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211 9 The Revival, 1993–1996 Even as an overall decline in the quality of Hollywood’s Verne filmmaking began in the 1980s, a renaissance in scholarship had been gaining momentum. The 150th anniversary of Verne’s birth in 1828 led to such original biographies as Peter Costello’s Jules Verne: Inventor of Science Fiction (1978) and Peter Haining’s lavishly illustrated The Jules Verne Companion (1979), both building on the translation of the second familial biography by grandson Jean Jules-Verne in 1976 and the 1972 translation of Jean Chesneaux’s The Political and Social Ideas of Jules Verne. A bibliography of English-language Verne criticism published by G. K. Hall in 1979 was followed by critical studies of Verne’s oeuvre: Jules Verne Rediscovered: Didacticism and the Scientific Novel (1988) by Arthur B. Evans (no relation to I. O. Evans), The Mask of the Prophet: The Extraordinary Fictions of Jules Verne (1990) by Andrew Martin, and Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Self: Space and Time in the “Voyages Extraordinaires” (1990) by William Butcher.1 It was at this point that I began writing The Jules Verne Encyclopedia with Stephen Michaluk Jr., emphasizing Anglophone cultural reception of Verne’s work.2 In researching the various translations and discovering precisely which Verne stories had not yet appeared in English, we noted that among them was Adventures of the Rat Family (1891), which was placed with Oxford as a separate book in 1993. My afterword explored why it and other Verne stories had not previously appeared in English; not since I. O. Evans, nearly three decades earlier, had a never-before translated story been published. 212 Hollywood Presents Jules Verne Several Verne books that had been published in France for the first time since the mid-1980s began to be published in English as well. British interest in Verne’s depiction of their country facilitated the 1992 translation of Journey to England and Scotland (written in 1860 but not published in France until 1989). In 1994, numerous articles appeared in newspapers and periodicals touting the discovery of the manuscript of Paris in the 20th Century and its prophetic anticipations. Paris in the 20th Century was soon appearing in the languages of the globe with as much alacrity as the books of Verne’s heyday, but when the English version commissioned by Random House was finally published in December 1996, readers had largely forgotten the publicity, with the result that sales did not meet expectations.3 New biographies were published, beginning in 1992 with two throwbacks—another volume for children, Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented Tomorrow by Peggy Teeters, and a slim adult volume, Jules Verne by Lawrence Lynch. They were followed by Herbert R. Lottman ’s detailed Jules Verne: An Exploratory Biography (1996), the first book on Verne that originated in English to be also published in French. In 1993, the North American Jules Verne Society formed and has steadily grown with annual meetings, a newsletter, Extraordinary Voyages , and book publications. The launching in 1996 of the Jules Verne Forum, a listserv devoted to international discussion of the author, was followed by a website that set the standard for the most accurate and comprehensive information about the author.4 The growing audio book industry provided readings of Verne volumes , continuing to this day. First on cassette tape and then on CD, these readings were usually unabridged, although largely from the poorly rendered , often censored public-domain texts.5 The audio book industry also relied on the same three titles as publishers and filmmakers generally : Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas, and Around the World in Eighty Days. These varied developments were about to be reflected in a range of contrasting screen efforts that spanned a widening range of genres and forms of screen media, from documentary to pastiches, animation, and children’s shows. Inventiveness and originality were evident once more The Revival 213 as filmmakers approached all of these genres simultaneously, informed by the wave of new scholarship. Sadly, only a fraction of these many advances were evident when “The Extraordinary Voyages of Jules Verne” episode appeared on the Arts and Entertainment (A&E) television cable channel’s Biography series. Premiering April 17, 1995, this one-hour documentary was produced by Martin Kent for Greystone Productions and was subsequently dubbed and distributed in many other countries. A program on Verne had been desired for Biography over several years, but despite a nine...


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