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Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography

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From the established expert on the subject comes this new biography of one of the world's most successful writers. Breath-taking in scope, and full of the kind of revelations sure to cause press and controversy, Butcher combines existing and new research on Verne's life with the evidence from Verne's works to explore what sort of man Jules Verne was, how he achieved what h From the established expert on the subject comes this new biography of one of the world's most successful writers. Breath-taking in scope, and full of the kind of revelations sure to cause press and controversy, Butcher combines existing and new research on Verne's life with the evidence from Verne's works to explore what sort of man Jules Verne was, how he achieved what he did, what went on inside his head, what really made him tick. Butcher examines the forgotten nitty-gritty of Verne's life: his appearance, his schoolmates, the size of his bedroom, who he talked to and slept with, who he fell out with and was sued by, the fibs he told, how he got to work, how much he made, what he did on his days off, where he went, what he studied, what he read, whether he was a good husband and father — in sum, all the behavior that points to personality, as only a family member can know it.


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From the established expert on the subject comes this new biography of one of the world's most successful writers. Breath-taking in scope, and full of the kind of revelations sure to cause press and controversy, Butcher combines existing and new research on Verne's life with the evidence from Verne's works to explore what sort of man Jules Verne was, how he achieved what h From the established expert on the subject comes this new biography of one of the world's most successful writers. Breath-taking in scope, and full of the kind of revelations sure to cause press and controversy, Butcher combines existing and new research on Verne's life with the evidence from Verne's works to explore what sort of man Jules Verne was, how he achieved what he did, what went on inside his head, what really made him tick. Butcher examines the forgotten nitty-gritty of Verne's life: his appearance, his schoolmates, the size of his bedroom, who he talked to and slept with, who he fell out with and was sued by, the fibs he told, how he got to work, how much he made, what he did on his days off, where he went, what he studied, what he read, whether he was a good husband and father — in sum, all the behavior that points to personality, as only a family member can know it.

30 review for Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

    Definitive maybe, but poorly written. The subject, Jules Verne, is one of great fascination to me, however this biography could have benefited from some precision editing. The author may be a wizard at providing some authoritative translations of Verne classics - but you will need to look elsewhere for an interesting biography.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    *yawn* This book took me months to read. It was not the most interesting biography, even though it attempted to be very informative. Butcher did not always seem fair to me in his portrayal of Verne. He would make allowances for his contradictory statements and then assume later that such statements had to be taken for face value. While I agree that Verne is too complex to categorize and dismiss as only science fiction or only adventure writer, I believe reading him as a member of all these group *yawn* This book took me months to read. It was not the most interesting biography, even though it attempted to be very informative. Butcher did not always seem fair to me in his portrayal of Verne. He would make allowances for his contradictory statements and then assume later that such statements had to be taken for face value. While I agree that Verne is too complex to categorize and dismiss as only science fiction or only adventure writer, I believe reading him as a member of all these groups is more useful than removing him entirely from fields that have been influenced by his work. He did belong to scientific communities, and his Paris in the Twentieth Century gives some remarkable commentary on the dangers of technological progress. Not a fan of this one, which is rare for me.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gene

    Extremely well researched & surprisingly complete, full of information I had no idea about, this biography will open your eyes and make you rethink Verne. It would have been better if the author had not used so many untranslated French terms, but still, a real in depth life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rafael Ontivero

    Esto es lo que yo llamo una biografía sin pelos en la lengua, que presenta al Verne que realmente debió ser, y no el que nos presentan los biógrafos más políticamente correctos. Tiene toda la pinta de que Verne, en su juventud, fue bastante tarambana y vivales, despilfarrando el dinero como buen hijo de burgués sin mucha preocupación sobre su futuro. Habitual de burdeles, habitual de fiestas y saraos varios, lo que habitualmente se ha entendido como una pensión que apenas le daba para vivir, envi Esto es lo que yo llamo una biografía sin pelos en la lengua, que presenta al Verne que realmente debió ser, y no el que nos presentan los biógrafos más políticamente correctos. Tiene toda la pinta de que Verne, en su juventud, fue bastante tarambana y vivales, despilfarrando el dinero como buen hijo de burgués sin mucha preocupación sobre su futuro. Habitual de burdeles, habitual de fiestas y saraos varios, lo que habitualmente se ha entendido como una pensión que apenas le daba para vivir, enviada por su padre, más bien consistía en sus buenos dineros capaces de mantener a otro menos derrochador. Hipocondríaco, de esquiva sexualidad a lo largo de toda su vida (lo que no es ningún problema ni ninguna pega, por supuesto), aunque el atentado de su sobrino algo tendría que ver, pues apuntaba a los "bajos" de Verne... Parece ser que tampoco fue el padre de familia más o menos ejemplar que se nos ha mostrado, sino más bien todo lo contrario. Putero, completamente desprendido de su mujer y de sus hijas, atento a la dote y a los réditos del dinero de su mujer, que posiblemente abortara dos veces poniendo en serio peligro su vida (y dos veces fue desahuciada por los médicos, salvándose de milagro -la explicación más probable de los dos derrames uterinos de Honorine). También comenta algunas cosas sobre las primeras novelas de Verne, cómo Hetzel las cambió, aunque eso está mucho mejor documentado en "Los manuscritos descifrados" del mismo autor, publicado solo de momento en francés. De todos modos, otro punto negativo de la biografía es que acelera, y no poco, más o menos a partir de 1870 para finalizar de dos plumazos. ¿Por qué cuatro y no cinco estrellas? Porque el autor es un poco pedante de más.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    Thankfully, narrator and Golden Voice Simon Vance brings this lengthy biblio-biography, scholarly biography of the life, times, and work of Jules Verne. Most definitely, a scholarly study of Verne along with discussion of his writing style, unusual habits, and discoveries in manuscripts and letters. You'll learn about Verne's prodigious writings, his writing style and the many series and adventure stories. Verne is most definitely a writer of the nineteenth century, those who grind out numerous w Thankfully, narrator and Golden Voice Simon Vance brings this lengthy biblio-biography, scholarly biography of the life, times, and work of Jules Verne. Most definitely, a scholarly study of Verne along with discussion of his writing style, unusual habits, and discoveries in manuscripts and letters. You'll learn about Verne's prodigious writings, his writing style and the many series and adventure stories. Verne is most definitely a writer of the nineteenth century, those who grind out numerous works, much like his contemporaries, French Dumas, Zola, and Balzac, British Dickens and the slightly older Sir Walter Scott, American James Fenimore Cooper, and even younger Kipling. Throughout the audio performance, I wanted to grab books on French history both literary and cultural, lists of nineteenth century books, and even a timeline of Verne's life & output. For a review of the audio performance, see AudioFile Magazine http://www.audiofilemagazine.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    There's much to like about this biography -- which certainly has piqued my interest in Verne -- but it's marred by a few things: 1) The author's insistence on insulting other biographers every chance he gets 2) The author's assumption that readers are well-informed about 19th Century French history 3) Odd stylistic choices such as frequently elliptical writing and odd jumping about in time There's much to like about this biography -- which certainly has piqued my interest in Verne -- but it's marred by a few things: 1) The author's insistence on insulting other biographers every chance he gets 2) The author's assumption that readers are well-informed about 19th Century French history 3) Odd stylistic choices such as frequently elliptical writing and odd jumping about in time

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jim Armor

    [Audible] A engaging and detailed biography of Jules Verne, William Butcher clearly has a passion for his subject, and uncovers fascinating new details, letters and manuscripts from Verne’s life. He does a wonderful job of describing Vernes’ family and work life in virtual first person at various stages of his life. Butcher also has a deeply and probably well-founded contempt for Verne’s lifelong editor, Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who systematically compromised Verne’s text and blatantly ripped off Ve [Audible] A engaging and detailed biography of Jules Verne, William Butcher clearly has a passion for his subject, and uncovers fascinating new details, letters and manuscripts from Verne’s life. He does a wonderful job of describing Vernes’ family and work life in virtual first person at various stages of his life. Butcher also has a deeply and probably well-founded contempt for Verne’s lifelong editor, Pierre-Jules Hetzel, who systematically compromised Verne’s text and blatantly ripped off Verne’s earnings and royalties. (He estimates 7 of every 8 francs went to Hetzel!) He does admit that Verne deserves much blame for not taking control of his own accounting and his own text. In one example, Butcher describes Vernes 100,000-word manuscript was edited down to 80,000 words, 20,000 of which Hetzel wrote and inserted himself; and the whole thing was reduced to 20,000 words when translated to English. Butcher decried the final product as a travesty that contained nothing of Verne’s original language, themes or intent. This interplay between writer and editor undoubtedly sounds familiar to many; Butcher concludes that this was an historic worst-case scenario. The upshot, Butcher asserts, is that the world now views Verne as a science fiction writer of adventure stories for young boys, when he is clearly and profoundly not. The biography ends with a plea for Verne’s “true” manuscripts to be published, or at least become publicly available (many aren’t and are held privately or are difficult to get access to because they are fragile) so that the real literary mastery of Verne can become known. The narrator, Simon Vance, was superb and added to the listening enjoyment. However, I regret not having a hardcopy of the book because it was difficult to recall while listening the hundreds of novels, stories, plays, poems and their various versions as the reading progressed; also, the occasional use of French and following of geographical references required stopping to look up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Crowe

    My review. My review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nima

  11. 4 out of 5

    Duane

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kazeem Olalekan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Merry Khamkhadze

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eddy

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Trussoni

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Allen Foster

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caleb

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bent

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Jared

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gaylin Johns

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve Gross

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Salameh

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kamil303

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