Verniana — Jules Verne Studies / Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 1 (2008–2009) — 31–42

Verne’s Errant Readers: Nemo, Clawbonny, Michel Dufrénoy


Terry Harpold


Descriptions of the scene of reading in three Verne novels – Paris in the Twentieth Century (1863), The Adventures of Captain Hatteras (1866), and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (1869–70) – illustrate a general textual practice which I term errant reading. The errant reader, I propose, shows his mastery of a textual imaginary by reading outside of – around – the units of the page and book, and by recombining elements of a textual field into new sequences. This structure, I conclude, orients both the role of reading in Verne’s fictions and his relations to his literary precursors.

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