On this page I collect references to Jules Verne that can be found in other literary works. If you know of a reference that is not on this page and would be worth being mentioned here, you can mail me. Everything is welcome!

La vuelta al día en ochenta mundos (Julio Cortázar)

The South-American writer Julio Cortázar wrote a book called La vuelta al día en ochenta mundos (Around the Day in 80 Worlds). Although the title may suggest so, this book has not much to do with Jules Verne. Cortázar refers to Jules Verne or his works in a couple of places. He writes, for exemple, about Le tour du monde en 80 Jours, which has inspired him to choose the title of this book; about Voyage au Centre de la Terre and its deeper meaning; and about Le Secret de Wilhelm Storitz, and the fact that he really believed this story. Also, in the book are many of the original illustrations from the Voyages extraordinaires.

Here is a fragment:

I remember: when I was eleven years old, I lent The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz to a friend, a book in which Jules Verne suggested, as always, a contact with a reality that didn’t differ at all from the ordinary reality. My friend returned the book: “I didn’t finish it, it is too fantastic.” Never will I give up my astonishment of that moment. Fantastic, the invisibility of a man? Could we find each other only in football, coffee and milk, and the first sexual confidences?

And somewhere else:

I have already mentioned my astonishment when a classmate found the story of Wilhelm Storitz fantastic, a story I had read with a total suspension of disbelief. I realize now that I had accomplished an inverted and rather difficult operation: to place the fantastic within the real, to realize it. The prestige of all books simplified this task: how could one doubt Jules Verne? Following the example of Naser-e-Khosrow, an eleventh-century Persian, I felt that a book “has only one spine, but a hundred faces,” and that I had to transfer those faces from their coffer into my personal circumstances, my little room under the roof, my fearful dreams, my treetop reveries at seasta time. I think that in my youth I never saw or felt the fantastic directly: words, sentences, stories, libraries distilled it into external life through an act of will, of choice. I was scandalized that my friend rejected the case of Wilhelm Storitz: someone had written about an invisible man, wasn’t that irrefutable proof of the plausibility of his existence ?

Il pendolo di Foucault (Umberto Eco)

In the novel Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault’s pendulum), by Umberto Eco, three friends discover (or invent?) an ancient Plan, set up by the Order of the Templars. It is all about the power of the telluric streams, that has to be passed on from generation to generation. The three friends combine all historical data they can find, and they see analogies everywhere. Everything and everybody “has to do with it”, including Jules Verne. Here is a fragment, from chapter 84:

“It is true,” said Belbo, “the 19th century is obsessed by everything underground, Jean Valjean, Fantomas and Javert, Rocambole, everybody is running to and fro in caves and sewers. O god, now that I think of it, the entire oeuvre of Verne is one initiation about the mysteries of the underground! To the Centre of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Mysterious Island, the immense underground land of the Black Indies! We will have to make a map of his extraordinary voyages, doubtlessly we will get a picture of the windings of the Snake, a map that indicates all leys of all continents. Verne explores the network of the telluric streams from top to bottom.”

I added: “What is the name of the main character in the Black Indies? Joam Garral, almost an anagram of Graal.”

“We are no fantasts, we are down to earth. Verne gives signals that are much more explicit. Robur-le-Conquérant, R.C., Rose-Croix, Rosicrucian. And Robur reversed is Rubor, the red of the rose.”

The Rosicrucians play an important role in the plot as well. I don’t know why Eco made the mistake to call Garral the main character of the Black Indies. Verne is mentioned in two or three other places, but very briefly.

La misteriosa fiamma della Regina Loana (Umberto Eco)

An old man who has suffered a stroke goes back to the house of his youth, in order to regain his memory. Among the books he finds back are a couple of Jules Verne novels.

La vie mode d’emploi (Georges Perec)

(Section contributed by Gilles Carpentier)

There is a french book by Georges Perec, with many references to Verne. It is: La vie mode d’emploi. Perec is one of my favorite authors. Perec writes often about Verne in his books. The things he writes have nothing in common with the Voyages extraordinaires … Whereas Verne wrote on the “extraordinaire”, Perec wrote on the “infra-ordinaire”. But, like Pascal, I think sometimes that “les extrêmes se rejoignent à force de s’éloigner”.

La vie mode d’emploi begins with a Verne citation (that I love): “Regarde de tous tes yeux, regarde !” (M. Strogoff). And in fact, there are many things to look at in this book … You can find elements of:

For example, chapter VIII, Winckler, 1 (Sorry, the citation is in French, but I can’t translate Perec!):

Il y avait une table ronde avec avec des rallonges qu’il n’avait pas dû utiliser bien souvent, six chaises paillées et un bahut qu’il avait sculpté lui-même et dont les motifs illustraient les scènes capitales de L’Ile Mystérieuse : la chute du ballon évadé de Richmond, la miraculeuse retrouvaille de Cyrus Smith, l’ultime allumette récuperée dans une poche du gilet de Gedeon Spilett, la découverte de la malle, et jusqu’aux confessions déchirantes d’Ayrton et de Nemo qui concluent ces aventures en les reliant magnifiquement aux Enfants du Capitaine Grant et à Vingt milles lieues sous les mers.

La disparition (Georges Perec)

(Section contributed by Gilles Carpentier)

In 1969, Perec wrote an extraordinary novel, a vertiginous novel, a delightful and at the same time desperate novel: La disparition. In the post-scriptum, Perec explains why he wrote this novel and takes the opportunity to cite some novels that he admires.

Take a deep breath before reading, it’s a long sentence:

Il comprit alors qu’à l’instar d’un Frank Lloyd Wright construisant sa maison, il façonnait, mutatis mutandis, un produit prototypal qui, s’affranchissant du paragon trop admis qui commandait l’articulation, l’organisation, l’imagination du nouveau roman français d’aujourd’hui, abandonnant à tout jamais la psychologisation qui s’alliant à la moralisation constituait pour la plupart l’arc-boutant du bon goût national, ouvrait sur un pouvoir mal connu, un pouvoir dont on avait fait fi, mais qui, pour lui, mimait, simulait, honorait la tradition qui avait fait un Gargantua, un Tristram Shandy, un Mathias Sandorf, un Locus Solus, ou – pourquoi pas ? – un Bifur ou un Fourbis, bouquins pour qui il avait toujours rugit son admiration, sans pouvoir nourrir l’illusion d’aboutir un jour a un produit s’y approchant par la jubilation, par l’humour biscornu, par l’incisif plaisirs du bon mot, par l’attrai du narquois, du paradoxal, du stravagant, par l’affabulation allant toujours trop loin.

Espèces d’espaces (Georges Perec)

(Section contributed by Gilles Carpentier)

The object of this book is not exactly the void, but rather what is around it, or inside it.

C’est couché à plat ventre sur mon lit que j’ai lu Vingt ans après, L’Ile mystérieuse et Jerry dans L’Ile. Le lit devenait cabane de trappeurs, ou canot de sauvetage sur l’Océan en furie, ou baobab menacé par l’incendie, tente dressée dans le désert, anfractuosité propice à quelques centimêtres de laquelle passaient des ennemis bredouilles. J’ai beaucoup voyagé au fond de mon lit. J’emportai pour survivre des sucres que j’allai voler dans la cuisine et que je cachai sous mon traversin (ça grattait…). La peur, la terreur même, était toujours présente malgré la protection des couvertures et de l’oreiller.

Le lit : lieu de la menace informulée, lieu des contraintes, espace du corps solitaire encombré de ses harems éphémères, espace forclos du désir, lieu improbable de l’enracinement, espace du rêve et de la nostalgie oedipienne :

Heureux qui peut dormir sans peur et sans remords
Dans le lit paternel massif et venerable
Ou tous les siens sont nes aussi bien qu’il sont morts

Jose-Maria de Heredia (Trophees)

Sodome et Gomorrhe (deuxième partie) (Marcel Proust)

A brief reference:

Pendant ces courts instants, il avait l’air attentif et fiévreux d’un enfant qui lit un roman de Jules Verne, ou d’un dîneur assis…

(Section contributed by Gerard Paresys)

Comment j’ai écrit certains de mes livres (Raymond Roussel)

(Section contributed by Gilles Carpentier)

Raymond Roussel (1867–1939) was an astonishing French author, controversial and sometimes hermetic, who wrote, in particular, Locus Solus.

He was a great admirer of Jules Verne:

Je voudrais aussi, dans ces notes, rendre hommage a l’homme d’incomparable génie que fut Jules Verne.

Mon admiration pour lui est infinie.

Dans certaines pages du Voyage au centre de la Terre, de Cinq semaines en ballon, de Vingt milles lieues sous les mers, de De la Terre a la Lune et de Autour de la Lune, de L’Ile mystérieuse, de Hector Servadac, il s’est évelé aux plus hautes cimes que puisse atteindre le verbe humain.

J’eus le bonheur d’être reçu une fois par lui à Amiens ou je faisais mon service militaire et de pouvoir serrer la main qui avait écrit tant d’oeuvres immortelles.

O Maître incomparable, soyez béni pour les heures sublimes que j’ai passées toute ma vie à vous lire et vous relire sans cesse.