Paris in the Twentieth Century

Paris in the Twentieth Century


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In 1863 Jules Verne, famed author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth, wrote a novel that his literary agent deemed too far fetched to be published. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson found the handwritten, never-before published manuscript in a safe. That manuscript was Paris in the Twentieth Century, and astonishingly prophetic view into the future by one of the most renowned science fiction writers of our time. . . .

Praise for Paris in the Twentieth Century

“Jules Verne was the Michael Crichton of the 19th century.”The New York Times

“For anyone interested in the history of speculative fiction . . . this book is an absolute necessity.”—Ray Bradbury

“Verne's Paris is a bustling, overcrowded metropolis teeming with starving homeless and ‘vehicles that passed on paved roads and moved without horses.’ Years before they would be invented, Verne has imagined elevators and faxmachines. It was a vision Verne's editor flatly rejected. Contemporary readers know better.”People

“An excellent extrapolation, founded on 19th-century technical novelties, of a future culture.”The Washington Post Book World

“Verne published nearly seventy books, many of them now considered classics. But this little jewel catches him just reaching stride as a writer of science fiction, a genre that he, of course, helped put on the literary map.”The Denver Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345420398
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/21/1997
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jules Verne was born in France in 1828 and died in 1905. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel was wildly successful, producing many brilliant novels in the burgeoning genre of science fiction: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in 80 Days, among others. Verne is the second most translated author in the world, after Agatha Christie and before Shakespeare.

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1828

Date of Death:

March 24, 1905

Place of Birth:

Nantes, France

Place of Death:

Amiens, France


Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

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Paris in the Twentieth Century 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Livingstone More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of my top 5 books of all time. I have always enjoyed Verne after my 5th grade teacher had us read Around the World in 80 Days. I remember the discovery of this manuscript in the 1990s and the publication in English in 1996. I bought the book then, but failed to read it for many years. I guess I didn't have much faith that it would be good--just somewhat interesting that it took so long to be published. I found the book among things left at my parent's house before they sold it (15 years later) and finally got around to reading it. Many people make quite a to-do about how this book prophesies everything from the common use of everything from automobiles and electric trains to fax machine--but that Verne's publisher said it was too unbelievable. But I think that the true genius is that Verne laments the future disregard of the humanities. We see today, as in the book, the almost total abandonment of art and literature in the name of almighty technology and business. My favorite part is when the main character goes into a huge bookstore and asks for the complete works of VIctor Hugo. The clerk asks: "what's he written?". The clerk is so perplexed, he asks another employee for help, and this one stands there contemplating: "You sure of the name?...Rhugo, Rhugo." It reminds me so keenly of a real life situation when I went to a college bookstore looking for something to read. I asked an employee where the general reading section was, and she had no idea what I was talking about. This is the Paris in the Twentieth Century that I love--the warning of a futuristic dystopia that is here now--a world even where old masterpieces are re-written and dumbed down for modern theater-goers. Hollywood anyone?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite the many arguments naming Jules Verne¿s novel as a complete disappointment for lack of character development and a monotonous storyline, the tale is as dystopic as Sci-Fi can get. The story revolves around Michel, a young man who struggles in a mechanical world built strictly upon the sciences in 1960¿s Paris. He struggles with his love of the arts and inability to assimilate with the robotic society.Interestingly is how Verne chose not any rural town, but a recognizable urban city designed for change and the acceptance of technology. Furthermore, the fact that Verne predicted a variety of technological inventions from the electric chair to the metro system, trains that function on air pressure to fax machines should astound the reader to realize that these items were completely unheard of in Verne¿s time! Verne¿s publisher¿s decision to keep the story away from publication was an absolute mistake, the fact that Verne¿s prophecies were on track with future innovations leads me to believe that these technologies could have been foreseen years ago.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book ever, it is gloriously depressing. It has the worst ending in the history of books, I can see why no one published this for Jules Verne. The only good thing about this book it the way Jules Depicted the gadgets of the 20th century. Do Not Read this book, unless you wnat to be horribly depressed. Cheers.
Devil_llama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's fun to go back and review what people thought the future would be before it happened. There are, in fact, a number of things he gets at least partway right, but fortunately much of what he foresees did not occur. Verne weaves a compelling tale.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a highly significant novel because of its discovery nearly a century after the author's death by his great-grandson. It makes very accurate technological predictions based by extrapolation on developments up to the 1860s. However, in other fields, the predictions are very much less accurate, for example in this reality most of the major states (France, England, Russia and Italy are mentioned, but not Prussia/Germany) have disarmed due to "perfection of engines of warfare" and have done away with the armed forces and the whole military state, implying that there has been world peace throughout the 20th century. Interestingly, the only weapons mentioned are swords and sabres, whereas in reality this was written only a few years before the mass shootings and shellings of the Franco-Prussian war and the siege of Paris. Another difference is that British landowners have been buying up large tracts of land in France to the extent that the French fear for the very ownership of their own country. The society depicted here, while based on accurately predicted technology, goes to the extreme of having science and technology completely vanquish literature and the arts in a way that mercifully has not happened in reality, such that, for example, Victor Hugo is totally unheard of in the Paris of 1960. These interesting facets aside, there is little room left for actual plot in a novel of 200 pages printed in a large and well-spaced font (with a few line drawings), and the actual story is mediocre, the characters flat and one-dimensional, though the ending is sad and poignant. Overall, this book is really for Verne completists, or those with an interest in predictive fiction, or lost novel curiosities. Those new to Verne should definitely first read one of his famous classics.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written in 1863 but first published only in 1994, about a young man who lives in a technologically advanced, but culturally backwards future. Often referred to as Verne's "lost" novel, the work, set in August, 1960, paints a grim, dystopian view of the future.Paris in the Twentieth Century's main character is 16-year-old Michel Dufrénoy, who graduates with a major in literature and the classics, but finds they have been forgotten in a futuristic world where only technological writing is valued. Verne narrates this tale in an unusually (for him) concise format. The story includes his trademark predictions of future inventions that came to be. I have yet to read a Verne novel that I did not enjoy and find entertaining. For science fiction Verne is an original.
orangemonkey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Written by Jules Verne in the mid-19th century, this novel was his idea of what the 'future' would look like. I always find books like this fascinating: they always end up having some things fairly right, and some things that are way off, and the future in question generally tells us more about the culture that created it rather than the actual future. In that sense, it's an amazing book, although Verne definitely improved as an author between this book and his later works.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the other Verne books and loved them. I hated this one and can see why Verne never published it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is really excellent i really enjoyed reading it. because one day the world will be like that. our end is the same. the machines are going to take over there will be no need for humans, or poets or anything involving art.