Vilimek Jules Verne, His Works and the "Hatched World"

Jules Verne (1828–1905) is a French writer, known mostly as an author of novels which are full of adventure, world travel, and application of the latest scientific and technological inventions and other genius prophetic solutions. Many people know him mostly as a pioneer of the genre called "science fiction". This, however, is true only for a few of his works. His bibliography consists of 63 novels, of which many are part of the sequence called the Voyages extraordinaires. Some of his most famous books are e.g. Five Weeks in a Balloon, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, In Search of the Castaways, The Mysterious Island, Two Years' Vacation, A Captain at Fifteen, Off on a Comet, Around the World in Eighty Days, The Begum's Fortune, Robur the Conqueror, From the Earth to the Moon, and Mathias Sandorf.

Some of his novels tend to be less known but they are still magnificent. The reason for it usually is that either they get somehow printed less or their editions lack interesting illustrations, e.g. Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, Michael Strogoff, or The Survivors of the Chancellor.

A big number of his novels may also be quite uninteresting for present readers. They are often a bit tough to read but can be still rather enjoyable thanks to Verne's original ideas and style. For me, I always love to grab e.g. The Mighty Orinoco, Family Without a Name, or The Castaways of the Flag.

What is integral for Verne's books, are their illustrations. The original "hatched" engraving-like pictures have their charm and help to recreate and relive the peculiar world of long gone 19th century which a sensitive reader can dive into and close himself or herself in like in a bubble. He or she can regain their positive energy within and take a rest from the world of today. This does not go just for the original French illustrations but also for, for example, the ones in Czech translations by Zdeněk Burian. Although they are nothing like the originals, they still mean a lot to us who grew up with them.

People say that Verne's books are outdated, uninteresting and even unreadable from today's point of view. They say that they are overcome by better books for children and young adults. They even say that his works are often "ideologically" or "politically incorrect". Well, I do not agree. And you also do not let yourself be fooled just by what others say. You better read them and see for yourself. If you have not read anything by Verne yet, I suggest you start with his debut Five Weeks in a Balloon about then new aircraft device called Victoria. Purchase or borrow a nice illustrated edition in your mother tongue (preferably well translated). So many people around me once they got into the "hatched world", they wanted to stay there forever. And this may be the case for you too....

A novel from the series The Works of Jules Verne, published by Mladá fronta:


A novel from the series The Amazing Journeys, published by SNDK (Albatros):


The introductory illustration of the novel The Mysterious Island from the Czech edition of the book, published by Mladá fronta