February 8, 2018, marks 190 years since the birth of Breton science fiction pioneer Jules Verne. Widely regarded as a visionary writer, Verne contributed over 50 romans scientifiques that were unlike anything written before – or since – and which have inspired generations of inventors, scientists and explorers. To commemorate the author’s 190th birthday, let’s take a journey to the past and explore his life and work.
The Jules Verne Timeline lays out some of the events and milestones in the life of the French writer, including a few of his most renowned novels. While Verne is acclaimed in most of Europe as one of the 19th century’s major authors, he does not enjoy (or hasn’t until recently) the same reputation in English-speaking countries, where he was often seen as a mere writer of children’s books. This happened largely because the early English translations of Verne’s work were flawed, to say the least, often bearing little resemblance to the original writing.
The translators repeatedly watered down the author’s texts, cut out descriptive passages (even 40% of the original), committed ludicrous mistakes, or rewrote sections that conflicted with their political, social or religious views. These poorly-written English versions of Verne’s work were widely reprinted (and can be still found in print today), making the novels seem like nothing more but trivial adventure stories with no literary value. It was only in the 1960’s that American scholar Walter Miller compared the standard English translations to their original counterparts and recognized the damage that was done.
The Jules Verne chronology was built with Office Timeline, an easy-to-use PowerPoint add-in that builds beautiful timelines and Gantt charts for academic or business presentations. To edit the image fast or create similar ones effortlessly, we recommend using the Plus version of the add-in.
Download the Jules Vernes Timeline for PowerPoint here.