The Begum's Millions

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Overview

When two European scientists unexpectedly inherit an Indian rajah's fortune, each builds an experimental city of his dreams in the wilds of the American Northwest. France-Ville is a harmonious urban community devoted to health and hygiene, the specialty of its French founder, Dr. Francois Sarrasin. Stahlstadt, or City of Steel, is a fortress-like factory town devoted to the manufacture of high-tech weapons of war. Its German creator, the fanatically pro-Aryan Herr Schultze, is Verne's first truly evil scientist. ...
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The Begum's Millions

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Overview

When two European scientists unexpectedly inherit an Indian rajah's fortune, each builds an experimental city of his dreams in the wilds of the American Northwest. France-Ville is a harmonious urban community devoted to health and hygiene, the specialty of its French founder, Dr. Francois Sarrasin. Stahlstadt, or City of Steel, is a fortress-like factory town devoted to the manufacture of high-tech weapons of war. Its German creator, the fanatically pro-Aryan Herr Schultze, is Verne's first truly evil scientist. In his quest for world domination and racial supremacy, Schultze decides to showcase his deadly wares by destroying France-Ville and all its inhabitants. Both prescient and cautionary, The Begum's Millions is a masterpiece of scientific and political speculation and constitutes one of the earliest technological utopia/dystopias in Western literature. This Wesleyan edition features notes, appendices, and a critical introduction as well as all the illustrations from the original French edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Michael Dirda
To read Jules Verne is one of the great treats of childhood. To read Jules Verne later in life is to discover a writer just as satisfying but even richer, one who is not only a natural storyteller but also a mythmaker, a social critic and an innovative artist. In France, Verne is now studied as a major literary figure, and thanks to fresh translations -- from Penguin and university presses at Indiana and Nebraska, as well as Wesleyan -- more and more of his work is available to American readers in reliable texts. Give The Begum's Millions or one of the other novels a try this winter. There's a lot more to Jules Verne than what you find in those old, albeit quite wonderful, Disney movies.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
A French and a German scientist each inherits equal portions of a rajah's vast fortune. One uses his spoils for good, the other evil. A little heavy-handed, perhaps, but Verne tells a good story. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“To read Jules Verne is one of the great treats of childhood. To read Jules Verne later in life is to discover a writer just as satisfying but even richer, one who is not only a natural storyteller but also a mythmaker, a social critic and an innovative artist. ...Give The Begum's Millions or one of (his) other novels a try.... There's a lot more to Jules Verne than what you find in those old, albeit quite wonderful, Disney movies.” —Washington Post Book World
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819567963
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2005
  • Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,123,494
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jules Verne

JULES VERNE (1828-1905) was the first author to popularize the literary genre that has come to be known at science fiction. ARTHUR B. EVANS is Professor of French at DePauw University and series editor for Wesleyan's Early Classics of Science Fiction series. STANFORD L. LUCE is Professor Emeritus of French at Miami University in Ohio. PETER SCHULMAN is Associate Professor of French and International Studies at Old Dominion University.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nantes, France
    1. Date of Death:
      March 24, 1905
    2. Place of Death:
      Amiens, France
    1. Education:
      Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

Table of Contents

A Note on the Translation
Introduction
The Begum's Millions by Jules Verne
Mr. Sharp Makes his Entrance
Two Friends
A News Item
Divided by Two
The City of Steel
The Albrecht Mine
The Central Block
The Dragon's Lair
Absent without Leave
An Article from Unsere Centurie, a German Journal
Dinner at Dr. Sarrasin's
The Council
Letter from Marcel Bruckmann to Professor Schultze, Stahlstadt,
Preparing for Combat
The San Francisco Stock Exchange
Two Frenchman against a City
Explanations at Gunpoint
The Kernel of Mystery
A Family Affair
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Jules Gabriel Verne: A Biography
About the Contributors

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted January 22, 2009

    sprightly translation of the Jules Verne utopian novel with scholarly matter

    This 1879 moralistic Verne novel contrasts the ideal French city France-Ville with the malevolent German City of Steel. The founders of the respective cities were able to build them with their receipt of millions of dollars from an Indian rajah. The dark view of the German character Herr Schultze and his militarisic, imperialistic City of Steel is attributed to the French view of Germany after France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. But 'The Begum's Millions' is not simply a nationalistic, chauvinistic French work of the time, but also a novelistic treatment in the genre of 'Brave New World' and '1984' of central political and cultural subjects and controversies of the modern era. Industrialization, urban life, the benefits of improved health brought by science, political leadership, and the scourge of more destructive weapons are starkly portrayed. The French city manages to overcome the dire threat from the German city, absorbing the positive aspects of the latter into it for one combined community which is a 'model city and factory.' Nonetheless one can now see Verne's novel as a prophecy of the history of 20th-century Europe with the German city the victor. This edition part of Wesleyan's ongoing Early Classics of Science Fiction series is more than a economic, smart translation. With bibliographic matter of 20 pages on Verne's publications and another 11 pages on secondary sources, it is a notable resource on this pioneering author in the field of science fiction and fantasy.

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