The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz: The First English Translation of Verne's Original Manuscript

Overview

Widely rumored to exist, then circulated in a corrupt form, Jules Verne’s final and arguably most daring and hauntingly beautiful novel—his own “invisible man”—appears here for the first time in a faithful translation. Readers of English can rediscover the pleasures of Verne’s storytelling in its original splendor and enjoy a virtually unknown gem of action, adventure, and style from a master of French literature.

Wilhelm Storitz, the son of a famous Prussian scientist (and ...

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Overview

Widely rumored to exist, then circulated in a corrupt form, Jules Verne’s final and arguably most daring and hauntingly beautiful novel—his own “invisible man”—appears here for the first time in a faithful translation. Readers of English can rediscover the pleasures of Verne’s storytelling in its original splendor and enjoy a virtually unknown gem of action, adventure, and style from a master of French literature.

Wilhelm Storitz, the son of a famous Prussian scientist (and possessor of his father’s secrets—even, perhaps, a formula that confers invisibility), vows revenge on the family that has denied him the love of his life, Myra Roderich. Wilhelm’s actions on the eve of Myra’s wedding unfold in a surprising and sinister way, leading to an ending that will astonish the reader. 
 
Like many works left unpublished when Jules Verne died, The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz was prepared and edited by his son, Michel. After a century of obscurity, this unique work in Verne’s oeuvre is finally in the hands of readers, in a fine, authentic translation.

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Editorial Reviews

Brian Taves
The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz is one of Jules Verne’s most surprising stories and is largely unknown in the English-speaking world. The novel investigates one of the most compelling themes in science fiction, invisibility. This translation is faithful, literal, and expert, a model of the translator’s art.”—Brian Taves, editor of The Jules Verne Encyclopedia and Jules Verne’s Adventures of the Rat Family
Frederick Paul Walter
The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz is a startling novelty in Verne’s output: not sci-fi but a spooky urban fantasy—a sinister, devious fable with an unprecedented ending that grows more and more astonishing the longer you think about it. Though the novel’s early pages are deceptively relaxed, it soon accelerates into an intense, high-speed thriller.”—Frederick Paul Walter, Verne translator and former vice president of the North American Jules Verne Society
Chronicle Review

http://nebraskapress.typepad.com/university_of_nebraska_pr/2011/03/off-the-shelf-the-secret-of-wilhelm-storitz-by-jules-verne.html
Los Angeles Times - Susan Salter Reynolds
"Verne is a master of the eerie; the craggy landscape, the streets of Budapest and Ragzi, the cowering townsfolk are vivid displays of the skills of a writer in his later years, when landscape is imbued with more meaning than passion. . . . The experience of reading The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz is more like watching the original Dracula than any book you've ever read."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
UNP blog - Erica Corwin

http://nebraskapress.typepad.com/university_of_nebraska_pr/2011/03/off-the-shelf-the-secret-of-wilhelm-storitz-by-jules-verne.html
Los Angeles Times

"Verne is a master of the eerie; the craggy landscape, the streets of Budapest and Ragzi, the cowering townsfolk are vivid displays of the skills of a writer in his later years, when landscape is imbued with more meaning than passion. . . . The experience of reading The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz is more like watching the original Dracula than any book you’ve ever read."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

— Susan Salter Reynolds

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803234840
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Series: Bison Frontiers of Imagination Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,464,724
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jules Verne

Jules Verne (1828–1905) is the author of many classics of science fiction and adventure, including The Meteor Hunt, Lighthouse at the End of the World, and The Golden Volcano, all available in Bison Books editions. Peter Schulman is a professor of French literature at Old Dominion University. He is a trustee of the North American Jules Verne Society and editor of Verne’s The Begum’s Millions

Biography

The creator of the roman scientifique, the popular literary genre known today as science fiction, Jules Gabriel Verne was born in the port town of Nantes, France, in 1828. His father, Pierre, was a prominent lawyer, and his mother, Sophie, was from a successful ship-building family. Despite his father's wish that he pursue law, young Jules was fascinated by the sea and all things foreign and adventurous. Legend holds that at age eleven he ran away from school to work aboard a ship bound for the West Indies but was caught by his father shortly after leaving port. Jules developed an abiding love of science and language from a young age. He studied geology, Latin, and Greek in secondary school, and frequently visited factories, where he observed the workings of industrial machines. These visits likely inspired his desire for scientific plausibility in his writing and perhaps informed his depictions of the submarine Nautilus and the other seemingly fantastical inventions he described.

After completing secondary school, Jules studied law in Paris, as his father had before him. However, during the two years he spent earning his degree, he developed more consuming interests. Through family connections, he entered Parisian literary circles and met many of the distinguished writers of the day. Inspired in particular by novelists Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Verne began writing his own works. His poetry, plays, and short fiction achieved moderate success, and in 1852 he became secretary of the Théâtre lyrique. In 1857 he married Honorine Morel, a young widow with two children. Seeking greater financial security, he took a position as a stockbroker with the Paris firm Eggly and Company. However, he reserved his mornings for writing. Baudelaire's recently published French translation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the days Verne spent researching points of science in the library, inspired him to write a new sort of novel: the roman scientifique. His first such novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was an immediate success and earned him a publishing contract with the important editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel.

For the rest of his life, Verne published an average of two novels a year; the fifty-four volumes published during his lifetime, collectively known as Voyages Extraordinaires, include his best-known works, Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Begun in 1865 and published to huge success in 1869, Twenty Thousand Leagues has been translated into 147 languages and adapted into dozens of films. The novel also holds the distinction of describing a submarine twenty-five years before one was actually constructed. As a tribute to Verne, the first electric and nuclear submarines were named Nautilus. In 1872 Verne settled in Amiens with his family. During the next several years he traveled extensively on his yachts, visiting such locales as North Africa, Gibraltar, Scotland, and Ireland. In 1886 Verne's mentally ill nephew shot him in the leg, and the author was lame thereafter. This incident, as well as the tumultuous political climate in Europe, marked a change in Verne's perspective on science, exploration, and industry. Although not as popular as his early novels, Verne's later works are in many ways as prescient. Touching on such subjects as the ill effects of the oil industry, the negative influence of missionaries in the South Seas, and the extinction of animal species, they speak to concerns that remain urgent in our own time.

Verne continued writing actively throughout his life, despite failing health, the loss of family members, and financial troubles. At his death in 1905 his desk drawers contained the manuscripts of several new novels. Jules Verne is buried in the Madeleine Cemetery in Amiens.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Good To Know

In 1848, Verne got his start writing librettos for operettas.

When Verne's father found out that his son would rather write than study law, he cut him off financially, and Jules was forced to support himself as a stockbroker -- a job he hated but was fairly good at. During this period, he sought advice and inspiration from authors Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo.

Verne stands as the most translated novelist in the world -- 148 languages, according to UNESCO statistics.

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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

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2011

    what a beautiful read

    I stumbled upon this text completely by accident, but what an amazing, original text!! I couldn't put it down...it transports you to another time, and is quite surreal, but beautiful and artistic. A ghost story with a twist, and one of the most fascinating Jules Verne novels I've read (I loved 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea but this is really different and deep..)

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