Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Flash from the Past: "I must be slightly off my head. I get caught up..."

"I must be slightly off my head. I get caught up in all the extraordinary adventures of my heroes. I regret only one thing, not being able to accompany them pedibus cum jambis (on foot)."

Although our flash from the past wrote the above quote while he was a 20-something young author of adventure books, while he was just 11 years old, he ran away from home to work on a merchant ship as a cabin boy. Alerted to the scheme by a neighbor, his father had him removed from the ship before he had sailed far, and the flash-from-the-past was "given a good talking to, thrashed, and reduced to bread and water..." He would later vow, "Henceforth I will travel only in dream."

Who was he? None other than Jules Verne.

Biographers have said that Jules was running away more from boarding school than his family, and today we recognize that schools don't easily satisfy young people with strong imaginations.

With the return of Journey to the Center of the Earth to the movie screen, more children may have the enjoyment of discovering Jules Verne's wonderful adventure stories this summer, many free online at Project Gutenberg. Verne is sometimes referred to as the Father of Science Fiction because of the staggering number of new ideas and inventions described in his stories (for more info, check out Science Fiction Inventions and Ideas).

Of course, Verne wasn't right about everything. If you have a young skeptic in your house, perhaps he or she will enjoy this Popular Science article on the The Real Center of the Earth.

Jules Verne picture
Chapter from Verne Biography
Jules Verne Biography

No comments:

Post a Comment