The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 12

The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 12

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The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 12

The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 12

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The Cryptogram," published in 1881, is the second book dealing with "The Giant Raft." The first part, "Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon," had been, as its name suggests, mainly a geographical tale. Readers were this time conducted through the tropical forests and across the boundless prairies of Peru and Brazil.

In "The Cryptogram," however, the geographical interest is almost entirely subordinate to the story. The solving of the cryptogram becomes the central feature, in working out which our author shows a skill scarce inferior to that of Poe himself. Here, for the first time in the body of his works, Verne takes express care to state his fondness for and indebtedness to the work of Poe, whom he denominates "that great analytical genius." He points to Poe's "Gold Bug" as the source of his own tale, calling the earlier story a masterpiece "never to be forgotten." The handling and appreciation of cipher writings in "The Cryptogram" is as different from the superficial explanation of the cipher in Verne's earlier "Center of the Earth," as is the appreciation of a master from that of the most idle amateur.

In addition to his admiration of Poe, Verne in another book expresses equal admiration and indebtedness toward Dickens. He was also an enthusiastic devotee of Victor Hugo and of J. Fennimore Cooper. Surely a sufficiently cosmopolitan grouping of names! Yet it is worth noting that the four men whom Verne turned to, whom he thus perhaps unconsciously grouped together, are the four most extreme of romantic writers who hold yet a grasp on realism. It is to this group that Verne himself belongs.

"The Steam House" is again a two book story belonging among the "Voyages Extrdordinaires." In this case the . . .

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