in the world.

The last years
On March 9, 1886, as Verne was coming home, his twenty-five-year-old nephew, Gaston, with whom he had entertained lengthy and affectionate relations, shot him with a gun. One bullet missed, but the second entered Verne's left leg, giving him a limp that would not be cured. The incident was hushed up by the media, and Gaston spent the rest of his life in an asylum.

After the deaths of Hetzel and his beloved mother in 1887, Jules began writing darker works. This may partly be due to changes in his personality, but an important factor is the fact that Hetzel's son, who took over his father's business, was not as rigorous in his corrections as Hetzel Sr. had been. In 1888, Jules Verne entered politics and was elected town councillor of Amiens, where he championed several improvements and served for fifteen years. In 1905, while ill with diabetes, Verne died at his home, 44 Boulevard Longueville (now Boulevard Jules-Verne). Michel oversaw publication of his last novels Invasion of the Sea and The Lighthouse at the End of the World. The "Voyages extraordinaires" series continued for several years afterwards in the same rhythm of two volumes a year. It has later been discovered that Michel Verne had made extensive changes in these stories, and the original versions were published at the end of the 20th century.

In 1863, Jules Verne wrote a novel called Paris in the 20th Century about a young man who lives in a world of glass skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, calculators, and a worldwide communications network, yet cannot find happiness and comes to a tragic end. Hetzel thought the novel's pessimism would damage Verne's then booming career, and suggested he wait 20 years to publish it. Verne put the manuscript in a safe, where it was discovered by his great-grandson in 1989. It was published in 1994.

Reputation in English-speaking countries
While Verne is considered in many countries such as France as an author of quality books for young people, with a good command of his subjects, including technology and politics, his reputation in English-speaking countries suffered for a long time from poor translation.

Characteristic of much of late 19th-century writing, Verne's books often took a chauvinistic point of view. The British Empire in particular was frequently portrayed in a bad light, and so the first English translator, Reverend Lewis Page Mercier working under a pseudonym, removed many such passages, such as those describing the political actions of Captain Nemo in his incarnation as an Indian nobleman. Such negative depictions were not, however, invariable in Verne's works; for example, Facing the Flag features Lieutenant Devon, a heroic, self-sacrificing Royal Navy officer worthy of any written by British authors.

Mercier and subsequent British translators also had trouble with the metric system that Verne used, sometimes dropping significant figures, at other times keeping the nominal value and only changing the unit to an Imperial measure. Thus Verne's calculations, which in general were remarkably exact, were converted into mathematical gibberish. Also, artistic passages and whole chapters were cut because of the need to fit the work in a constrained space for publication. (The London author, Cranstoun Metcalfe (1866–1938), translated most of Verne's work into English during the first half of the 20th century.)

For those reasons, Verne's work initially acquired a reputation in English-speaking countries for not being fit for adult readers. This in turn prevented him from being taken seriously enough to merit new translations, leading to those of Mercier and others being reprinted decade after decade. Only from 1965 on were some of his novels re-translated more accurately, but even today Verne's work has still not been fully rehabilitated in the English-speaking world.

Verne's works also reflect the bitterness France felt in the wake of defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871, and the loss of Alsace and Lorraine. The Begum's Millions (Les Cinq cents millions de la Begum) of 1879 gives a highly stereotypical depiction of Germans as monstrous cruel militarists. By contrast, almost all the protagonists in his pre-1871 works, such as the sympathetic first-person narrator in Journey to the Centre of the Earth, are German.

Hetzel's influence
Hetzel substantially influenced the writings of Verne, who was so happy to finally find a willing publisher that he agreed on almost all changes that Hetzel suggested. Hetzel rejected at least one novel (Paris in the 20th Century), and asked Verne to significantly change his other drafts. One of the most important changes Hetzel enforced on Verne was the adoption of optimism in his novels. Verne was in fact not an enthusiast of technological and human progress, as can be seen in his works created before he met Hetzel and after his death. Hetzel demand of the optimistic text proved correct. For example, Mysterious Island originally ended with the survivors returning to mainland forever nostalgic about the island. Hetzel decided that the heroes should live happily, so in the revised draft, they use their fortunes to build a replica of the island. Many translations are like this. Also, in order not to offend France's then-ally, Russia, the origin and past of the famous Captain Nemo were changed from those of a Polish refugee avenging the partitions of Poland and the death of his family in the January Uprising repressions to those of an Indian prince fighting the British Empire after the Sikh War.

Jules Verne (1828-1905)
Enormously popular French author, the founding father of science fiction with H.G. Wells. Verne's stories, written for adolescents as well as adults, caught the enterprising spirit of the 19th century, its uncritical fascination about scientific progress and inventions. His works were often written in the form of a travel book, which took the readers on a voyage to the moon in From the Earth to the Moon (1865) or to another direction as in A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). Many of Verne's ideas have been hailed as prophetic. Among his best-known books is the classic adventure story Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

"Ah - what a journey - what a marvelous and extraordinary journey! Here we had entered the earth by one volcano, and we had come out by another. And this other was situated more than twelve hundred leagues from Sneffels, from that drear country of Iceland cast away on the confines of the earth... We had abandoned the region of eternal snows for that infinite verdure, and had left over our heads the gray fog of the icy regions to come back to the azure sky of Sicily!" (from A Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864)

Jules Verne was born and raised in the port of Nantes. His father was a prosperous lawyer. To continue the practice, Verne moved to Paris, where he studied law. His uncle introduced him into literary circles and he started to published plays under the influence of such writers as Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (fils), whom Verne also knew personally. LÉONARD DE VINCI, which he wrote at the age of 23, was not published until 1995. The play, later renamed Joconde and then Monna Lisa was about the love between Leonardo da Vinci and his beautiful model, the wife of a Florentine gentleman. Verne's one-act comedy The Broken Straws was performed in Paris when he was 22. In spite of busy writing, Verne managed to pass his law degree. During this period Verne suffered from digestive problems which then recurred at intervals through his life.

In 1854 Charles Baudelaire translated Edgar Allan Poe's works into French. Verne became one of the most devoted admirers of the American author, and wrote his first science fiction tale, 'An voyage in Balloon' (1851), under the influence of Poe. Later Verne would write a sequel to Poe's unfinished novel, Narrative of a Gordon Pym, entitled The Sphinz of the Ice-Fileds (1897). When his career as an author progressed slowly, Verne turned to stockbroking, an occupation which he held until his successful tale Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) in the series VOYAGES EXTRAORDINAIRES. Verne had met in 1862 Pierre Jules Hetzel, a publisher and writer for children, who started to publish Verne's 'Extraordinary Journeys'. This cooperation lasted until the end of Verne's career. Hetzel had also worked with Balzac and George Sand. He read Verne's manuscripts carefully and did not hesitate to suggest corrections. One of Verne's early works, Paris in the Twentieth Century, was turned down by the publisher, and it did not appear until 1997 in English.

Verne's novels gained soon a huge popularity throughout the world. Without the education of a scientist or experiences as a traveler, Verne spent much of his time in research for his books. In the contrast of fantasy literature, exemplified by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (1865), Verne tried to be realistic and practical in details. Arthur B. Evans has noted in Jules Verne Rediscovered (1988) that Verne's novels contain little of what the general reading public nowadays considers typical for science fiction - for example E.T.s and bug-eyed monsters.

When H.G. Well's invented in The First Men in the Moon 'cavourite,' a substance impervious to gravity, Verne was not satisfied: "I sent my characters to the moon with gunpowder, a thing one may see every day. Where does M. Wells find his cavourite? Let him show it to me!" However, when the logic of the story contradicted contemporary scientific knowledge, Verne did not keep to the facts and probabilities too slavishly. Around the World in Eighty Days was about Philèas Fogg's daring but realistic travel feat on a wager, based on a real journey by the US traveller George Francis Train (1829-1904). A Journey to the Centre of the Earth is vulnerable to criticism on geological grounds. The story depicted an expedition that enters in the hollow heart of the Earth. In Hector Servadac (1877) a comet takes Hector and his servant on a trip around the Solar System. In a tongue-in-cheek episode they discover a fragment of the Rock of Gibraltar, occupied by two Englishmen playing chess.

In Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, Verne introduced one of the forefathers of modern superheroes, the misanthropic Captain Nemo and his elaborate submarine, Nautilus, named after Robert Fulton's steam-powered submarine. The Mysterious Island was about industrial exploits of men stranded on an island (see: Robinsonade Daniel Defoe). In these works, filmed several times, Verne combined science and invention with fast-paced adventure. Some of Verne's fiction has also become a fact: his submarine Nautilus predated the first successful power submarine by a quarter century, and his spaceship predicted the development a century later. The first all-electric submarine, built in 1886 by two Englishmen, was named Nautilus in honor of Verne's vessel. The first nuclear-powered submarine, launched in 1955, was named Nautilus, too.

The film version of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1954), produced by Walt Disney and directed by Richard Fleischer, won an Oscar for its special effects, which included Bob Mattey's mechanically operated giant squid. It fought with the actors in a special studio tank. Interior sets were built as closely as possible to Verne's own descriptions of Nautilus. James Mason played Captain Nemo and Kirk Douglas was Ned Land, a lusty salor. Mike Todd's film Around The World in 80 Days (1957) won an Academy Award as the Best Picture but it failed to gain any acting honors with its 44 cameo stars. Almost 70,000 extras was employed and the film used 8,552 animals, most of which were Rocky Mountain sheep, buffalos, and donkeys. Also four ostriches appeared.

In the first part of his career Verne expressed his technophile optimism about progress and Europe's central role in the social and technical development of the world. What becomes of technical inventions, Verne's imagination sometimes contradicted facts. In From Earth to the Moon a giant cannon shoots the protagonist into orbit. Any contemporary scientist could have told Verne, that the passengers would be killed by the initial acceleration. However, the idea of the space gun first appeared in print in the 18th-century. And before it, Cyrano de Bergerac wrote Voyages to the Moon and Sun (1655), and applied in one of his stories the rocket to space travel.

"It is difficult to say how seriously Verne took the idea of this mammoth cannon, because so much of the story is facetiously written... Probably he believed that if such a gun could be built, it might be capable of sending a projectile to the Moon, but it seems unlikely that he seriously imagined that any of the occupants would have survived the shock of takeoff." (Arthur C. Clarke in Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!, 1999)

Verne's major works were written by 1880. In later novels the author's pessimism about the future of human civilization reflected the doom-ladden fin-de-siècle atmosphere. In his tale 'The Eternal Adam' a far-future historian discovers the 20th-century civilization was overthrown by geological catalysms, and the legend of Adam and Eve becomes both true and cyclical. In Robur the Conqueror (1886) Verne predicted the birth of heavier-than-air craft, but in the sequel, Master of the World (1904), the great inventor Robur suffers from megalomania, and plays cat-and-mouse game with authorities.

Verne spent an uneventful, bourgeois life from the 1860s. He traveled with his brother Paul in 1867 to the United States, visiting the Niagara falls. When he made a boat trip around the Mediterranean, he was celebrated in Gibraltar, North Africa, and in Rome Pope Leo XIII blessed his books. In 1871 he settled in Amiens and was elected councilor in 1888. Verne survived there in 1886 a murder attempt. His paranoid nephew, Gaston, shot him in the leg and the authors was disabled for the rest of his life. Gaston never recovered his sanity.

Verne had married at age 28 Honorine de Viane, a young widow, acquiring two step-children. He lived with his family in a large provincial house and yachted occasionally. To the horror of his family, he started to admire Prince Pyotr Kropotkin (1842-1921), who devoted himself to a life as a revolutionary, and whose character possibly influenced the noble anarchist of NAUFRAGÉS DE JONATHAN (1909). Kropotkin wrote of an anarchy based on mutual support and trust. Verne's interest in socialistic theories was already seen in MATHIAS SANDORF (1885).

For over 40 years Verne published at least one book per year on a wide range subjects. Although Verne wrote about exotic places, he traveled relatively little - his only balloon flight lasted twenty-four minutes. In a letter to Hetzel he confessed: "I must be slightly off my head. I get caught up in all the extraordinary adventures of my heroes. I regret only one thing, not being able to accompany them pedibus cum jambis." Verne's oeuvre include 65 novels, some twenty short stories and essays, thirty plays, some geographical works, and also opera librettos. Verne died in Amiens on March 24, 1905. Verne's works have inspired a number of film makers from Georges Méliès (A Trip to the Moon, 1902), Karel Zeman (Vynález zkázy / The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, 1958), and Walt Disney (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1954) to such Hollywood directors as Henry Levin (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1959) and Irwin Allen (Five Weeks in a Balloon, 1962). Also the Italian painter Giorgio de Chiroco was interested in Verne and wrote on him in the essay 'On Metaphysical Art': "But who was more gifted than he in capturing the metaphysical element of a city like London, with its houses, streets, clubs, squares and open spaces; the ghostliness of a Sunday afternoon in London, the melancholy of a man, a real walking phantom, as Phineas Fogg appears in Around the World in Eighty Days? The work of Jules Verne is full of these joyous and most consoling moments; I still remember the description of the departure of a steamship from Liverpool in his novel The Floating City."


to all Astrological Interpretations by Michael D. Robbins
to other commentary and projects by Michael D. Robbins
to the University of the Seven Rays

to Makara.us home

Web www.makara.us
www.esotericastrologer.org www.netnews.org