The Eternal Adam

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Illustration by Léon Bennett

The Eternal Adam (French: L'Éternel Adam) is a short novelette by Jules Verne recounting the progressive fall of a group of survivors into barbarism following an apocalypse. Although the story was drafted by Verne in the last years of his life, it was greatly expanded by his son, Michel Verne.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The story is set in a far future in which Zartog Sofr-Aï-Sran, an archaeologist deciphers the preserved journal of a survivor to the total destruction of civilisation. The discovery comes in the midst of philosophical controversies on the Origin of Man, between those that believe in the existence of a unique ancestor and those that do not.

The journal describes the struggle for survival of a small group and the futility of the accumulated knowledge in the group.

The conclusion of the novel implies that the unique ancestor is the survivor whose journal was discovered, and that civilisation is doomed to eternal fall and rebirth.


  1. ^ della Riva, Piero Gondolo. "A propos des oeuvres posthumes de Jules Verne" (595–96). Europe: 73–88.

See also[edit]

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