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Paris In The Twentieth Century - Jules Verne

Paris In The Twentieth Century

Paperback Published: 1st November 1997
ISBN: 9780345420398
Number Of Pages: 222

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In 1863 Jules Verne, famed author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth, wrote a novel that his literary agent deemed too far fetched to be published. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson found the handwritten, never-before published manuscript in a safe. That manuscript was Paris in the Twentieth Century, and astonishingly prophetic view into the future by one of the most renowned science fiction writers of our time. . . .

Praise for Paris in the Twentieth Century

“Jules Verne was the Michael Crichton of the 19th century.”The New York Times

“For anyone interested in the history of speculative fiction . . . this book is an absolute necessity.”—Ray Bradbury

“Verne's Paris is a bustling, overcrowded metropolis teeming with starving homeless and ‘vehicles that passed on paved roads and moved without horses.’ Years before they would be invented, Verne has imagined elevators and faxmachines. It was a vision Verne's editor flatly rejected. Contemporary readers know better.”People

“An excellent extrapolation, founded on 19th-century technical novelties, of a future culture.”The Washington Post Book World

“Verne published nearly seventy books, many of them now considered classics. But this little jewel catches him just reaching stride as a writer of science fiction, a genre that he, of course, helped put on the literary map.”The Denver Post

Verne's recently discovered first novel, written over 125 years ago and now smoothly translated from its French edition by the poet Richard Howard. Verne's editor rejected the manuscript in 1863 for its "unrealistic" view of the future, though, as it turns out, Verne's grim predictions are chillingly exact. A better reason to reject his novel would have been that Verne had not yet learned to portray believable characters. Not that he'd ever be very good at it, but his young hero here, Michel Dufrenoy, is little more than a prop to be shuttled about various neighborhoods of Paris in 1960, as imagined from the perspective of 1860. Michel has two male friends and a girlfriend, none of them memorable. Michel's artistic, more-or-less blacklisted uncle is, however, quite so, but only because Verne uses him as a mouthpiece to explain what happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries to bring about a dystopian Paris. In any case, Verne's predictions, as always, surpass any other writer's in their precision: ". . . the study of belles lettres and of ancient languages (including French) was at this time virtually obsolete . . . some classes in literature were still taught, though these were sparsely attended." FAX machines, computers, automobiles, and high-speed trains are all clearly described, as are a number of devices that boggle the mind in their complexity but have yet to be invented. Remarkably, Verne's 20th-century Paris rarely seems dated. This may be because Verne was uncannily correct in his major predictions, that the future would be dominated by corporations and that technology would be the dominant god. Nothing impractical or unprofitable can exist in this world, and, in the end, people are no more than fragile machines expected to serve without question the corporate deities. Hardly H.G. Wells, or even Verne at his best, but, still, quite a welcome - and startling - curiosity. (Kirkus Reviews)

Translater's Note
The Academic Credit Unionp. 3
A Panorama of the Streets of Parisp. 16
An Eminently Practical Familyp. 27
Concerning Some Nineteenth-Century Authors, and the Difficulty of Obtaining Themp. 38
Which Treats of Calculating Machines and Self-protecting Safesp. 50
In Which Quinsonnas Appears on the Ledger's Summitp. 62
Three Dronesp. 72
Which Concerns Music, Ancient and Modern, and the Practical Utilization of Certain Instrumentsp. 86
A Visit to Uncle Hugueninp. 99
Grand Review of French Authors Conducted by Uncle Huguenin, Sunday, April 15, 1961p. 108
A Stroll to the Port de Grenellep. 124
Quinsonnas's Opinions on Womenp. 139
Concerning the Ease with Which an Artist Can Starve to Death in the Twentieth Centuryp. 153
Le Grand Entrepot Dramatiquep. 173
Povertyp. 187
The Demon of Electricityp. 199
Et in Pulverem Reverterisp. 211
Notesp. 217
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780345420398
ISBN-10: 034542039X
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 222
Published: 1st November 1997
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.8 x 14.6  x 1.1
Weight (kg): 0.3
Edition Number: 1
Edition Type: New edition