Vingt mille lieues
sous les mers by

Klein blue edition
$220 $
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
French edition
Second print run
Large format (10 x 14'')

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the manuscript by Jules Verne

This special edition of Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) reproduces Jules Verne’s manuscript with illustrations from the original edition published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel. These illustrations were created by Alphonse de Neuville and Édouard Riou and engraved by Henri Théophile Hildibrand, a wood engraver well-known for his work with French artist Gustave Doré.

The book will delight Jules Verne’s most loyal readers, as well as lovers of rare literary objects.

Discover also the manuscripts of Tour du Monde en 80 jours (Around the World in Eighty Days), and Autour de la Lune (Around the Moon), or even the map of The Mysterious Island (in our collection of framed documents).

le manuscrit de Vingt mille lieues sous les mers de Jules Verne

Jules Verne and the spirit of adventure

Jules Verne was one of the most intrepid travellers of all time, without leaving his armchair and writing desk. He travelled a greater distance in kilometers than any author, without leaving Nantes, where he was born in 1828, Amiens, where he lived for a long while before his death in 1905, or the deck of one of his yachts, on which he liked to write and contemplate the sea.

The novelist, who grew up in Brittany, by the coast, yearned from an early age to explore the open sea and vast horizons. At barely eleven years old he tried to run away to India, with the intention of looking for pearls to bring back as a necklace for his cousin, with whom he was in love. At eighteen, he began studying law alongside starting to write seriously. It was some years later, while he was frequenting the literary circles and theatres of Paris, that he finished the final page of a novel that would go down in history Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon).

In 1863, the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel saw in Verne the makings of a great talent. Though he had previously refused the manuscript Voyage en Angleterre et en Ecosse (Backwards to Britain), the adventures of Dr. Samuel Fergusson in Africa had all the ingredients of a best-seller. Five Weeks in a Balloon was the beginning of a fruitful collaboration between Jules Verne and Pierre-Jules Hetzel that would bind them together throughout the novelist’s career.

Le livre et le coffret de Vingt mille lieues sous les mers

From writing to publication

It was this novel, as well as Voyage au centre de la Terre, (Journey to the Center of the Earth) that prompted the novelist George Sand to take up her pen and write to Jules Verne in July 1865. By letter, she congratulated him on the wonder of his tales, and begged him to write another one set under the sea, aboard a powerful and sophisticated machine… His imagination galvanised, it was all Verne needed to set himself to the task.

The novel was originally serialised, appearing from 1869 in Magasin d’éducation et de récréation (Magazine of Education and Recreation), a title launched by Hetzel a few years beforehand in 1865. Its aim was to introduce a new style of children’s literature with an educational dimension, or more precisely, a type of fiction that combined family entertainment with the goal to ‘summarize all knowledge’. To achieve this, he knew he could count on Jules Verne, a compelling storyteller who based his tales on reliable source material to immerse his readers in scientifically accurate settings.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea - which was partly inspired by Victor Hugo’s Les Travailleurs de la mer (Toilers of the Sea) and La Mer (The Sea) by Jules Michelet - narrates the wild adventures of Pierre Aronnax and Captain Nemo aboard the submarine Nautilus. It was an immediate success on publication, with The Times later naming Jules Verne the ‘Prince of storytellers’.

Carefully-tended manuscripts

An immensely prolific and hardworking author, Jules Verne wrote over sixty novels in just over fifty years of life and writing. He is reputedly the fourth most-read author in the world, and the most-read French author in translation. Much like Victor Hugo, whom he admired, Jules Verne took great care of his manuscripts, whether they were drafts or edited versions.

Consequently, there are rich archives that we are able to explore today, kept at the Jules Verne Museum in Nantes and the National Library of France in Paris. Within them is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, of which this manuscript is the second complete handwritten version, the only one known to date.

livre et coffret 20.000 lieues sous les mers

The meticulous composition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Once Jules Verne had decided his subject and how his story would unfold, he started to work slowly on the composition of the text. He created a framework containing the outline of the chapters with detailed files on each character.

He wrote in small, neat calligraphy that forms around 90 lines per page - covering only half the surface area of recto and verso to leave room for corrections. He paid little attention to punctuation and capital letters, which he reviewed in more detail later on. He first wrote in pencil, then in ink which varies in density according to his progress.

He made endless corrections, continually revising his manuscripts and rewriting on the proofs until the very last stage, and even beyond – hence, there are variations between the serial and paperback versions.

The difficulty of choosing a title

The manuscript of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea bears traces of Jules Verne’s hesitation as to the novel’s title - it was successively named "Voyage sous les eaux" (Journey Under the Sea), "1000 lieues sous les Océans" (One Thousand Leagues Beneath the Ocean) and "Vingt mille lieues sous les océans" (Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath the Ocean).

However, it also testifies the extent to which the author betrayed his vision for Captain Nemo’s character - he was influenced by Pierre-Jules Hetzel who compelled him to change the biography of his mysterious protagonist, giving him the destiny finally revealed on L'Île mystérieuse (Mystery Island). Jules Verne erased entire passages describing the hero, as well as the maritime fauna and flora he encountered. The second part of the manuscript is written in a condensed, confident hand, which nonetheless seems in a hurry to be finished with the novel…

In 1906, Jules Verne’s son, Michel Verne, offered this very manuscript to Roland Bonaparte, then president of the Société de Géographie, who accepted the document into their library in 1924. Since 2012, the manuscript has been kept at the BnF (National Library of France), in the Maps and Charts department.

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Customer reviews

Frédéric B

Un livre fantastique à tous les égards. Une histoire palpitante et intemporelle. A ceux qui se poseraient encore la question de l'utilité d'un livre manuscrit, je répondrai que cela rend encore plus vivant le récit que l'on lit, comme si nous étions tombés sur le journal intime du héros. L'objet en lui même est d'excellente qualité, du coffret jusqu'au papier.

philippe blondet

Un merveilleux ouvrage que j ai beaucoup de plaisir a consulter et a montrer a mes amis

Eric V.

Je viens de recevoir votre livre. Déjà surpris par la grandeur du colis, j'applaudis la facture du livre. Belle qualité d'ouvrage. Il me reste à me "plonger" dedans. Félicitations pour tout.

Madam, Monsieur,
Veuillez nous informer dès que l'ouvrage est à nouveau disponible. Un de nos client souhaite l'avoir impatiemment.
Merci d'avance,
Nicole Strock
Librairie Um Fieldgen
[email protected]

Reçu aujourd'hui le mien... trouvé sur E-Bay.
C'est magnifique.
Pourquoi Verne a-t-il tant changé d'écriture entre le premier et le second volume ? C'est assez sidérant comme évolution.


Cette édition est un véritable monument.
A recommander vivement à tous les lecteurs de Jules Verne (et les autres pour le découvrir).

C'est le moins que je puisse écrire pour qualifier cette reproduction du plus célèbre manuscrit de Jules et dans un écrin superbe illustré comme une édition de ses romans

Quel magnifique manuscrit !!! C'est toujours impressionnant de voir comment un écrivain (et d'autant plus à la période où cela a été écrit) a pu rédiger une telle œuvre. Il y a peu de ratures, et des compléments de paragraphe à certains chapitres. Tout simplement impressionnant. Son écriture, qui n'est pas toujours facile à lire (son h qui se prolonge comme si c'était un j), nous plonge vraiment dans la manière dont Jules Vernes a rédigé son livre. C'est très émouvant.
Un MUST HAVE pour tous les amoureux des livres et de ces histoires fantastiques, sans oublier ces belles gravures !!

Je viens de recevoir le livre. Il est très beau ! On a l'impression de visiter la salle des moteurs de Nautilus ! C'est quand même dingue de voir toutes les ratures de Verne, son application, ses hésitations. Un trésor pour ceux qui aiment cet auteur !

Heureux possesseur d'une vingtaine d'ouvrages de Jules Verne dans leurs éditions originales, dont "Vingt mille lieues sous les mers", il m'était impossible de passer à côté de ce petit bijou. Vu la qualité de l'ouvrage et le soin extrême apporté par Les Saints Pères, c'est évidemment un collector des plus précieux, et une redécouverte passionnante de ce titre qui m'a tant fait aimer la littérature. Bravo aux équipes de l'éditeur : le concept est génial. C'est définitivement une édition incontournable...

et c'est vrai, l'emballage est top ! :-) :-)

j'attends avec impatience le Voyage au Centre de la Terre... Noël 2015, peut-être ??? :-)

Un ouvrage absolument magnifique qui en révèle beaucoup sur l'auteur. L'envoi est lui même de très haute qualité. Surprenant et agréable. Pour les passionnés, inévitable.

Magnifique ouvrage, absolument fabuleux, aussi bien sur le fond que sur la forme ! C'est incroyable de pouvoir lire (ou relire) "Vingt mille lieues sous les mers" de cette manière. On a vraiment l'impression que c'est Jules Verne qui vous a donné le manuscrit ! Très grande qualité de reliure, de papier. De belles gravures.
Dernière chose : j'ai très rarement vu un emballage aussi soigné ! L'ouvrage est vraiment très bien protégé et il est arrivé dans un état impeccable.
A ce niveau, le prix n'a plus aucune importance.

Génial !

Le ramage et le plumage : bravo aux Editions des Saints-Pères pour ce travail magnifique !

Ca donne vraiment envie de l'avoir dans sa bibliothèque ! Vivement le 2 décembre !