Jules Verne Illustrations
April 10, 2008 8:39 AM   Subscribe

The Smithsonian's Jules Verne Centennial site has a collection of a large number of high quality scans of original, engraved illustrations from Verne's works. From the fantastic (interior of space vehicle, flying ship, spacewalking) and mundane (two dogs, a nice meal, elephant trying to break free from a hot-air balloon). And don't forget to check out the portrait of Jules Verne and his many technological prophecies. For information about the publishing history of Jules Verne read this scholarly article by Terry Harpold about illustrations of Jules Verne stories, focusing on Le Superbe Orénoque. It also includes a wealth of illustrations. Finally, as a bonus, here's a picture of the National Air and Space Museum's scale model of the spacecraft Verne came up with for his De la Terre à la Lune.
posted by Kattullus (14 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Jules Verne? ! (I'm sorry, this is a great post, but I just saw this the other day and it killed me - and shows how wrongly he has been taken recently) Merlin Mann as Steam-punk-ist: the money is at the begining, talking about his glasses.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:49 AM on April 10, 2008

Great post. The Terry Harpold article is high on the "when I get time at work to read this" list. I've always been intrigued by the idea of analyzing illustrations of an author's work over time. I tried to do that as an undergrad with Robinson Crusoe. Sadly, it was beyond my skills at the time.

My first introduction(s) to Jules Verne were via N.C. Wyeth, and of course Classics Illustrated Comics. Not to mention the Disney 20,000 Leagues and the Harryhausen Mysterious Island.
posted by marxchivist at 8:57 AM on April 10, 2008

That spcae ship interior looks a lot like the rocket from Wallace and Gromit's "Grand Day Out".
posted by LN at 9:06 AM on April 10, 2008

I too read Jules Verne first in the Classics Illustrated Comics versions. In Icelandic translation, no less. I've always had a soft spot for Jules Verne, which is why learning about the dire state of his English translations made me really angry. Here's an excerpt:
But when I checked the 1877 translation against the original my heart sank. It was garbage. On almost every page the English translator, whoever he, or she, was (their name is not recorded), collapsed Verne's actual dialogue into a condensed summary, missed out sentences or whole paragraphs. She or he messed up the technical aspects of the book. She or he was evidently much more anti-Semitic than Verne, and tended to translate what were in the original fairly neutral phrases such as "...said Isaac Hakkabut" with idioms such as "...said the repulsive old Jew." And at one point in the novel she or he simply omitted an entire chapter (number 30) - quite a long one, too - presumably because she or he wasn't interested in, or couldn't be bothered to, turn it into English."
That such a major author is left in this state in English translation is quite something. Though, of course, he's not alone among writers in this.
posted by Kattullus at 9:06 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cool, I'm currently reading The Completely Restored and Annotated version of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It's a much better translation than the version I read years ago.
posted by fings at 9:30 AM on April 10, 2008

I was going through the footnotes to Harpold's essay and noticed something interesting. There's speculations that Roux, the illustrator, was a woman passing as a man.
posted by Kattullus at 9:39 AM on April 10, 2008

These are some great images - thanks. Maybe in Providence elephant's trying to break free from hot air balloons are mundane, but here in the Midwest it's still a big deal.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:11 AM on April 10, 2008

Be sure to check out these previous threads: 1, 2. They highlight the 'The Small Giantess and the Elephant' street procession which was performed by Royal de Luxe in May 2005. It was the main event to kick off the Verne Centennial in his birth city, Nantes.

The folllowing year, while not in honor of Verne, the 'Sultan's Elephant' graced the streets of London (previous thread).
posted by ericb at 10:11 AM on April 10, 2008

What in the world is "mundane" about an elephant trying to escape from a hot-air balloon?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:01 AM on April 10, 2008

Though the English translations may leave much to be desired, here they are:
posted by ...possums at 11:14 AM on April 10, 2008

Here they are in La French. via the inestimable 'Project Gutenberg'
posted by From Bklyn at 12:41 PM on April 10, 2008

Cool! I stumbled upon this Hermes Jules Verne scarf last week while looking for something else.
posted by vronsky at 3:23 PM on April 10, 2008

French publisher: good title pages ( a , b )
American publishers: crappy title pages ( a , b )

I wish the scans were high-enough resolution for desktop pics.
posted by D.C. at 12:59 AM on April 11, 2008

Reminds me of one of my favorite out-of-context quotes:

"Every time someone dies, it is Jules Verne's fault." - Salvador Dali (from Dali by Dali)
posted by ikahime at 10:01 PM on April 11, 2008

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