Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Jules Verne
Novelist, b. at Nantes, France, 1828; d. at Amiens, 1905. His first literary venture was a little play, Les pailles rompues", which was produced on the stage in the early fifties, but the difficulty he experience in overcoming the ill-will of the theatre managers discouraged him, and he began to publish, in the "Musée des Familles", novelettes after the fashion of Edgar Allan Poe. One of them, "A Drama in the Air", attracted the attention of the public. The subject is this: a madman embarks by mistake in the car of an aeronaut, and while in the air he tries to kill his companion. Verne had discovered his forte and it was his good fortune at this juncture to find in his publisher, Mr. Herzel, a man of sound judgment, who advised him not to waste his strength, but to limit his energies to the kind of novel he seemed to have discovered. Verne followed this advice, and success crowned his talent and strenuous work. Most of his novels have had a vogue that has been denied many a masterpiece of French literature, and this vogue has not been limited to France; it has spread beyond its frontiers. Verne was wont to show to visitors, not without a certain legitimate pride, the translations of his works kept in his library, where they occupied a goodly number of shelves, on which every language seemed to be represented. This wonderful success was undoubtedly due to the charming talent of the writer and the public's fondness for novels of adventure, but there was another cause for it, at least in so far as France was concerned. The French reading public had become tired of the pale copies of Dumas' stories that were published in the early fifties, and it was Verne's good luck and merit to revive in an attractive manner a kind of novel that seemed to be exhausted. With no less dexterity, and, it must be said, with no greater regard to accuracy, then that displayed by Dumas in his adaptation of history to the whims and fancies of story-telling, he brought science into the realm of fiction, and whatever may be the final verdict on the value of his work, he deserves the commendation that none of his books contains anything offensive to good taste or morals. Verne lived and died a Catholic.
The following are the best-known of his novels that have been translated into English: "Around the World in Eighty Days"; "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea"; "Michael Strogoff"; "A Floating City, and the Blockade Runners"; "Hector Servadac"; "Dick Sands"; "A Journey to the Centre of the Earth"; "The Mysterious Island"; "From the Earth to the Moon"; "The Steam House"; and "The Giant Raft".