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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: 18 September 2021

The Prophet of the Mask

The Prophet of the Mask

(p.199) 9 The Prophet of the Mask
The Mask of the Prophet

Andrew Martin

Oxford University Press

This chapter claims that the Masked Prophet narrative can explain everything that Verne wrote, and can explain everything that Verne did not write. It is clear that the perpetual conflict between empire and revolt is the motor of Vernian narrative. It seems to inspire those contradictory elements in Verne's biography. Verne's narrative exposes the historical contradictions, the ambitions and absurdities of nineteenth-century bourgeois liberalism. This chapter argues that the idea of Verne as a prophet is derisory unless we revert to the Greek concept of prophecy: the prophet as an ‘interpreter' of another's words, prophecy as second-order discourse. The Masked Prophet begins by instigating a fragmentation of the Empire, but the theory he eventually espouses entails a thoroughly imperial elimination of differences, the acquisition of perfect knowledge.

Keywords:   Masked Prophet, bourgeois liberalism, Empire

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