He’s been touted as the “Father of Science Fiction” and is the second most translated author of all time, right behind Agatha Christie. Jules Verne, a French author who wrote more than 60 books, in addition to plays, short stories, and librettos, released one of his most famous works of art today in history, 150 years ago.
Around the World in 80 Days was published in English on January 30, 1873, and quickly became one of the most beloved novels from his Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires series. Its success was astounding, and it broke sales records with translations appearing in English, Russian, Italian, and Spanish soon after its release.
But who exactly was Jules Verne, and why does his legacy continue to live on all these years later? In this post, we will give you a quick rundown on Jules Verne and his many wondrous works, why it has been significant to history, literature, and science, and how you can incorporate him into your homeschool curriculum.
Who Was Jules Verne?
Jules Verne was born in Nantes, France, on February 8, 1828. Verne’s father was an attorney who sent his son to Paris to study law and follow in his footsteps. However, while in Paris, Verne became interested in the arts, especially literature and theater. Even though he worked as a secretary, he managed to write several plays, short stories, and scientific essays for a magazine called the Musée des familles.
After marrying in 1857, Verne became a broker at the Paris Stock Market but didn’t give up his love of writing. He aspired to write a novel unlike any that had been published before, one that combined scientific evidence and adventurous fiction.
It wasn’t until he met publisher Pierre-Jule Hetzel in 1862 that he was given the opportunity to print the first of his series, Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires, which can be translated as “Extraordinary Journeys.” This serialized novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, quickly became an international bestseller and earned him a contract with Hetzel to write more stories for this new and exciting genre that people called “science fiction.”
What Is Jules Verne Famous For?
Over the next 40 years, Verne produced more than 60 books for his Voyages Extraordinaires series. His imaginative works brought about many memorable characters and explored a handful of technological advancements well before they became a reality — some of them including electric submarines, helicopters, jukeboxes, holograms, space travel, and more.
Popular Jules Verne books within the series included Five Weeks in a Balloon, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, From the Earth to the Moon, Robur the Conqueror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and of course, Around the World in Eighty Days.
The Publishing of Around the World in Eighty Days
On December 22, 1872, Verne’s acclaimed novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, appeared in serialized print (in French). The story follows characters Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout, who attempt to circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. The two companions travel across treacherous lands and run into many mishaps along their journey, never failing to keep readers occupied with their encounters.
The story was released in English on January 30, 1873, and later in many other languages. Since its original debut, Around the World in Eighty Days has been adapted for theater, radio, motion pictures, and games.
Many wonder, “did Jules Verne travel around the world to write his famous novel, Around the World in Eighty Days?” The answer is no! Although most of the story was made up from his imagination, he did spend a lot of time sailing around Europe and America and dedicated much of his time to researching places around the world.
Jules Verne’s Influence Then and Now
Verne’s work was unlike anything people of his time had read before and undoubtedly inspired many scientists, inventors, and explorers to experiment with technology in hopes of making his books a reality. In fact, the world’s first U.S. nuclear-powered submarine was named after Verne’s creation, the Nautilus, which foreshadowed the modern submarines we know today!
With all this knowledge about Jules Verne, are you ready to introduce him to your children and even read some of his books with them? The beauty of Verne and his imagination is that he can be included in several subjects, from science to technology, history, and even literature!
Of course, if you’re looking for a fun, hands-on way to teach your kids about Verne and his work, we’ve got options. Jules Verne can be found as a timeline figure in our History Through the Ages: Napoleon to Now Timeline Figures, as well as our entire timeline figure collection, History Through the Ages: A Collection of Historical Timeline Figures. We also have a Literary Genres Lap Book Mini-Study, where you can learn about genres such as science fiction and others.
After learning about Jules Verne, we’re sure your kids will be inspired in all kinds of creative ways! With it being the 150th anniversary of the publication of Around the World in Eighty Days, why not use this as a jumping-off point to introduce them to his many wondrous works? After all, who knows what marvelous technology could be developed next, inspired by one of his stories!