From the Earth to the Moon, Directly in 97 Hours and 20 Minutes


In 1862 French publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel (1814−86) founded the youth magazine Le Magasin d'éducation et de récréation (Education and entertainment magazine), and asked Jules Verne (1828−1905) to contribute to it by writing novels. Hetzel later created a collection entitled Les Voyages extraordinaires (Extraordinary journeys) dedicated solely to Verne’s works, the goal of which was to “sum up the knowledge … accumulated by modern science … in its own attractive and picturesque and colorful format.” The collection featured De la terre à la lune (From the earth to the moon) in 1865, shortly after it was published in the Journal des Débats (Newspaper of debate). The book can be categorized as science fiction: science plays an integral part in the story, which analyzes the potential effect of technical innovations on nature and discusses the tensions between economy and society caused by scientific innovation. The book also uses a narrative that is both pseudo-scientific and precise and which therefore encourages the reader to believe the sometimes outlandish theories and story lines. The characters are colorful and adventurous. De la terre à la lune and its sequel, Autour de la lune (Around the moon), published in 1869, are now considered literary classics. This work is illustrated by Henri de Montaut (circa 1825−90) as were many other Jules Verne novels.

Last updated: January 8, 2018