Around the World in 80 Days, the manuscript by Jules Verne
Following SP Books’ Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) in 2014, this is the first time that the full manuscript of Tour du monde en 80 jours (Around the World in 80 Days) has been published in a single complete version. The document, formerly in the collections of Jules Verne’s grandson, is now kept in the Pierre-Jules Hetzel archives at the BnF (National Library of France). That manuscript is here reunited with 38 handwritten pages from the author’s draft of this now cult novel, which are kept at the Jules Verne Museum in Nantes. It is illustrated with a series of engravings from 1873, with designs by Alphonse de Neuville and Léon Benett, engraved by Hildibrand, Dumont, Pannemaker, Prevost and Louis. This boxed set contains a reproduction of the manuscript of Around the World in 80 Days, enriched with the Nantes manuscript and a preface by Jean-Christophe Rufin of the Académie Française. It will delight Jules Verne’s most loyal readers, as well as lovers of rare literary objects.
A modern and ambitious novel
Jules Verne had the idea for the novel as early as 1867, as indicated by five hundred words written on the back pages of a notebook. He drew from various sources of inspiration in plotting the adventures of Phileas Fogg and Passepartout: a short story by Edgar Allan Poe entitled 'Three Sundays in a Week', in which the characters take advantage of a discrepancy in the meridian to extend time; an article in the Parisian newspaper Le Siècle claiming that man could travel around the Earth in eighty days; and the stage adaptation of his novel Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras (Adventures of Captain Hatteras) which he worked on with the playwright Edouard Cadol.
The novel was initially serialised in Le Temps from 6 November to 22 December 1872, and published as a book the following year by Pierre-Jules Hetzel.
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 yearned from an early age to explore the open sea and vast horizons. At 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.
From 1865, most of Jules Verne’s novels were serialised in Magasin d’éducation et de récréation (Magazine of Education and Recreation), a magazine launched by Hetzel. 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.
Jules Verne : a prolific and visionary writer
An immensely prolific author and hard grafter, 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, both the drafts and 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.
‘I can hardly express the difference in literary value between my manuscripts and the final draft’
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 beyond – there are even variations between the serial and paperback versions.
A precise and detailed manuscript
The manuscript of Tour du monde en 80 jours is the only existing version for the novel. After the title page, it begins as follows:
In which Phileas Fogg and Passepartout accept each other, one as master, the other as man.
In the year 1872…
The writing is regular, as is normal for Jules Verne, who approached his page by dividing it in two, reserving the left-hand side for the narrative and the right-hand side for additions or notations. Many corrections pepper the text, bringing it closer to its final version. The attentive reader will notice the different names sported by Passepartout during the writing process: Jean Tirouflet, Maître Jean, Jean Fernandez and Jean Fricaudet. The chapter division changes relative to the earlier version (see the Nantes manuscript below), while different tables and columns allow the writer to estimate his characters’ journey down to the hour. Jules Verne insisted on the highest level of accuracy for his tale: each day gained, lost or elapsed was highly important and had to be credible within the reality of the different means of transport used...
The Nantes manuscript includes the first 26 chapters as well as the first lines of the 27th chapter. The title page is dated 29 March 1872 and bears five titles: ‘Around the World’, ‘Floating City’, ‘Great Voyages’, ‘Blockade Runners’ and ‘Doctor Ox’. The manuscript also contains bearings, places and dates detailing the stages of the imagined adventure. The writer has used red ink on top of the original pencil, and on the front of folios 26-28, there is a detailed plan of the final chapters and draft of the conclusion.
Surprisingly, there are several deleted scenes immortalised in this document that were subsequently cut by Jules Verne and his editor: scenes between Fogg and Aouda, the wedding in London…
This edition is illustrated with a series of engravings from an 1873 edition.
Introduced by Jean-Christophe Rufin of the Académie Française
'Around the World in 80 Days is not a futuristic novel, rather it places progress...in the past.'
Numbered from 1 to 2,000, this Klein blue edition is presented in a large format handmade slipcase.
Printed with vegetal ink on eco-friendly paper, each book is bound and sewn using only the finest materials.
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