Check Out the Original Illustrations From Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires

Jules Verne was a ridiculously prolific author, publishing more than 90 novels, short stories, non-fiction books, essays, and plays over his 50-odd year career. His magnum opus was the Voyages Extraordinaires, a series of 54(!) novels that sought “to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format…the history of the universe,” according to his editor Jules Hetzel. How’s that for an ambitious undertaking?

The result gave us such canonical works as Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days, inspiring generations of SFF writers and spawning countless adaptations. But it wasn’t just Verne’s inventive prose that captivated 19th century audiences. The Voyages Extraordinaires also included plenty of lavish illustrations, most in black-and-white, depicting each protagonist’s globetrotting adventures.

Thanks to the work of the late Verne scholar Dr. Zvi Har’El, you can peruse all of the original illustrations online. Collected in collaboration with René Paul, the gallery includes illustrations not just the Voyages Extraordinaires novels, but posthumously published works, short stories, essays, and one play. You can also find an article about the illustrators of these works by Arthur B. Evans, first published in 1998 in the journal Science-Fiction Studies. 

Here are just a few of the many illustrations from some of Verne’s most well-known works:

Illustration from Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon

From “Five Weeks in a Balloon” (Édouard Riou and Henri de Montaut)

Illustration from Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth

From Journey to the Center of the Earth (Édouard Riou)

Illustration from Jules Verne's A Trip to the Moon

From A Trip to the Moon (Émile-Antoine Bayard and Alphonse de Neuville)

Illustration from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

From Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Alphonse de Neuville and Édouard Riou)

For more on Dr. Har’El’s influence in the field of Verne scholarship and the history of his Jules Verne Collection, check out this tribute by the editors of Verniana.

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