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The Mask of the ProphetThe Extraordinary Fictions of Jules Verne$
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Andrew Martin

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198157984

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157984.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 September 2021

The Masked Writer

The Masked Writer

(p.1) I The Masked Writer
The Mask of the Prophet

Andrew Martin

Oxford University Press

Jules Verne's fiction reads like a résumé of the nineteenth-century archive. This chapter proposes to read Verne's work as if it had been written by Napoleon Bonaparte and Jorge Luis Borges. Cryptogram is an essential approach in studying Verne's texts. He has had the mantle of prophet thrust upon him, but that mantle is largely a mask. His books, while having the air of prophetic statements, anticipating journeys to the moon, beneath the sea or around the world, actually add little or nothing to the technology of the time or to prior speculation. He was the most modest and diffident of extrapolators. He was not impatient for the future, contrary to popular belief. If Verne himself cannot decently be attributed any major prophetic status, rebellious prophets nevertheless abound in his novels.

Keywords:   Jules Verne, Napoleon Bonaparte, Jorge Luis Borges, cryptogram

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