From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond: The Writing and Legacy of Jules Verne

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Duration 01:05:24

Old Dominion University

Dr. Peter Schulman is Professor of French and International Studies at Old Dominion University where he has just been named an “Eminent Scholar.” He also has been designated an Officier des Palmes Academiques by the French Government. Professor Schulman serves on the Board of Trustees of the North American Jules Verne Society (NAJVS) and is a world-wide Jules Verne scholar. He is editor of Verne’s The Begum’s Millions and has translated his last novel, The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz, as well as A Thousand and Second Night and Other Plays by Jules Verne. In addition to his work on Verne, he has also co-authored Le Dernier Livre du Siècle and translated 8 books of French poetry and non-fiction.



Long considered “The Father of Science Fiction,” Jules Verne has astounded many with his prescience–focusing many of his novels on inventions that were before their time, such as spaceships, submarines, and even a proto-fax machine. Yet, while Verne has been a beloved literary hero for young people since the success of his first published novel Five Weeks in a Balloon in 1863, he also has had an impact on readers of all ages. A re-examination of his work today reveals Verne’s literary prowess not only for his foresight in predicting new forms of travel, but also for his insights into humanity, society, history, and the world. This course will introduce students to the scope of Verne’s novels and thoughts.


Recommended Reading:

Jules Verne Rediscovered: Didacticism and the Scientific Novel, by Arthur B. Evans

Jules Verne: An Exploratory Biography, by Herbert Lottman

Hollywood Presents: Jules Verne, the Father of Science Fiction on Screen, by Brian Taves

Jules Verne: Journeys in Writing, by Timothy Unwin

Online academic journal devoted to Jules Verne’s works: Jules Verne Studies/ Etudes Jules Verne: Verniana (

Discussion Questions:

  1. Although Verne seems to highlight the wonders of technology, what are the dangers that he warns against, as well?
  2. Verne researched the latest scientific discoveries of his time, and his novels were meant to educate as well as to entertain. Yet, they can also be read as exciting travel logs. How does Verne help us travel through his works?
  3. Describe the typical Vernian hero, as well as his opposite, the Vernian anti-hero or nemesis. Why is there a dearth of female protagonists?
  4. How is Verne a writer of his time and country (mid-to-late 19th-century France)? How did Verne become a universally appreciated novelist and one of the most translated? (Because he has been so widely translated, many readers have assumed he wrote in English, Spanish, and Russian, among many other languages and nations).




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Jules Verne

A very good overview of a great writer. Peter Schulman did a really good job with lots of wonderful information. One can tell he is extremely knowledgeable. Thank you so much.

2 years ago
Wendy Meer

Jules Verne

Prof. Schulman, thank you for an informative lecture on Jules Verne. I remember reading his books in my youth. Hopefully it was the better version

2 years ago

Scientific Articles

I was hoping for a little more information on what was in those Scientific journals that was new at the time that inspired him.

2 years ago
Elaine Lackritz

Jukes Verne

Your presenter, Peter Schumann is awe full !! There is an “ummm” at least 3 times in every sentence – so totally distracting, I had to turn him off.

1 year ago
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