Voyages extraordinaires

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Voyages extraordinaires
Hetzel front cover.jpg
A typical in-8º Hetzel cover for the Voyages Extraordinaires. The novel is Les Aventures du Capitaine Hatteras au Pôle Nord, and the cover style is "Aux deux éléphants" ("With two elephants").

AuthorJules Verne
PublisherPierre-Jules Hetzel
Published1863–1905 (additional novels revised or written by Michel Verne added 1905–1919)
Media typeprint (hardcover and paperback)

The Voyages extraordinaires (French: [vwajaʒ ɛkstʁaɔʁdinɛʁ]; lit.'Extraordinary Voyages' or 'Amazing Journeys') is a collection or sequence of novels and short stories by the French writer Jules Verne.

Fifty-four of these novels were originally published between 1863 and 1905, during the author's lifetime, and eight additional novels were published posthumously. The posthumous novels were published under Jules Verne's name, but had been extensively altered or, in one case, completely written by his son Michel Verne.[1][2]

According to Verne's editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the goal of the Voyages was "to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, historical and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format ... the history of the universe."[3]

Verne's meticulous attention to detail and scientific trivia, coupled with his sense of wonder and exploration, form the backbone of the Voyages. Part of the reason for the broad appeal of his work was the sense that the reader could really learn knowledge of geology, biology, astronomy, paleontology, oceanography, history and the exotic locations and cultures of the world through the adventures of Verne's protagonists. This great wealth of information distinguished his works as "encyclopedic novels".

The first of Verne's novels to carry the title Voyages Extraordinaires was The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, which was the third of all his novels.

The works in this series are adventure stories, some with overt science fiction elements (e.g., Journey to the Center of the Earth) or elements of scientific romance (e.g., Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea).


In a late interview, Verne affirmed that Hetzel's ambitious commission had become the running literary theme of his novel sequence:

It is my intention to complete, before my working days are done, a series which shall conclude in story form my whole survey of the world’s surface and the heavens; there are still left corners of the world to which my thoughts have not yet penetrated. As you know, I have dealt with the moon, but a great deal remains to be done, and if health and strength permit me, I hope to finish the task.[4]

However, Verne made clear that his own object was more literary than scientific, saying "I do not in any way pose as a scientist"[4] and explaining in another interview:

My object has been to depict the earth, and not the earth alone, but the universe… And I have tried at the same time to realize a very high ideal of beauty of style. It is said that there can't be any style in a novel of adventure, but it isn't true; though I admit it is very much more difficult to write such a novel in a good literary form than the studies of character which are so vogue to-day.[5]


In the system developed by Hetzel for the Voyages Extraordinaires, each of Verne's novels was published successively in several different formats. This resulted in as many as four distinct editions of each text (labeled here according to current practice for Verne bibliographies):[6]

  • Éditions pré-originales (pre-original editions): Serialization in a periodical, usually Hetzel's own biweekly Magasin d'Éducation et de récréation ("Magazine of Education and Recreation", founded 1864). The serialized installments were illustrated by artists on Hetzel's staff, such as Édouard Riou, Léon Benett, and George Roux.
  • Éditions originales (original editions): complete unillustrated texts published in book form at 18mo size. (Similar versions in the slightly larger 12mo size, with illustrations taken from the serialization, are also considered éditions originales.)
  • Cartonnages dorés et colorés (gilded and colored bindings): Complete editions of the text, published in grand in-8º ("large octavo") book form with a lavishly decorated cover. These deluxe editions, designed for Christmas and New Year's markets, include most or all of the illustrations from the serializations.

Continued appeal[edit]

Jules Verne remains to this day the most translated science fiction author in the world[7] as well as one of the most continually reprinted and widely read French authors. Though often scientifically outdated, his Voyages still retain their sense of wonder that appealed to readers of his time, and still provoke an interest in the sciences among the young.

The Voyages are frequently adapted into film, from Georges Méliès' fanciful 1902 film Le Voyage dans la Lune (aka A Trip to the Moon), to Walt Disney's 1954 adaptation of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, to the 2004 version of Around the World in 80 Days starring Jackie Chan. Their spirit has also continued to influence fiction to this day, including James Gurney's Dinotopia series and "softening" Steampunk's dystopianism with utopian wonder and curiosity.

List of novels[edit]

Most of the novels in the Voyages series (except for Five Weeks in a Balloon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Purchase of the North Pole) were first serialized in periodicals, usually in Hetzel's Magasin d'Éducation et de récréation ("Magazine of Education and Recreation"). Almost all of the original book editions were published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel in octodecimo format, often in several volumes. (The one exception is Claudius Bombarnac, which was first published in a grand-in-8º edition.)[2]

What follows are the fifty-four novels published in Verne's lifetime, with the most common English-language title for each novel. The dates given are those of the first publication in book form.

  1. Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon, 1863)
  2. Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras (The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, 1866)
  3. Voyage au centre de la Terre (Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864, revised 1867)
  4. De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon, 1865)
  5. Les Enfants du capitaine Grant (In Search of the Castaways, 1867–68)
  6. Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas, 1869–70)
  7. Autour de la lune (Around The Moon, 1870)
  8. Une ville flottante (A Floating City, 1871)
  9. Aventures de trois Russes et de trois Anglais (The Adventures of Three Englishmen and Three Russians in South Africa, 1872)
  10. Le Pays des fourrures (The Fur Country, 1873)
  11. Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (Around the World in Eighty Days, 1873)
  12. L'Île mystérieuse (The Mysterious Island, 1874–75)
  13. Le Chancellor (The Survivors of the Chancellor, 1875)
  14. Michel Strogoff (Michael Strogoff, 1876)
  15. Hector Servadac (Off on a Comet, 1877)
  16. Les Indes noires (The Child of the Cavern, 1877)
  17. Un capitaine de quinze ans (Dick Sand, A Captain at Fifteen, 1878)
  18. Les Cinq Cents Millions de la Bégum (The Begum's Millions, 1879)
  19. Les Tribulations d'un chinois en Chine (Tribulations of a Chinaman in China, 1879)
  20. La Maison à vapeur (The Steam House, 1880)
  21. La Jangada (Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon, 1881)
  22. L'École des Robinsons (Godfrey Morgan, 1882)
  23. Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray, 1882)
  24. Kéraban-le-têtu (Kéraban the Inflexible, 1883)
  25. L'Étoile du sud (The Vanished Diamond, 1884)
  26. L'Archipel en feu (The Archipelago on Fire, 1884)
  27. Mathias Sandorf (Mathias Sandorf, 1885)
  28. Un billet de loterie (The Lottery Ticket, 1886)
  29. Robur-le-Conquérant (Robur the Conqueror, 1886)
  30. Nord contre Sud (North Against South, 1887)
  31. Le Chemin de France (The Flight to France, 1887)
  32. Deux Ans de vacances (Two Years' Vacation, 1888)
  33. Famille-sans-nom (Family Without a Name, 1889)
  34. Sans dessus dessous (The Purchase of the North Pole, 1889)
  35. César Cascabel (César Cascabel, 1890)
  36. Mistress Branican (Mistress Branican, 1891)
  37. Le Château des Carpathes (Carpathian Castle, 1892)
  38. Claudius Bombarnac (Claudius Bombarnac, 1892)
  39. P’tit-Bonhomme (Foundling Mick, 1893)
  40. Mirifiques Aventures de Maître Antifer (Captain Antifer, 1894)
  41. L'Île à hélice (Propeller Island, 1895)
  42. Face au drapeau (Facing the Flag, 1896)
  43. Clovis Dardentor (Clovis Dardentor, 1896)
  44. Le Sphinx des glaces (An Antarctic Mystery, 1897)
  45. Le Superbe Orénoque (The Mighty Orinoco, 1898)
  46. Le Testament d'un excentrique (The Will of an Eccentric, 1899)
  47. Seconde Patrie (The Castaways of the Flag, 1900)
  48. Le Village aérien (The Village in the Treetops, 1901)
  49. Les Histoires de Jean-Marie Cabidoulin (The Sea Serpent, 1901)
  50. Les Frères Kip (The Kip Brothers, 1902)
  51. Bourses de voyage (Travel Scholarships, 1903)
  52. Un drame en Livonie (A Drama in Livonia, 1904)
  53. Maître du monde (Master of the World, 1904)
  54. L'Invasion de la mer (Invasion of the Sea, 1905)

The posthumous additions to the series, extensively altered and in one case (The Thompson Travel Agency) entirely written by Verne's son Michel, are as follows.[8]

  1. Le Phare du bout du monde (Lighthouse at the End of the World, 1905)
  2. Le Volcan d’or (The Golden Volcano, 1906)
  3. L’Agence Thompson and Co (The Thompson Travel Agency, 1907)
  4. La Chasse au météore (The Chase of the Golden Meteor, 1908)
  5. Le Pilote du Danube (The Danube Pilot, 1908)
  6. Les Naufragés du "Jonathan" (The Survivors of the "Jonathan", 1909)
  7. Le Secret de Wilhelm Storitz (The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz, 1910)
  8. L’Étonnante Aventure de la mission Barsac (The Barsac Mission, 1919)

Short stories[edit]

The Voyages series includes two short story collections and seven individual short stories that accompanied one of the novels in the series. [1][2]

The short story collections are:

  1. Le Docteur Ox (Doctor Ox, 1874)[9]
  2. Hier et Demain (Yesterday and Tomorrow, 1910) (posthumous, with stories completed or modified by Michel Verne)[10]

And the individual short stories:

  1. Les Forceurs de blocus (The Blockade Runners, published with A Floating City, 1871)
  2. Martin Paz (Martin Paz, published with The Survivors of the Chancellor, 1875)
  3. Un drame au Mexique (A Drama in Mexico, published with Michael Strogoff, 1876)
  4. Les révoltés de la Bounty (The Mutineers of the Bounty, published with The Begum's Millions, 1879)
  5. Dix heures en chasse (Ten Hours Hunting, published with The Green Ray, 1882)
  6. Frritt-Flacc (Frritt-Flacc, published with The Lottery Ticket, 1886)
  7. Gil Braltar (Gil Braltar, published with The Flight to France, 1887)


In promotional materials for the series, Verne's editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel classified the Voyages Extraordinaires in several groups, mostly following geographic criteria:[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nash, Andrew. "Jules Verne - Extraordinary Journeys". The Jules Verne Collecting Resource Page. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Dehs, Volker; Jean-Michel Margot; Zvi Har'El. "The Complete Jules Verne Bibliography: I. Voyages Extraordinaires". Jules Verne Collection. Zvi Har’El. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  3. ^ Pérez, Ariel; de Vries, Garmt; Margot, Jean-Michel (2008). "Jules Verne FAQ". Jules Verne Collection. Zvi Har’El. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b Belloc, Marie A. (February 1895). "Jules Verne at Home". Strand Magazine. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  5. ^ Sherard, Robert H. (January 1894). "Jules Verne at Home". McClure's Magazine. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  6. ^ Harpold, Terry (2006). "Reading the Illustrations of Jules Verne's Voyages extraordinaires: The Example of Le Superbe Orenoque". ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. 3 (1). Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Top 50 Authors". UNESCO Index Translationum. UNESCO. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  8. ^ Dehs, Volker; Jean-Michel Margot; Zvi Har'El. "The Complete Jules Verne Bibliography: X. Apocrypha". Jules Verne Collection. Zvi Har’El. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  9. ^ Nash, Andrew. "Jules Verne - Doctor Ox". The Jules Verne Collecting Resource Page. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  10. ^ Nash, Andrew. "Jules Verne - Yesterday and Tomorrow". The Jules Verne Collecting Resource Page. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  11. ^ Nash, Andrew. "Jules Verne - Extraordinary Voyages". The Jules Verne Collecting Resource Page. Retrieved 3 April 2022.

External links[edit]