|Published||1863-1905 (additional novels revised or written by Michel Verne added 1905-1919)|
|Media type||print (hardcover and paperback)|
The Voyages extraordinaires (literally Extraordinary Voyages or Extraordinary Journeys) is a sequence of fifty-four novels by the French writer Jules Verne, originally published between 1863 and 1905.
According to Verne's editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the goal of the Voyages was "to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format ... the history of the universe."
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 and the exotic locations and cultures of 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 included both fiction and non-fiction[clarification needed], 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.
However, Verne made clear that his own object was more literary than scientific, saying "I do not in any way pose as a scientist" 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.
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):
Jules Verne remains to this day the most translated science fiction author in the world 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.
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.)
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.