A TRIBUTE TO VERNE


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Hello TrueScanners!

The conceptualization of this narrative commemorates the very day of the last Space Shuttle takeoff -- an end to a great era; one ushered in, however, by important luminaries who preceded it.   And so it seems fitting to now speak of one of those earliest of pioneers; one whose contribution was so significant that any absence thereof might well have resulted in humanity's delay in reaching the moon!

And so it is that Jules Verne seems to now stand at the very apex of science fiction achievement -- an author who chiefly was instrumental in kicking off, or augmenting, sci-fi's "Big Bang".

His Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea(s) is considered to be unrivaled -- holding a true position as one of the very greatest, or most important, science fiction novels of all time.

Classics Illustrated, a listing of the greatest literary books ever, credits Verne with three titles in its first fifty listings.

Most extraordinarily, Jules Verne remains the second most translated individual author of all time, losing out only to Agatha Christie, and eclipsing one William Shakespeare.

And so that recalcitrant question needs to be asked:   Other than being there first, what typified the great Jules Verne?   More specifically, what innate capacity did he exhibit which propelled his works to such great heights? And, what differentiated Jules Verne from all of those other great sci-fi writers who succeeded him?

Well, Jules Verne largely predicated his stories upon an association of the sciences, thereby combining diverse fields of geology, anthropology, astronomy, physics, and chemistry into unforgettable themes; many of which still appear to remain quite plausible even today.

And so, it not surprising that many people still search for ways to discredit Vernian theories; an occupation which really represents little more than another seeming testimonial to his enduring genius.

Verne's story line oftentimes featured relevant sesquipedalian presentiments; schemes articulated in a manner which served to greatly enhance reader awareness and overall understanding. Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea(s) is replete with such verbiage. It seems almost as though a portion of his very essence flourished in deeply-rooted antediluvian precepts which he so willfully espoused.

TrueScans asserts that there can be but only one salient reason for being translated world-wide as much as Jules Verne; and that reason, very simply speaking, is reader appreciation! And that is precisely why the TrueScans narrative presented below should become BIG News in the world:  Because a large number of the world’s residents, even at this very late juncture in human history, should still show a great interest in learning of its contents!

Although the story below chronologically surfaces in the twenty-first century, nevertheless it remains perhaps one of the most significant news stories ever to break concerning the Great Sci-fi Author.   Furthermore, in an attempt to be even more respectful of this paragon of the pen of fiction, portions of the groundbreaking narrative presented below parallel, in certain respects, one of his great works:   A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.


EN LUFTBALLONGSRESA GENOM AFRIKA

[Jules Verne's Very First DATED AND SIGNED Book]

INTRODUCTION

Many years ago extensive human travel was restricted to within great land masses, as they were divided by the world's oceans. Some tell of human migrations coming over from Asia by means of an isthmus which once was thought to connect directly to Alaska. Tales explained that such migrations brought over the American Indian, an alleged descendant of the Eskimo!   Acoma, New Mexico, about one-hundred miles due west of Albuquerque, is thought to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the United States. There, its population can be traced to the 11th century, about the same time frame when William the Conqueror invaded England.

In order to circumvent this continental barrier, brave navigators took to the seas in quest of riches at personal risk to life and limb.   They bartered and forged new associations, thereby leading to an improved understanding of foreign lands, peoples and cultures.

Mankind ventured more earnestly upon the waves.   It began to circumnavigate the world in order to ascertain what it contained. It forged upon the open seas of adventure enduring unthinkable hardships during an exciting age of discovery.

"It's all about Discovery" remarked Jake Gyllenhaal, as guest star on "Man vs. Wild"!

Shortly thereafter, Bear Grylls led Jake on a grueling, but breathtaking expedition through the volcanic wastelands of Iceland.

Uncannily, many years before that there seems to have been some sort of hoopla, forebodings, or speculation that such inhospitable climate might have harbored a secret gateway, or portal, leading to the very bowls of the inner earth itself! Given the heat and pressures thought to reside there, today's worldly inhabitants might think that that kind of journey only might occur as a figment of one’s imagination!

But what of adventure, now that the great age of discovery has ended? Well, of course there seems to be the possibility of traveling to other worlds! What better way to marvel at the heavens and creation?

Unfortunately though, that may have been derailed; all because of the exorbitantly high cost which today must be associated with journeying away from mother earth. That cost is so mitigating, it requires its own bankrolling by one of the wealthiest countries on earth. In contrast it seems the very finances needed to have built a suitable boat in the year 1492, man a crew, and sail the seas, pale in comparison.

So, what of man? Where do we go from here given that, from hereon in, he must now select his itineraries very carefully when setting sails for unchartered waters in order to partake in discovery?

One answer which must suffice, for at least the present, is that the very term adventure, itself has slightly changed in context where today it gains the advantage of having vastly improved communications as a new ally or companion. This can only serve to limit, or restrict overall real world adventure because now that the earth has become so crowded, while at the same time personal contact with others located in far away places has become so expedited, all one needs to do is research an adventure which already has taken place, and then build upon that.

One good example has to do with the entrapped Chilean miners. The entire world vicariously looked on as special machines were built, and employed to travel deep into the earth in order to retrieve these people. Countless numbers of television and newspaper viewers were able to witness firsthand, and practically experience for themselves the real time, blow-by-blow accounts as events unfolded. Some onlookers expressed empathy while others vented rage over inadequate safeguards which were said to have precipitated the whole unfortunate incident!

And really, what about this ruckus over just a few of the world’s somewhat forlorn, forgotten miners who ultimately experienced premature, short term burial!

INANIMATED ADVENTURE

As we think of it, the whole encounter may qualify as a consummate example of inanimated adventure -- a seeming reversal to progress itself; the latter of which actually witnessed the achievement of reproducing animation via invention's spark to the motion picture industry.

Inanimated adventure best serves those who wish to engage in somewhat passive involvements. This is analogous to virtual reality (as once recounted in the movie Total Recall) except that each individual has much more control over where the "benign adventure" is to take him; as opposed to having his mind supplanted via suffusion of artificial imagination conjured up by a whole new army of in vogue thought regulators whose intention it is to substitute dreams for human reality.

A so-called "benign adventure" naturally carries with it the benefit of providing for, or permitting an adrenaline rush without risking the potential for personal injury.

So, how do we actually go about creating an inanimated adventure and how could it possibly play upon the very legacy of Jules Verne?

The first step is to identify elements which will comprise or constitute the inanimated adventure. These elements will determine what direction the inanimated adventure goes in. In this case, a great emphasis needs to be placed upon collaboration and comprehensive research.

Collaboration is important because it is rather inexpensive, and yet can produce phenomenal results. Just think, a properly placed note might now have the potential for harnessing masses of people at a moment's notice. Consider the practically instantaneous assembly of people which took place in Egypt for purposes of improving upon their government.

Research can now be used to explore the inner depths of adventure -- such as splitting the atom or discovering DNA. Given the enormous databases out there, both public and private, serious work can lead to identifying the remotest strands of necessity that, once properly linked together can greatly contribute to divulging new forms of discovery!

Quantifiable outputs must be examined and re-examined only to properly determine which road the inanimated adventure should take next. In this case, indications reveal that the country of Sweden, at least with regard to Verne, looms important, yet remains largely undiscovered.

THE QUEST

The whole inanimated adventure got started, or kicked off, innocently enough once TrueScans realized that Jules Verne apparently had journeyed from Stockholm to Christiania by canal sometime during 1862 (as noted on page 45 of Reference[1]).

Placing Jules Verne there in 1862 seems plausible enough because this above reference further claims that Jules Verne actually had made the itinerary public information through one of his prior personal interviews.

Because Stockholm resides on Sweden’s Eastern shore and Christiania (renamed Oslo, Norway in 1925) is located directly to the west of its western borders, Jules Verne either had traveled across Sweden our perhaps around it during 1862.

Now, some might argue that Sweden is not a place where Jules Verne books of any consequence were ever published.  After all, France is thought of as being the country where all his editions were originally first published; whereas, the English speaking books naturally merit great interest because of their high prices.

As one fathoms through the myriad bibliographies of Verne, very rarely, do old Swedish listings ever turn up. But, one might argue, why shouldn't they? After all, isn't Verne the second most translated author in the world? Haven't his books already been translated into most languages?

Upon conceding the fact that these book renderings are quite rare, why should focus, at this very late date, now be directed towards Verne's Swedish first printings?

Well, up to this point in time, nobody seemed to really know for sure!

So why not ask the Swedes about it? Wouldn't they be the most knowledgeable people? Wouldn't they tend to be the ones to have the greatest remaining numbers of printed works still within their possession?

A SUBJECT FOR DISCOVERY

And so it came to pass that TrueScans adopted, or theorized, a new subject for discovery. After all, where would mankind be today had there never first been subjects for discovery out there to go after, such as the "Fountain of Youth" or "The Holy Grail"?

The name to be attributed to this soon-to-be-sought after subject for discovery was to be a Swedish Jules Verne first edition novel which could be determined to predate its respective French title.

For us true few Verne followers who still remain, we vaguely can remember a Professor Von Hardwigg as being in possession of a very important Runic Manuscript; one seemingly very rare, surviving tome scribed in the very language of the original population of Iceland. Hearsay has it that Von Hardwigg's great manuscript became cause for, or inspired the launching of a great adventure which ultimately led to the very discovery of the Centre of the Earth!

Conversely, in this inanimated adventure, collaboration and comprehensive research were to be applied as catalysts that hopefully would uncover direction markers that ultimately would lead, or point, to the great unknown, missing Jules Verne Swedish first edition work!

It naturally goes without saying that surfacing such a book would tend to then relegate mastery of France's ownership over Verne original first edition works to a second rate status, similar to that which happened to its other great author, Victor Hugo, upon learning that his publication of Les Miserables, previously considered by most critics to first have been published in France, really was printed first in Brussels by Lacroix!

THE INFORMATION SOURCE

Remember in Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth, our Professor Von Hardwigg and his nephew, Harry, had to travel to Iceland's Sneffels Volcano in order to penetrate into the earth's interior? Memory serves that this was achieved through application of the all-important guide.

Likewise, it became conjectured that the fastest, most economical way to locate such a rare book would be through an attempt to make contact with some erudite Swedish counterpart -- one considered or judged to be an expert on Jules Verne history, or folklore, in his own right. It would then prove an easy task to mobilize such a person within his own country in order to explore for such an illusive work.

This proved to be a far better alternative than actually going over to far-away Sweden and working in a foreign language environment in order to determine whether Jules Verne may have written and published his very first book there; not, as believed, in France!

And so it was that the quest for locating a missing true Verne first edition novel started in earnest.  Finding the book after locating the proper guide seemed to be the most feasible approach. But, few would have suspected that locating the book first would have led to the guide -- which is exactly what happened!

This book location occurred by interrogating world databases.  Any early Verne Swedish books which became identified during the analysis were to be closely tracked. The dates of 1862 and 1863 were to be used as sorting tools which, in many cases, reduced the great numbers of books which needed to be reviewed!

And then one day, a short, terse piece of very promising information materialized.  Naturally, it originated in Sweden!  Such disclosure began to confirm our contact, or sought after information source,to be a virtual authority on Jules Verne.

From the far-away reaches of the world came new information never heard of before about the great author.  It was almost as though Sweden might now become viewed as a viable location for surfacing displaced, forgotten Verne artifacts; a very mysterious and private civilization where many important secrets were about to unfold.

Very little was asked from our information source for fear of scaring him away.   What was gained, however, was a well formulated rhetoric that appeared to carry a tinge of urgency behind it.  Quite possibly, some personal nationalistic tendency was working upon our contact.   Eventually he showed a strong resolve to inform the outside world of events he claimed had occurred in Sweden in 1862.

Our information source began to allude to a very, very rare Verne book; one which was actually dated in 1863.   Most extraordinarily, our contact then acknowledged that such book belonged to him!

It is not known how our information source came by this book. Nor is not known how long the book remained within his family, or whether one of his very ancestors received the book directly after its publication.

The first bit of revealing information from our mysterious, knowledgeable Swedish counterpart came over as follows:

"Verne travelled to Sweden in 1862, where he went from Stockholm to Göteborg on Göta Kanal by boat!

"Parts of the original manuscript most probably were written on that trip!"

This topmost piece of information substantiated what the world already knew about Verne's Stockholm[1] embarkation point, but nevertheless introduced added salient detail.   It verified that Verne, in fact, actually had traveled through Sweden, and not around it!

The map below shows Oslo's location in relation to Göteborg -- serving as respective points of disembarkation as cited by Jules Verne during personal interview and by our information source. Considering that Göteborg possibly might have been an intermediate disembarkation point on way to Oslo would prove both stories to be true.

In any event, when considered in consonance with interconnecting lakes situated between Stockholm and Göteborg, the Gota Canals form a waterway across Sweden. There also is a canal which takes a northwestern route away from Lake Vernern, thereby making its way through the remainder of Sweden in the direction of Oslo[2].

Our source's soliloquy continued as follows:

"Not known to most Verne biliographers, Jules Verne had tight connections with several Swedish authors.

"A very rare and obscure book published in Sweden without the authors name - nobody knew who he was back then, his fame was yet to come. In 1863, the same year as this title, Verne's first published book was published in France under the title Cinq Semaines en Ballon!

"An antiquarian rarity missed by most of Verne's bibliographers!

"8:o, 316 pages, frontsp+ 3 plates+3 ill in text. Bound in cloth with title on back.

"This is A VERY RARE TITLE to find even here in Sweden!"


BOOK PRECEDENCE

Very little information is available on the En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika 1863 dated book.  Two websites cite the Swedish title with the Danish website translation into English stating, "This is the first release of Jules Verne in Sweden.  Note that it happens almost simultaneously with the French original"[3][4].

Websites of various languages provide insight as to when the very first Verne French book appeared. Of these, the French disclosures are accorded highest priority since they allude to Verne books which actually were published within that very country.   Now, during the nineteenth century, French authors were in the habit of depositing copies of their work with the Bibliothèque Nationale"[5].

Reviewing this archive leads to one very important piece of information which can be viewed as follows:

a) Go to the following website: The Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF).

Alternate page:                The Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF).

b) Plug in the following criteria: Cinq semaines en ballon, voyage de découvertes en Afrique par trois Anglais 1863

c) Clicking on the disclosed record should link to BNF Record no: FRBNF31562308 which states the following in French:

Type: texte imprimé, monographie

Auteur(s): Verne, Jules (1828-1905)

Titre(s): Jules Verne. Cinq semaines en ballon, voyage de découvertes en Afrique par trois Anglais, rédigé sur les notes du docteur Fergusson [Texte imprimé]

Publication : Paris: J. Hetzel, (1863)

Description matérielle: In-18, 354 p.

Note(s): Premier roman proposé par Jules Verne à Hetzel, fin 1862 et publié pour les étrennes 1863. - Sur les éditions de Verne chez Hetzel, cf. A. Parménie et C. Bonnier de La Chapelle, "Histoire d'un éditeur et de ses auteurs, P.-J. Hetzel (Stahl)", 1953 [8° Ln27. 85220. - Collection Hetzel

Notice n°: FRBNF31562308

d) The French to English translation is as follows:

Type: text printed monograph

Author (s): Verne, Jules (1828-1905)

Title (s): Jules Verne. Five Weeks in a Balloon, journey of discovery in Africa by three Englishmen, written on the notes of Dr. Ferguson [electronic]

Publication: Paris: J. Hetzel (1863)

Physical Description: In-18, 354 p.

Note (s): First novel by Jules Verne offered to Hetzel in late 1862 and published the Christmas bonus for 1863. - Of the editions of Verne Hetzel, cf. A. Parménie and C. Bonnier de La Chapelle, "History of a publisher and its authors, P.-J. Hetzel (Stahl)", 1953 [8 Ln27. 85220. - Collection Hetzel

Record no: FRBNF31562308

When compared with the following source, various opinions can be reached, one of which is that the Christmas bonus for 1863, alluded to above, was under development in late 1862 and actually got published in early 1863. In view of the other supporting Verne bibliographic literature, this seems more plausible than the other option which was that the book got printed during Christmas time of 1863.

a) Go to the following BNF website: Expositions of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF).

b) Scroll down towards the bottom to the following heading: "Un auteur phare, Jules Vernes"

c) French Listing:

Un auteur phare, Jules Vernes

Cette maxime de l’éditeur – Éducation et récréation – s’incarne dans l’auteur phare de la maison, Jules Verne, dont Hetzel publie le premier roman, Cinq semaines en ballon le 24 décembre 1862.

Le succès du livre l’incite à négocier l’exclusivité de la production du romancier. À partir de 1864, les romans de Jules Verne sont d’abord publiés dans le Magasin, puis dans la collection Hetzel in-18 sans illustration et enfin, pour les fêtes de fin d’année, dans la "Bibliothèque d’éducation et de récréation", illustrés entre autres par Neuville, Riou, Bennett et richement cartonnés. En un peu plus de quarante ans, jusqu’à la mort de Jules Verne, en 1905, soixante-deux romans et dix-huit nouvelles composant les Voyages extraordinaires seront publiés, pour le bonheur des petits et des plus grands.

d) French to English Translation:

A leading author

This maxim of the publisher - Education and Recreation - embodied in the author's flagship home, Jules Verne, Hetzel which publishes first novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon December 24, 1862.

The book's success encouraged him to negotiate the exclusive production of the novelist. From 1864, Jules Verne's novels were first published in the store, then into the collection in Hetzel-18 not shown and finally, for the holiday season, in the "Library education and recreation ", illustrated among others by Neuville, Riou, Bennett and richly cardboard. In little more than forty years, until the death of Jules Verne in 1905, sixty-two novels and eighteen new components will be published the extraordinary voyages, to the delight of young and old alike.

Reference [6] indicates Hetzel’s in-18 edition to be the first original book form edition of Cinq Semaines En Ballon circa 1863. It further lists 31 January 1863 as a date of publication. Reference [7] reiterates this date and links to Reference [6], but further indicates all datings to be those of beginning of first publication, usually as a serial.

The following list depicts early French publications of Cinq Semaines En Ballon that do not qualify as original first edition works:

French books that combine other Verne novels under a single book cover cannot be considered to contain an original first printing of Cinq Semaines En Ballon circa 1863. This is because common opinion suggests that no other Verne novels were published earlier than 1864.

The Magasin D'Education Et De Recreation first started publishing Verne novels in 1864. Hence, this magazine cannot be considered to ever have contained a first edition of Cinq Semaines En Ballon circa 1863 either.   Reference [6] confirms this position by indicating there was no serialization of the first original printing of Cinq Semaines En Ballon.   [Most probably, the reference [7] note which is listed against Cinq Semaines En Ballon and indicates "all datings to be those of beginning of first publication, usually as a serial" pertains just to later French books when such serializations were applicable.]

One perplexing aspect between the 1863 Swedish book and its French counterpart is as follows:

En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika is dated 1863; but credits no author.

Cinq Semaines En Ballon gives no date of publication, but lists Jules Verne as the author.

The following link substantiates that Cinq Semaines En Ballon was published without date:   abebooks.com.

BIOGRAPHICAL OMISSIONS OF VERNE SWEDISH WORKS

Earlier on the question was asked if there were any reason why Swedish listings should be included in the principal Jules Verne bibliographies.

References [1] and [8] represent two of the world's leading Verne bibliographies.   Both address principally just English and French Jules Verne works. With these references themselves having been written in English, it's no wonder why English and American books are designated -- being that they obviously apply directly to the publisher's very own reading public. French book listings are included to depict what are believed to be original first editions of each of the respective, itemized English language books.

Since References [1]and [8] notably omit any bibliographic history with respect to the Swedish works, the question still remains open as to whether or not the Swedish listings should now be included in early Verne bibliographies.

Well, upon review, further examination reveals that this answer should be "yes". This is because TrueScans has recently verified that some of the important early Verne titles appear to have been published in Sweden and dated during the very same respective years as they are said to have been circulated in France. An abbreviated chronology follows to illustrate this fine point:

Year                 Swedish Title                              French Title                         English Translation of the Swedish Title

1863    En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika          Cinq Semaines En Ballon                  A Hot Air Balloon trip through Africa

1872       Jorden Rundt På åttio Dagar       Le Tour du Monde en Quatre-Vingts Jours[7]         Around the World in Eighty Days


V001 BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Jules Verne ascription of "V001" denotes the very first complete book he ever authored [1][8].  A bibliography, or depiction of the underlying titles, follows:

a) En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika [Swedish to English Translation:  A Hot Air Balloon trip through Africa], Albert Bonniers Forlag; Horbergska Boktryckeriet; Stockholm, Sweden; 316 pages, forty-four chapters DATED 1863[3][9].
b) Cinq Semaines En Ballon, [French to English Translation:  Five Weeks in a Balloon], Voyages Extraordinaires, Hetzel; Paris, France; circa 1863[1][4][6][7][8][10][11][12][13].
c) Cinq Semaines En Ballon, Bibliotheque D'Education Et De Recreation; Hetzel; DATED 1867.
d) Five Weeks In a Balloon, Volume 6 of "Every Saturday" A Journal of Choice Reading; Fields, Osgood & Co. -- Boston, Massachusetts, USA; 5 pages [short story]; DATED 1868[13].
e) Cinq Semaines En Ballon, Bibliotheque D'Education Et De Recreation; Hetzel; 259 pages; forty-four chapters DATED 1869 (Ref TrueScan below).
f) Five Weeks in a Balloon, Appleton First English language complete book; 345 pages; forty-four chapters DATED 1869[13].
g) Five Weeks in a Balloon, Osgood; 345 pages; forty-four chapters; 1873 and 1874[13].

In the list above, the term "DATED" refers to a book which contains its own printed date of publication.

The Latin term circa is used to denote an "approximate" date of publication or circulation. It applies when an actual printing date either is unknown or (yet) remains undetermined.

1869 Example of Cinq Semaines En Ballon as presented in Bibliotheque D'Education Et De Recreation
Note:  Lower Title Mentions a Voyage (with Discoveries) in Africa



STORY LINE SIMILARITY

Each of the above listed Swedish, French, and English language books exhibits a distinct similarity in its story line. Each book, respectively, depicts Dr. Ferguson as the main character.

The actual books listed in the V001 Bibliographic listings present essentially the same information; they feature a likeness with respect to their respective book contents, plots, and chapter constructions.

To illustrate:

  • V001 Bibliographic listings (a), (e), (f), and (g) above each contain forty-four chapters. Items (b) and (c) merely represent earlier publisher versions of item (e); whereas item (d) remains the exception because it appears in five page short story format.
  • All V001 Bibliographic listings include respective undertaking commencement dates which appear either in the first or second paragraphs of chapter one.   Each of those dates are reproduced below in order to show how closely each of the respective story lines track, or follow one another.
  • a) d. 15 Jan.

    b) 14 janvier 1862

    c) 14 janvier 1862

    d) January 15, 1862

    e) 14 janvier 1862

    f) 14th of January 1862

    g) 14th of January 1862

    THE 1862 TRIP TO SWEDEN

    Our information source notes that Verne had tight connections with several Swedish authors.   In that he was repeatedly rejected by French publishers during his early years, perhaps he planned to visit some of these people during his 1862 Swedish trip.

    Obviously, Verne was successful in getting his En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika published there.

    Our information source emphasizes that nobody knew who Verne was back then, his fame was yet to come. This is important input because Verne was the very first writer of his type; before him there was nobody else to compare to.  And so, publishing Verne could have turned out to be a big risk; principally because nobody really knew what to expect.

    Sometimes one of the hardest things for a publisher to do is to print a completely new author who invents unprecedented types of stories.  This assures original works; but, a real risk exists that such stories might not be well accepted or appreciated by the reading public, or easily infused into society.

    Nevertheless, the fact that Verne attempted to publish in another country, so shortly after receiving repeated French rejections, underlies the confidence he must have had that his first original novel was very well written.

    THE RACE TO PUBLISH FIRST

    All must have went well with Verne's Swedish publishing venture; that is, until Hetzel came along.  Since Verne was a true French national, he clamored at the prospect of being published directly in his home country.

    The very best strategy to keep Hetzel happy was to downplay any progress that may have been associated with the Swedish publication En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika.  What resulted met those guidelines to a tee because the Swedish book was published anonymously and on a very limited basis.

    Omitting Verne's name from the En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika publication undoubtedly was in the best interests of his French publisher. For, Hetzel's publication of Verne's manuscript could then sell very well in France for long periods of time given that the Swedish publisher might later have great difficulty in attempting to convince a hostile French audience that his Swedish book, naturally recounted in a foreign language, was indeed rendered by the very same French author. This approach of publishing anonymously in Sweden also served Verne's best interests because it disguised the Swedish publication; a good tactic to use in the event Verne had decided to keep it a secret from the French.

    Secondly, the Swedish book remained incredibly rare.  Possibly, this was influenced by secret accord between Verne and the Swedish publisher in order not to interfere with a booming French circulation. Or it may just have been that Verne turned out to be a poor sale in that country.

    In the event that publication first took place in France, Verne easily could have entered into a secret agreement with the Swedish publisher permitting their book to be produced only under the condition that its authorship always would have remained anonymous.  Furthermore, there easily could have been a second proviso which required the Swedish publisher to also print on a very limited basis, thereby producing a book which would truly have appeared to be transparent, or non-existent to the world public.

    Naturally, the only snafu to such an accord would have been for how long Verne and the Swedish publisher could keep the Swedish publication a secret.   In other words, did En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika, in fact, remain under lock-and-key until some later date when world opinion could no longer seriously hurt or damage Verne's reputation?

    THE ESCAPADE PLAYS OUT

    And so it was that Verne finally became successfully published both in Sweden and in France; and practically simultaneously!

    In France, Verne's works first appeared in books where his name proudly was bandied about in bold print on its title pages; and yet such works remained uncharacteristically undated. The French people happily credited Jules Verne as having created such works.

    In stark contrast, Sweden made little mention of Jules Verne. For some unapparent reason, his name seemed to be stricken even from his earliest of Swedish books. And yet, in spite of all this, the Swedish books were dated!

    And so it was that two significant Jules Verne books, each containing the very same story line, became independently published in different countries of the world by two independent publishers with notably contrasting front page formats.

    VERNE AWARENESS OF THE SWEDISH BOOK

    Journey to the Centre of the Earth made mention of a very mysterious parchment which once had belonged to Arne Saknussemm.   There was no doubt of its authenticity or prior ownership according to Professor Von Hardwigg; whereby he established that it most probably also had once traveled, along with Arne, to the very center of the earth!

    TrueScans is now very proud to announce the existence of another very rare book. Such Swedish book represents the first novel ever to have been authored by the great master.  Just as Von Hardwigg had no doubt that the mysterious parchment belonged to Arne Saknussemm, TrueScans has no doubt that Jules Verne, himself was fully aware of the existence of the 1863 Swedish version of En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika.

    And just how does TrueScans know this?

    Because Jules Verne actually signed that very book!

    The signature has seriously eroded over eons of years. But nevertheless what remains can be sufficiently deciphered. It retains the exact Verne signature swirls to it; yet dominates the title page of En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika with slightly new curves reminiscent of a younger Jules Verne.   One might question just how such signature compares to what might yet exist of his earlier ones.

    Verne obviously had no inhibition about signing the anonymous Swedish book -- a probable indication that he was in accord with the book's precarious format.

    FIRST ORIGINAL PRINTING BOOK CREDITS

    Once Verne completed his manuscript, it needed to be translated from French into Swedish in order to permit publication in that country.  Such translation most probably placed into existence a second complete manuscript.

    Conversely, in order to publish in France, Verne first had to establish his relationship with Hetzel, then arrange a business deal, and lastly have the publisher schedule the entire project.

    In order to have signed En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika, both Verne and the book must have been at a particular place at the same given time.  So, did Verne travel to the book, or was the book sent to Verne?

    It's highly doubtful that the book was sent to Verne because it has remained in Sweden all of these years.   The prospect of sending a valuable, possibly singular book back to Verne, merely for signature, seems dim because of the risk involved.  After all, the book easily could have been become lost or stolen while in transit, or simply abducted after its arrival in France.

    The growing likelihood is that Verne signed this book in Sweden.   If so, he either signed it in 1862 -- possibly even on his return home from Christiania; or he signed it during some later visit.  Had his manuscript been completed during the 1862 Swedish trip, it would have been very easy to have signed the work right there.  This would have been the most opportunistic time for Verne to have signed it -- Before he returned to France!

    Obviously, had he signed it before returning home to France, then the book most probably was published ahead of the French Cinq Semaines En Ballon first edition.

  • From the [BOOK PRECEDENCE] section, it is noted that a consensus publication date of 31 January 1863 was accorded to the very first original French printing of Cinq Semaines En Ballon [circa 1863].  Such date also was corroborated by a statement which indicated that such book was offered to Hetzel in late 1862 and published [in] the Christmas bonus [edition] for 1863.

  • From the [V001 BIBLIOGRAPHY] section, it is noted that En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika was DATED 1863.

  • From the [STORY LINE SIMILARITY] section, it was verified that the Swedish and French books are very much alike.

  • There presently exists no baseline for accurately establishing an exact publication date for En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika.   Because of the book's dating, it obviously was published no later than 1863. However, it may have been released ahead of schedule, possibly in 1862.

  • In any event En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika unequivocally stands as Verne's very first DATED and signed novel!


  • FOLLOW-ON RESEARCH

    Much more can be done to possibly better pin down the actual precedence regarding Jules Verne's very first book.

  • Pertaining to bibliography:   References [14] and [15] give in-depth details concerning the publications of early Verne French books.

  • Pertaining to biography:   If possible, more information is needed regarding Verne's itineraries to Sweden.   Also, obtaining details of whether Verne was (or wasn't) there might prove helpful; passport records might shed further light on when he visited.

    REFERENCES
    1 The Jules Verne Encyclopedia, Brian Taves and Stephen Michaluk, Jr., Scarecrow Press; 1996.
    2 EuroCanals Guides.
    3 JulesVerne.dk.
    4 Titles in 51 Languages.
    5 Wikipedia's Bibliothèque Nationale De France.
    6 The Complete Jules Verne Bibliography.
    7 A collection of pages compiled by Zvi Har'El.
    8 Firsts, the Book Collectors Magazine, Volume 6, Number 7/8; Robin H. Smiley, Century City; July/August, 1996.
    9 TrueScans; July 20, 2011.
    10 Le Centre International Jules Verne.
    11 Books of Jules Verne.
    12 Extensive list of Jules Verne collectibles by Alain Braut.
    13 JulesVerne.ca.
    14 Bibl. des Edition Illustrées des Voyages extraordinaires de la Collection Hetzel, Chez l'auteur Contes par:   André Bottin; 1978.
    15 Jules Verne Hetzel et les cartonnages illustrés, ISBN 2-85917-414-1; Les Éditions de l'Amateur Ginoux; Jauzac, Weissenberg, 2005.

    TRUESCANS

    The TrueScans presented below depict Jules Verne's very first dated and signed book!

    En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika also may qualify as one of Verne's very rarest, even when considering George Munro's first printing of The Waif of the Cynthia (1886). Hopefully, Verne's clammoring public will view this virtually unknown work and let the real news story break like wildfire!

    TrueScans intends to let its viewers decide whether or not En Luftballongsresa Genom Afrika served as the basis for Journey to the Centre of the Earth written just one year later!

    And so Séjour soif mes compatriotes, and never forget, "While there is life there is hope".















































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