The World According to Vern, Book One

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In addition, he says events in the Middle East are a turn of the water wheel, repeating ancient history. Turkey has built several dams that affect the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their life-giving flow into both Iraq and Syria. In , Turkey cut off the flow of the Euphrates completely for three weeks, causing near panic in the Syrian capital of Damascus and blackouts around the country. This is nothing new, Scarborough adds. During the early second millennium B.

In the adjoining booth could be heard vociferous concerns about the apportionment of a nearby canalized water source. The conversation was in Spanish, but it could have been in Arabic or Chinese. The French Revolution of broke out soon after Verne moved to the city to study law. Verne managed to stay out of the political upheaval during those years, but his writing later explored themes of governmental strife. In his novella The Count of Chanteleine: A Tale of the French Revolution , Verne wrote about the struggles of ordinary and noble French people during the French Revolutionary Wars, while his novel The Flight to France recounted the wartime adventures of an army captain in In May , Verne was the best man at his best friend's wedding in Amiens, a city in northern France.

During the wedding festivities, Verne lodged with the bride's family and met Honorine de Viane Morel, the bride's sister. He developed a crush on Morel, a year-old widow with two kids, and in January , with the permission of her family, the two married. There was one big problem. Verne had been writing plays for Paris theaters, but being a playwright didn't pay the bills. Verne needed a respectable income to support Morel and her daughters. Morel's brother offered Verne a job at a brokerage, and he accepted, quitting his theater job to become a stockbroker at the Paris Bourse. Writing was never too far from Verne's mind, though.

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He woke up early each day to write and research for several hours before heading to his day job. Modern readers probably think of Verne's most famous books as distinct entities, but his adventure novels were actually part of a series. In the early s, Verne met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, an established publisher and magazine editor who helped Verne publish his first novel , Five Weeks in a Balloon. This novel served as the beginning of Voyages Extraordinaires, a series of dozens of books written by Verne and published by Hetzel.

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Most of these novels—including famous titles like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea —appeared in installments in Hetzel's magazine before being published in book form. Starting in , Verne agreed to write two volumes per year for Hetzel, a contract that provided him with a steady source of income for decades.

Between and , Verne published 54 novels about travel, adventure, history, science, and technology for the Voyages Extraordinaires series. He worked closely with Hetzel on characters, structure, and plot until the publisher's death in Verne's writing wasn't limited to this series, however; in total, he wrote 65 novels over the course of his life, though some would not be published until long after his death.

During the s, Verne's career was taking off, and he was making good money. So in , he bought a small yacht, which he named the Saint Michel , after his son, Michel. Besides enjoying the peace and quiet at sea, he also worked during these sailing trips, writing most of the manuscripts for Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea on his yacht. A few years later , he bought a third vessel, the Saint Michel III , a steam yacht that he hired a crew of 10 to man on long voyages to Scotland and through the Mediterranean.

Verne wrote in French, but his works have always had an international appeal. Since the s, his writing has been translated into approximately languages—making him the second most translated author ever.

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He has appeared in translation even more often than William Shakespeare. He is second only to Agatha Christie , who holds the world record. Although Verne wrote primarily for adults, many English-language publishers considered his science fiction writing to be juvenile and marketed his books to children. Translators dumbed down his work, simplifying stories, cutting heavily researched passages, summarizing dialogue, and in some cases, nixing anything that might be construed as a critique of the British Empire.

Vernon Dursley

Many translations even contain outright errors, such as measurements converted incorrectly. Some literary historians now bemoan the shoddy translations of many of Verne's works, arguing that almost all of these early English translations feature significant changes to both plot and tone. Even today, these poor translations make up much of Verne's available work in English.

But anglophone readers hoping to read more authentic versions of his stories are in luck. Thanks to scholarly interest, there has been a recent surge in new Verne translations that aim to be more faithful to the original texts. Starting in his twenties, Verne began experiencing sudden bouts of extreme stomach pain. He wrote about his agonizing stomach cramps in letters to family members, but he failed to get a proper diagnosis from doctors. To try to ease his pain, he experimented with different diets, including one in which he ate only eggs and dairy. Historians believe that Verne may have had colitis or a related digestion disorder.

Even more unsettling than the stomach pain, Verne suffered from five episodes of facial paralysis over the course of his life.

During these painful episodes, one side of his face suddenly became immobile. After the first attack, doctors treated his facial nerve with electric stimulation, but he had another attack five years later, and several more after that. Recently , researchers have concluded that he had Bell's palsy , a temporary form of one-sided facial paralysis caused by damage to the facial nerve.

Doctors have hypothesized that it was the result of ear infections or inflammation, but no one knows for sure why he experienced this. Verne developed type-2 diabetes in his fifties, and his health declined significantly in the last decade of his life. He suffered from high blood pressure, chronic dizziness, tinnitus, and other maladies, and eventually went partially blind.

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In March , a traumatic incident left the year-old Verne disabled for the rest of his life. Verne's nephew Gaston, who was then in his twenties and suffering from mental illness, suddenly became violent, to Verne's detriment.

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The writer was arriving home one day when, out of the blue, Gaston shot him twice with a pistol. Thankfully, Verne survived, but the second bullet that Gaston fired struck the author's left leg. After the incident, Gaston was sent to a mental asylum. He wasn't diagnosed with a specific disorder, but most historians believe he suffered from paranoia or schizophrenia. Verne never fully recovered from the attack. The bullet damaged his left leg badly, and his diabetes complicated the healing process. A secondary infection left him with a noticeable limp that persisted until his death in Verne's body of work heavily influenced steampunk , the science fiction subgenre that takes inspiration from 19th century industrial technology.

The World According to Vern, Book One

Some of Verne's characters, as well as the fictional machines he wrote about, have appeared in prominent steampunk works. Some of the technology Verne imagined in his fiction later became reality. One of the machines that Verne dreamed up, Nautilus —the electric submarine in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea —came to life years after he first wrote about it. The first installment of the serialized Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was published in , and the first battery-powered submarines were launched in the s. Similar submarine designs are still in use today.

Written in , the dystopian novel imagines a tech-obsessed Parisian society in Verne wrote about skyscrapers, elevators, cars with internal combustion engines, trains, electric city lights, and suburbs. He was massively ahead of his time. He even wrote about a group of mechanical calculators as in, computers that could communicate with one another over a network like the Internet. Pretty impressive for a guy born in But Verne's influence goes beyond science fiction, steampunk, or real-world technology.

His writing has inspired countless authors in genres ranging from poetry to travel to adventure.


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  • Udruzenje gradjana Zil Vern Centar za multikulturalnu saradnju | European Youth Portal.