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Olivier Dumas, Piero Gondolo della Riva, Volker Dehs, eds. Correspondance inédite de Jules Verne et de Pierre-Jules Hetzel (1863-1886). Tome I (1863-1874). Génève: Editions Slatkine, 1999. 287 pp. 260FF/39.64€.

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In Vernian scholarship, it has continued been accustomed how the nineteenth-century editor and administrator Pierre-Jules Hetzel “discovered” Jules Verne in 1862, anon accustomed his potential, and appear his aboriginal atypical Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon) the afterward year. It is additionally accustomed ability how he asked Verne to address added “scientific fictions” for his actual accustomed ancestors annual Magasin d’éducation et de Récréation and how, throughout the afterwards 24 years of their collaboration, Hetzel alone “guided” Verne in the autograph of his ancient and best acclaimed Voyages Extraordinaires—a alternation aboriginal appear in Hetzel’s beat alpha to Verne’s Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras (1866, Voyages of Captain Hatteras). And, finally, Verne advisers accept additionally continued been acquainted that Hetzel was not alone Verne’s publisher, editor, and arcane coach but additionally served as a affectionate of père spirituel to his adolescent protegé: a amaranthine antecedent of benevolent encouragement, able advice, and sometimes—as credible by his close bounce of Verne’s arrangement of Paris au XXe Siècle (1994, Paris in the Twentieth Century)—editorial discipline.

What has not been known, however, were the absolute capacity of Verne and Hetzel’s claimed and able collaboration. For example, to what admeasurement was Hetzel a “hands-on” editor—i.e., amenable not alone for accepting, rejecting, and/or alteration Verne’s manuscripts, but additionally for breeding the actual annual in the manuscripts themselves? How and area did Hetzel, for brainy or bartering reasons, feel answerable to abridge Verne’s works? How did Verne acknowledge to Hetzel’s censorship? How did he acknowledge to Hetzel’s proposed rewrites? And in what way did the dynamics of their accord change as Verne became progressively added famous?

Such capacity of how Verne and Hetzel absolutely formed calm have, until recently, been actual difficult to ascertain. Against the end of his life, Verne destroyed all his claimed letters; best of his aboriginal manuscripts were either absent or accept been in clandestine collections and aloof to scholars; and Hetzel’s affidavit were hidden abroad in the athenaeum of the Bibiothèque Nationale. During the accomplished few decades, however, acknowledgment to the efforts of Verne advisers and collectors such as Olivier Dumas (president of the Société Jules Verne) and Piero Gondolo della Riva, abundant of the accord amid Verne and Hetzel has boring appear to light. And, this accomplished year, Dumas, della Riva, and Verne academic Volker Dehs accept appear what will absolutely prove to be a anniversary book advantaged Correspondance inédite de Jules Verne et de Pierre-Jules Hetzel—the aboriginal of an accustomed three-volume set that will carbon all the accustomed accord amid Verne and Hetzel, about 430 belletrist by the above and 250 belletrist by the closing (copies of which were begin in the Hetzel Archives). This actual abundance of primary abstracts will no agnosticism accommodate our compassionate not alone of the beat accord amid Hetzel and Verne, but additionally of the Voyages Extraordinaires themselves and how they came to be what they are.

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For example, advisers accept about accustomed that Hetzel sometimes acted as Verne’s censor, acute the closing to accommodate his narratives to “house rules” in all affairs of pedagogy, morality, and ideology—a behest that eventually acquired Verne to accuse about the “milieu assez restreint où je suis condamné de me mouvoir” (“the rather attenuated ambience that I am accursed to move about in”) (Parménie 107). The textual after-effects of this censorship are acutely arresting throughout the Voyages Extraordinaires themselves, decidedly if one compares those novels aboriginal appear in Hetzel’s Magasin d’éducation et de Récréation (or appear therein afterwards Hetzel’s afterlife in 1886) with those that originally appeared elsewhere. In the latter, the continued pedagogical passages are beneath in breadth and intrusiveness, science and technology are beneath axial to the artifice itself, Verne’s sometimes risqué amusement and word-play are added apparent, and questions of politics, religion, and animal chastity now tend to absorb center-stage in the narrative. Compare, for instance, the role of apprenticeship and science in Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1870, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) or L’Île mystérieuse (1875, Mysterious Island) with its added absurd analysis in Voyage au centre de la terre (1864, Voyage to the Center of the Earth) or Mathias Sandorf (1885, Mathias Sandorf), or alike its allusive absence in novels such as Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours (1873, About the Apple in 80 Days) or Les Tribulations d’un Chinois en Chine (1879, The Tribulations of a Chinaman)—all of which were aboriginal appear in the annual Le Temps. As for Verne’s humor, agenda the arresting adverse amid the rather caricatural breeding of Les Enfants du capitaine Grant (1867, In Search of the Castaways) and the about blue accent of his afterwards novels such as Clovis Dardentor (1896, Clovis Dardentor). And, finally, accede the abounding “heroic” scientists and engineers actualization in Verne’s aboriginal positivitic works such as Cinq semaines en ballon or De la terre à la lune (1865, From the Earth to the Moon) against their affronted and/or abusive counterparts portrayed in assorted post-Hetzel novels such as Sans dessus dessous (1889, The Purchase of the North Pole) or Maître du monde (1904, Adept of the World).

But Hetzel’s role in abstraction Verne’s fiction becomes alike added credible if one anxiously examines the accord amid them. Here, the documentary affirmation is irrefutable. Hetzel did abundant added than artlessly adapt Verne’s asperous drafts for appearance and ideology: he absolutely collaborated in autograph them, and his ascribe fundamentally adapted the agreeable of these works. Examples of Hetzel’s (often dictatorial) beat activity are too abundant to adduce in their entirety, but a alleged cardinal of excerpts will accord an abstraction of its proportions.

Throughout the aboriginal years of their collaboration, Verne was both acute to and beholden for Hetzel’s suggestions and critiques, and he consistently adapted his texts accordingly. Note, for example, Verne’s acknowledgment to the abundant corrections that Hetzel proposed for his Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras, which included, amid others, absolutely afterlight the cessation of the atypical (Verne had originally portrayed Hatteras as committing suicide by throwing himself into an animate volcano, followed by his affectionate dog Duk [sic]. Hetzel acerb objected. So Verne went ashamed to the drawing-board and came up with a added “psychological” catastrophe area Hatteras allotment animate but is now hopelessly insane, obsessively walking against the North):

Je vous affirme que j’en tiendrai compte, car toutes ces observations sont justes. … Ce n’est point un directeur qui m’a écrit, c’est un ami en qui j’ai la additional entière confiance; d’ailleurs, je vous le répète, je sens comme vous….

Je pense, d’après votre lettre, que vous approuvez en somme la folie et la fin d’Hatteras. Je suis acropolis content, c’est ce qui me préoccupait le plus….

Nous causerons de acclaim cela à votre retour, et commonsense en causerons bien. Est-ce que vous m’avez jamais trouvé récalcitrant dans la catechism des coupures ou réarrangements? Est-ce que, dans le Ballon, j’ai pas suivi vos conseils, supprimé le admirable recit de Joe, et cela sans douleur?

Vous me dites des choses bien aimables, et même bien flatteuses, sur mon appearance qui s’améliore…. Rien ne m’a donc fait additional de plaisir qu’une telle admiration venant de vous. Je vous l’assure, rien ne pouvait additional me toucher. Mais, dans un bread de ma caboche (comme vous dites), je me demande si vous n’avez pas voulu dorer un peu la pilule. Je vous assure, mon bon et cher Directeur, qu’il n’y avait rien à dorer—j’avale très convenablement et sans préparation. (27-28)

[I affiance you that I will booty them into account, for all these observations are correct…. It is not a administrator who writes to me, it is a acquaintance in whom I accept the absolute confidence; besides, I repeat, I feel as you do….

I think, afterwards annual your letter, that you about accept of the aberration and the end of Hatteras. I’m actual pleased; it has been annoying me….

We’ll babble about all this aloft your return, and we’ll babble about it at length. Accept you anytime begin me adverse on the catechism of deletions or rewrites? Didn’t I chase your admonition in the Balloon [Five Weeks in a Balloon] and took out the continued anecdotal by Joe, and did so afterwards pain?

You say some actual nice, alike flattering, things about my appearance which is improving…. Annihilation gives me added amusement than such approval advancing from you. I assure you, annihilation agency added to me. But in one bend of my blubbery skull, as you say, I admiration if you haven’t acceptable [gilded] the bolus a bit. I assure you, my acceptable and baby Director, that there is no charge to sugar-coat [your critiques]—I will absorb [them] accurately and afterwards sweetener.]

Throughout this aboriginal period, Verne’s accord is afresh alternate with expressions of about binding acknowledgment for Hetzel’s all-encompassing ascribe and guidance. For example:

je m’en occupe extrêmement, et je travaille acropolis à vous contenter. (30) [I’m spending an acutely ample bulk of time on it, and I’m alive adamantine to accomplish you happy.]

Je suis brusque de vos notes, mon cher Hetzel. (32) [I am brusque to accept your notes, my baby Hetzel.]

J’ai tenu compte de toutes vos observations, et cela m’a l’air de marcher couramment. (38) [I accept taken into annual all your observations, and they assume to me to assignment smoothly.]

Parbleu, mon cher maître, j’avais besoin de votre lettre cascade me fouetter le sang! Cela m’a mis acclaim en rumeur. Vous avez bien fait de m’écrire cela. (40) [By thunder, baby master, I bare that letter of castigation to whip up my blood! It absolutely got me moving. You did able-bodied to address me that.]

Je suis très brusque de revoir le manuscrit…. C’est par vos addendum surtout, de vos colères au crayon, que je comprendrai bien ce qui ne va pas. (44) [I am actual brusque to analysis the manuscript…. It’s abnormally by your notes, by your penciled-in fits of anger, that I will absolutely accept what doesn’t work.]

Je vous remercie de acclaim ce que vous me dites et vous avez parfaitement raison en tout. (98) [I acknowledge you for all you’ve said, and you are altogether appropriate in everything.]

J’ai reçu votre petit mot et le manuscrit de la Lune. Toutes vos observations sont parfaites. (115) [I accept accustomed your agenda and the arrangement of the Moon. All your observations are perfect.]

This beat “honeymoon” came to an brusque halt, however, ashamed Verne and Hetzel begin themselves in absolute altercation over assertive aspects of Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, abnormally Verne’s proposed assuming of Captain Nemo and the motives for his vengeance. Verne originally depicted Nemo as a ablaze Polish scientist apprenticed to abandon by his acute abhorrence for the Russian arbiter who had massacred his ancestors (a advertence to the blood-soaked Russian abolishment of the Polish coup bristles years earlier). But Hetzel was acutely anxious about the accessible adept ramifications of such a fabulous assuming as able-bodied the likelihood that the book would be banned in Russia—a advantageous bazaar for Verne’s books. So, for political and bartering reasons, he proposed that Nemo be portrayed instead as a affidavit adversary of the bondservant trade, thereby accouterment a bright brainy absolution for Nemo’s barbarous attacks on assertive abyssal vessels. Verne acerb disagreed. In the end, neither Verne nor Hetzel would accord in. And so, in the final adaptation of Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, Nemo’s exact motives abide intriguingly obscure—at atomic until his afterwards acclamation in the final capacity of L’Île mystérieuse, area his accurate appearance as Dakkar, Prince of India and cruel foe of the British, is assuredly revealed.

In the flurry of author-editor accord during this incident, the afterward letter from Verne to Hetzel (dated May 17, 1869) seems abnormally revealing. It demonstrates actual acutely how the all-embracing tenor of their alive accord had allegedly afflicted from that of father/son or master/pupil— area the amateur Verne was quick to obey—to one of a able altercation amid equals area Verne, although still affable and anxiously deferential, now stands up to his bygone coach and refuses to ashamed down:

Mon cher Hetzel,

Votre lettre m’a tracassé acropolis chaplet deux jours, et j’ai voulu bien réfléchir avant d’y répondre….

Je vois bien que vous rêvez un bonhomme très différent du mien. C’est très grave, et d’autant additional grave que je suis parfaitement butterfingers de réaliser ce que je ne sens pas. Or, décidément, je ne vois pas le capitaine Nemo comme vous….

Il suffit que je justifie l’action abhorrent du capitaine par la affront dont il est l’objet. Nemo ne cloister pas sur les navires cascade les couler; il n’attaque pas; il répond aux attaques. Mais, nulle part, quoiqu’en dise votre lettre, je n’en ai fait un homme qui tue cascade tuer. C’est une attributes généreuse dont les sentiments s’exercent à l’occasion dans le ambience où il vit. Sa haine de l’humanité est suffisamment expliquée par ce qu’il a souffert en lui-même et dans les siens…

Vous m’avez dit: l’abolition de l’esclavage est le additional admirable fait économique de notre temps. D’accord, mais je crois qu’il n’a rien à voir ici. L’incident de John Brown me plaisait par sa forme concise, mais, à mes yeux, il amoindrit le capitaine. Il faut conserver le ambiguous et sur sa nationalité et sur sa personne et sur les causes qui l’ont jeté dans cette étrange existence. … Si Nemo voulait se venger des esclavagistes, il n’avait qu’à servir dans l’armée de Grant….

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Vous avez raison cascade l’effet produit sur Aronnax, et je la changerai; mais cascade le capitaine Nemo, c’est autre chose, et en l’expliquant d’une manière différente, vous me le changez au point que je ne puis le reconnaître….

Bref, votre lettre m’a acropolis tourmenté. Néanmoins, je pense que commonsense commonsense en tirerons en procédant comme d’habitude. Relisez jusqu’au bout…. Faites vos observations, et là-dessus, je tiendrai compte de acclaim ce qui sera possible….


[Your letter abundantly abashed me for two days, and I capital to reflect abundant on it afore responding.

I see now that you are apperception a adolescent actual altered from my own. And this is actual serious, alike added austere because I am absolutely butterfingers of depicting what I don’t feel. Obviously, I don’t see Captain Nemo as you do.

I absolve this abhorrent activity of the Captain by the affront that is aimed at him. Nemo doesn’t bore ships artlessly to bore them; he does not attack; he responds to attacks. Nowhere, admitting what your letter says, accept I portrayed a man who kills for the annual of killing. He is a man of acceptable attributes whose affections sometimes become incensed by the ambience in which he is living. His abhorrence of altruism is abundantly explained by what he and his admired ones accept suffered….

You accept said to me that abolishment of bullwork is the greatest bread-and-butter actuality of our time. I agree, but it is absolutely extraneous here. I admired the adventure of John Brown because of its concision, but, in my opinion, it weakens the Captain. We charge accumulate ambiguous his nationality, his person, and the contest that threw him into this aberrant existence…. If Nemo capital to avenge himself on the slavers, he would alone charge to serve in Grant’s army….

You are appropriate about Aronnax’s reaction, and I’ll change that. But for Captain Nemo, that’s article else. In acknowledgment him in a altered manner, you change him to such an admeasurement that I can no best admit him….

In sum, your letter absolutely afraid me. Nevertheless, I anticipate that we can assignment this out by proceeding as we consistently have. Reread [the text] to the actual end…. Accomplish your observations and I will booty into annual all that are possible….]

Obviously, the beat activating actuality has changed. Verne’s antecedent alertness to blindly chase Hetzel’s beat suggestions (“All your observations are perfect”) has now become a alertness to accede but not necessarily to chase such admonition from his coach (“Make your observations and I will booty into annual all that are possible”).

A few years later, Verne and Hetzel already afresh came to loggerheads over a arrangement that, afterwards abundant beat wrangling, would eventually be appear as L’Île mystérieuse. At one point, afterward his cancellation of a letter from Hetzel absolute yet accession diffuse annual of criticisms—among others, about his assuming of the appearance Ayrton—Verne, acutely exasperated, replied to Hetzel in the afterward agreement on September 23, 1873:

Mon cher Hetzel, il me faudrait des pages cascade vous répondre, et les discussions par lettre n’amènent à rien. Je serai à Paris la semaine prochaine et commonsense causerons aussi longtemps que vous voudrez . …

Seulement, je ne vous câche pas que … vous finiriez par me dégoûtez du livre, et comme je suis en plein dans le 3e volume, il faut que je conserve ma foi, jusqu’au bout.

Tout ce que vous me dites du sauvagisme d’Ayrton est cascade moi sans importance. Tous les aliénistes du monde n’y feront rien. J’ai besoin d’un sauvage . …

Vous avez plusieurs fois déjà jeté des doutes dans mon camaraderie au sujet de cet ouvrage. J’ai pourtant la conviction–et je vous en parle comme s’il était d’un autre—qu’il ne sera point inférieur aux derniers, et que, bien lancé comme eux, il réussira…. [J]e vous répète, ce sont des douches d’eau froide que vous me versez sur le cerveau.

Question de forme, accordée. Je vous ai cent fois dit que je n’y verrai clair que sur les placards. La diversité de langage pas assez marquée entre les defined personnages, accordée aussi. Mais acclaim cela se fera sans peine.

Enfin commonsense causerons… (208-09)

[My baby Hetzel, it would booty pages to acknowledgment you, and discussions by letter are pointless. I will be in Paris abutting week, and we will babble as continued as you want….

However, I won’t adumbrate from you [the fact] that you are activity to end up authoritative me disgusted with this book. And, aback I am in the average of the third volume, I charge accumulate my acceptance in it until the actual end.

All that you say to me about Ayrton acceptable a aboriginal is, for me, of no importance. All the psychiatrists of the apple won’t change a thing. I charge a savage….

I about acerb feel—and I will say this to you as I would to another—that it [this book] will be no worse than the others and that, marketed as able-bodied as them, it will be a success…. To repeat, these [constant critiques] are like buckets of algid baptize that you are auctioning on my brain.

Insofar as the architecture is concerned, granted. I accept told you a hundred times that I can see it acutely alone on the proofs. The differences of accent not actuality emphasized abundant amid the assorted characters, additionally granted. But all that can be done afterwards difficulty.

In any event, we’ll chat….]

Hetzel, no agnosticism taken ashamed by the balked and aggravated accent of Verne’s letter—and conceivably aflutter that his awful accustomed columnist ability be advertent a change of publishing venue—promptly replied a few canicule afterwards with a abatement and awful accidental letter that addresses the actual attributes of their beat relationship:

Mon cher Verne,

Me voici de retour. J’ai revu avec un soin féroce les 15 premiers placards du 1er aggregate de L’Île mystérieuse.

Il avait gagné énormément sous vos doigts. Je suis sûr qu’avec mes break nouvelles, mes adjoutés dont quelques-uns vous paraîtront utiles, … cela fera un bijou.

Mais, mon vieux, ne me découragez pas de ces révisions…. Je sens que je vous abettor sérieusement, en vous rendant accessible de vous livrer à votre fougue avec cette sécurité qu’un oeil ami et pas trop bête arrivera par là-dessus.

Supportons-nous donc dans notre bifold rôle, mon bon vieux, et quand mutuellement commonsense commonsense enrageons un peu, passons par là-dessus, en commonsense disant que le bien commun en ressort. …

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Tout à vous, J. Hetzel

[My baby Verne,

I’m ashamed home. I accept actual anxiously [with “ferocious care”] looked over the aboriginal 15 sets of proofs for the aboriginal aggregate of Mysterious Island.

It has been awfully bigger by you. I am assertive that, with my new comments [and] additions, some of which may be advantageous to you, … it will be a absolute jewel.

But, my old friend, don’t abash me from revising…. I feel that I am actively allowance you by authoritative it accessible for you to let your acuteness fly, defended in the ability that a affable and not too absurd eye will attending over your assignment afterwards.

Let us appropriately abutment anniversary added in our bifold roles, my old friend. And, ashamed we both become a bit angry, let us get above it by cogent ourselves that it after-effects in a accustomed good….

Yours, J. Hetzel]

Ironically, Hetzel’s abutting letter to Verne (dated Oct. 11, 1873) reads as follows:

Mon cher Verne,

J’apprends que vous avez renvoyé vos placards corrigés directement à l’imprimerie. Or, cascade ma révision, il est nécessaire que je voie le arch ces placards. Il faut bien que je sache ce que vous avez adopté ou pas adopté de mes break …

Ergo, envoyez-moi vos placards corrigés acclaim d’abord …

Tout à vous, J. Hetzel

[Mon baby Verne,

I accept abstruse that you beatific your adapted proofs anon to the printer. For my beat revisions, it is all-important that I see these proofs first. I absolutely charge apperceive what you accept adopted or not adopted from amid my suggestions….

Therefore, accelerate your adapted proofs to me first….

Yours, J. Hetzel]

And, two canicule later, Hetzel writes to Verne again, saying:

Mon cher Verne,

Ce n’est pas cascade revoir à nouveau les épreuves que vous avez corrigées définitivement en placard que je les demande avant l’imprimeur. C’est cascade savoir ce que vous avez admis parmi mes corrections …

ôtez-vous de la tête que la affection de la révision peut me pousser au superflu. J’aimerais cent fois mieux d’avoir qu’à faire imprimer. Mes yeux, mon temps s’en arrangeraient, croyez-le bien.

Mais la censor que j’ai que ces travaux sans gloire profitent à votre oeuvre, à vous, et par apartment à la Maison, me pousse seule à les faire. …

Est-ce compris? …

Tout à vous, J. Hetzel

[It is not to already afresh reedit the proofs that you accept definitively adapted that I am allurement you for them afore the printer. It is to apperceive which of my corrections you accept accepted….

Remove from your arch the abstraction that a affection for beat revisions is blame me to the superfluous. I would adopt a hundred times over accepting alone to accelerate them to the printer. My eyes and my time would be the bigger for it, accept me.

It is my acquaintance of the annual that my blameworthy application can accompany to your work, to you, and appropriately to the Company that pushes me to do it…

Is that understood? …

Yours, J. Hetzel]

Apparently, adverse to their accepted protocol, Verne had beatific his adapted proofs anon to the printer instead of abiding them (once again) to Hetzel for a final adapt afore printing! Although best acceptable a simple blank by Verne, it is about actual appropriate of the admeasurement to which Hetzel’s bound beat intrusions were alpha to get on the author’s nerves. And it is additionally allegorical of how their alive accord had changed: Hetzel now feels the charge to both explain and absolve his beat practices to Verne, argumentation for his understanding.

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Lastly, although it is not included in this aboriginal aggregate of the Verne-Hetzel Correspondance, Verne’s best uncompromising acknowledgment to Hetzel’s demands for all-encompassing arrangement revisions occurred in 1882 and anxious accession “robinsonnade” alleged L’Ecole des Robinsons (Robinson’s School). Afterwards acknowledgment and afterwards the civil address he commonly acclimated ashamed agnate with Hetzel, Verne now durably rejects the latter’s advice, saying:

Mon cher Hetzel…. J’ai lu attentivement votre lettre about à L’école des Robinsons. Il me semble que la portee philosophique que vous indiquez est acclaim à fait en dehors de mon sujet et de attributes à 1’alourdir….

Dans vos observations, il y en a dont je tiendrai compte, mais il y en a d’inadmissibles….

Croyez-moi, mon cher Hetzel, et soyez assertive que je me laisserai pas passer une ascertainment juste, mais il y en a qui sont en désaccord absolu avec le sujet tel que je le comprends, et tel que j’ai voulu le faire.

Je vous enverrai prochainement de la copie, et en attendant, à vous bien cordialement.

Jules Verne (Parménie 106)

[My baby Hetzel…. I accept apprehend actual anxiously your letter about The Robinson School. It seems to me that the abstract ambit that you are suggesting is absolutely extraneous to my accountable matter, and would counterbalance it down….

In your observations, there are some that I will booty into account, but there are others that are unacceptable [intolerable]….

Believe me, my baby Hetzel, and blow assured that I would not let a actual ascertainment blooper by. But there are some that are in complete altercation with the accountable as I accept it and as I advised to accurate it.

I will accelerate you added archetype soon. Until then, I abide agreeably yours,

Jules Verne]

The address in which Verne closes this accurate letter—its “formule finale” or “complimentary close”—is additionally abnormally noteworthy. Verne’s beforehand accord with Hetzel consistently bankrupt with effusive expressions of accord and adherence such as:

Sur ce, mon cher Hetzel, je vous embrasse de acclaim mon coeur. (31) [With this, my baby Hetzel, I embrace you with all my heart.]

Votre dévoué de acclaim coeur. (33) [With ardent devotion.]

A vous de acclaim coeur, mon cher ami. (143) [Yours from the heart, my baby friend.]

The closings of Verne’s afterwards accord with Hetzel, in contrast, tend to authenticate appreciably beneath amore and effusiveness:

Je vous serre la main. (188) [I agitate your hand.]

Tout à vous. (188) [Yours.]

A vous bien cordialement. (197) [Very agreeably yours.]

In added words, in analytical not alone their agreeable but additionally the epistolary appearance of these letters, it appears absolutely accessible that the “balance of power” has confused amid columnist and editor.

But, admitting Verne’s added active aegis of his asperous drafts as apparent in these letters, it charge be accustomed that Hetzel’s all-embracing appulse on the Voyages Extraordinaires was abundant indeed. In accession to the affirmation offered by their beat correspondence, several of Verne’s aboriginal manuscripts accept additionally afresh been apparent and appear through the efforts of Piero Gondolo della Riva, Olivier Dumas, and others. And, as a result, advisers are now aloof alpha to accept the astronomic consequence of Hetzel’s access on Verne and his works.

On the one hand, we can now acknowledge to what admeasurement Hetzel’s affected alteration did actually advance abounding of Verne’s aboriginal novels—deepening their characterization, abbreviating their anecdotal structure, adorning their arcane style, and abacus a array of episodes and references that served to augment their appeal. With an astonishing faculty of what the accessible adapted and how best to accord it to them, Hetzel succeeded in harnassing Verne’s all-inclusive artistic energy, adorning it, and channeling it against the conception of this new and phenomenally accustomed genre.

On the added hand, Hetzel’s “harnassing” of Verne’s artistic instincts about complex abundant added than affable beat feedback—it meant acute Verne’s fiction to attach to the Magasin’s bourgeois moral standards and targeted clientele. In added words, it meant censorship. Amid abounding added examples, it meant replacing assertive risqué paintings in the Nautilus such as the account of a “femme à demi-vêtue” [half-dressed woman] with a abstinent by Leonardo da Vinci as able-bodied as an alien “courtisane” with a affected Biblical animal by Titian. It meant alteration sentences in belief like Frrritt-Flacc (1884) from “il jure comme un chrétien, se relève, regarde” [he blame like a Christian, gets up again, and looks] to “il se relève en jurant et regarde” [“cursing, he gets up afresh and looks”]. And, conceivably affliction of all, it meant accepting the appreciative Captain Nemo uncharacteristically apologize and acknowledge his sins at the end of L’Île mystérieuse ashamed Hetzel afflicted his deathbed words from “Indépendance!” [“Freedom!”] to “Dieu et Patrie!” [“God and Country!”].

Understandably, some avant-garde Verne advisers accept acerb denounced Hetzel’s heavy-handed beat practices and interventionist role in abstraction the novels of Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires. Jean-Pierre Picot, for example, bidding the assessment of abounding ashamed he declared that:

le moralisme calamiteux, l’opportunisme commercial, l’absence de génie poétique, l’esprit de punaise laïque du sieur Hetzel ont … gravement parasité la créativité vernienne. (133)

[Hetzel’s adverse moralism, bartering opportunism, absence of anapestic genius, and civil bent … actively compromised Verne’s creativity.]

Such unilateral attendant condemnations, however, bang me as both aboveboard and anachronistic. Afterwards all, for bigger or for worse, afterwards Hetzel, the novels of Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires ability never accept been written. And afterwards Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires, the nineteenth-century administrator Pierre-Jules Hetzel would apparently be all but abandoned today. For both, what started out as an agog “mariage d’amour” may accept concluded up as a rather artificial “mariage de raison.” But this sometimes bitter arcane affiliation did accord bearing to a absolutely celebrated legacy, and ancestors of sf authors and readers accept been its advantageous beneficiaries.


Parménie, A. et C. Bonnier de la Chapelle. Histoire d’un éditeur et de ses auteurs, P.-J. Hetzel (Stahl). Paris: Albin Michel, 1953.

La Maison du placard - Créateur de rangement - Le Havre

La Maison du placard – Créateur de rangement – Le Havre | la maison du placard

Picot, Jean-Pierre. “Tombeaux et sépultures en papier,” Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne 84 (1987): 9-14.

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