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Paris in the twentieth century
Verne, Jules
Adult Fiction VERNE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In 1863, Jules Verne was a young writer with one published novel under his belt and a new multibook contract with a prominent French publisher in hand. The publisher, however, rejected Verne's second manuscript, opting to bring out his Journey to the Center of the Earth instead. That manuscript apparently disappeared into a drawer, not to see the light of day again until it was rediscovered and published in 1994. Now it has been rendered into English by the eminent poet and translator Richard Howard. Verne's early books tend to feature adventure plots and a positive attitude towards technology. This novel, however, shows Verne in a darker, frankly dystopian mood. His mid-20th century Paris is an enormously wealthy society, a place of technological wonders, but, like Huxley's Brave New World, it is also a society without meaningful art. Engineering and banking are the prime industries of this civilization and, as the book's protagonist discovers, not even the most talented poet can find a place for himself unless he's willing to produce odes to blast furnaces or locomotives. While the narrative contains many startling predictions‘among them fax machines, electronic calculators, automobiles and elaborate subway systems‘there is little here in the way of either plot or character development. It's clear, in fact, that in opting for Journey to the Center of the Earth, Verne's publisher chose the better book. Drawings not seen by PW. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Verne is well known as an early science fiction writer; this novel, which was lost for 125 years, is remarkably prescient in its predictions about the technology that is omnipresent now. Set in the 1960s, though written a century earlier, the novel depicts Michel Dufrenoy as a poet and humanities scholar at sea in a crass commercial world that has strong overtones of Soviet realism. He befriends a young musician with whom he works; reconnects with his long-lost uncle, a literature professor; and even falls in love with the professor's granddaughter. But despite the kindnesses of his friends, Michel fails to succeed with the technological culture around him. Notable are the predictions about the subway, electric lights, and electronic music. A curiosity; recommended for public and academic libraries.‘Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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