Verniana — Jules Verne Studies / Etudes Jules Verne — Volume 5 (2012–2013) — i–iv

Editorial — The Verne Translation Renaissance Continues

Arthur B. Evans

Asked to write an editorial for Volume 5 of Verniana, I would like to give a brief update to the survey of Anglophone Vernian scholarship (1965-2007) that I contributed to Volume 1 of Verniana several years ago. [1] In particular, I’d like to take a moment to recognize those many scholars, fans, and publishers who have made 2008-2012 an especially rich period for new English-language translations of Jules Verne..

Top kudos for recent translations must go to the indefatigable American Vernian from Albuquerque Frederick Paul Walter, not only for his impressive omnibus volume Amazing Journeys: Five Visionary Classics published in 2010 (containing new translations of Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Circling the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, Around the World in 80 Days) but also for his “first complete English translation” of Verne’s The Sphinx of the Ice Realm (also featuring the full text of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym) which appeared in 2012. Both were published by Excelsior Editions, an imprint of SUNY Press.

Equally indefatigable is Brian Taves, president of the North American Jules Verne Society and editor of its excellent Palik Series. He continues to lead a talented team of translators (Edward Baxter, Kieran M. O’Driscoll, and Frank Morlock et al.) and world-class Verne scholars (Jean-Michel Margot, Volker Dehs, and Garmt de Vries-Uiterweerd et al.) in their quest to “bring to the Anglo-American public [...] hitherto unknown Verne tales” (see their website at In the past two years, this team has produced first English translations of several early novellettes and theatrical works by Verne such as The Marriage of a Marquis, Mr. Chimpanzee, Eleven Days of Siege, and The Count of Chanteleine, among others. In 2011, they also published Sidney Kravitz’s English translation of Verne’s manuscript draft of The Mysterious Island originally called L’Oncle Robinson, published as Shipwrecked Family: Marooned with Uncle Robinson (so as to not confuse readers with Verne’s later novel L’École des Robinsons [The School for Robinsons]). And one of the most recent translations in the Palik Series includes not only the work of Jules Verne but also of his son Michel in Vice, Redemption and the Distant Colony (2012). Kieran M. O’Driscoll served as the translator for this fine volume and was also responsible for its critical notes which offer a refreshingly unbiased and nonjudgmental view on the “familial collaboration” between Jules and Michel Verne and their often controversial literary (and cinematic) legacy. [2] All these titles in the Palik Series are published by BearManor Fiction.

By way of Edinburgh’s Luath Press, two new translations of Verne’s The Green Ray and The Blockade Runners appeared in 2009 and 2011 respectively, both translated by Karen Loukes and both including interesting critical commentary by Professor Ian Thompson. A new translation of Verne’s Château des Carpathes by Charlotte Manell called A Castle in Transylvania was published by Melville House in Brooklyn, New York in 2010. And finally, noted Verne scholar Peter Schulman translated the original manuscript of Verne’s posthumous The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz and had it published in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press. [3]

On the horizon for 2013 are several more English translations of Verne. The last untranslated novel of the Voyages extraordinaires—Verne’s Travel Scholarships (originally published in French in 1903 as Bourses de voyage)—will finally be available in English, thanks to the efforts of Teri J. Hernández and Wesleyan University Press. And for its sixth volume, the Palik Series will publish a Bolossy Kiralfy translation of the 1874 play by Verne and Adolphe D’Ennery of Around the World in 80 Days as well as Edward Baxter translations of two early Verne stories titled San Carlos and The Siege of Rome (published for the first time in French in 1993).

In Volume 1 of Verniana, toward the end of my introduction to “Jules Verne in English,” I made the following observation: “English-language readers are now witnessing a veritable renaissance of interest in all things Vernian” (10). From 2008 to today, in terms of the number of new English-language translations of Verne’s works that have appeared on the market, I am pleased to report that this “renaissance” continues unabated.


I. First and new English translations of novels in Verne’s Voyages extraordinaires:

II. First English translations of the original manuscripts of some of Verne’s novels:

III. First English translations of some of Verne’s other works (novellas, short stories, plays, incomplete novel manuscripts, etc.) in the Palik Series, sponsored by the North American Jules Verne Society:


  1. Arthur B. Evans. “Jules Verne in English: A Bibliography of Modern Editions and Scholarly Studies.” Verniana Vol. 1 (2008-09): 9-22. ^
  2. As I explained in a 2009 book review entitled “Protesting Too Much: The Jules vs. Michel Verne Controversy” (online at ), since the 1980s many Vernians have reacted with dismay and indignation when learning of Michel’s (re)writing of  his father’s posthumous novels. As a knee-jerk reaction, they uniformly condemned all these “contaminated” works regardless of their individual quality. Following the lead of Olivier Dumas, president of the Société Jules Verne, the majority of these Verne scholars have been so vociferous in their denunciation of Michel’s “tainted” editions that all the posthumous novels originally included in Verne’s Voyages extraordinaires have now been conspicuously expunged from some modern Verne bibliographies (see, for example, Personally, I find this vilification of Michel’s contributions to his father’s oeuvre to be excessive, simplistic, and historically myopic. Less blind condemnation and more scholarly study of Michel’s work is what is truly needed. ^
  3. English translations of the original manuscripts for nearly all of the posthumous novels of Verne’s Voyages extraordinaires are now available. The only exceptions are Le Beau Danube jaune (the original manuscript of Verne’s 1908 Le Pilote du Danube [translated by I.O. Evans as The Danube Pilot in 1967]) and Verne’s 1907 L’Agence Thompson and Co. (translated by I.O. Evans as The Thompson Travel Agency [in 2 volumes: Package Holiday and End of the Journey] in 1965), for which no known manuscript version exists. The original manuscript of the final novel of Verne’s Voyages extraordinaires, L’Étonnante aventure de la mission Barsac (1919, translated by I.O. Evans as The Barsac Mission [in 2 volumes: Into the Niger Bend and The City of the Sahara] in 1960) consisted only of five short chapters and some notes and was tentatively titled Voyage d’études (recently translated by Kieren N. O’Driscoll as Fact-Finding Mission and published in the Palik Series volume Vice, Redemption and the Distant Colony in 2012). ^