Jules Verne was born in the harbor city of Nantes, France on February 8, 1828, to Pierre Verne and Sohie Allote de Fuÿe. As a young boy Jules was fascinated with travel and exploration, the central themes of his future novels. In his youth he would often spend time at the harbor, watching the ships come and go, and one time he even stowed away on a ship bound for the West Indies, only to find his father waiting for him at the next port.
Jules went to Saint Donatien College boarding school, and afterward to Paris to study law. Rather than pursue his studies, he wrote operas for the theater, and made connections in the literary world, including Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. In Paris, Verne also met Honorine de Viane Morel, his future wife, whom he married on January 10, 1857. On August 3, 1861, their son, Michel Verne, was born.
Verne’s writing career blossomed upon meeting a French publisher named Pierre-Jules Hetzel. Hetzel saw potential in Verne’s stories, and helped to improve their appeal by making them less technical. Under Hetzel’s guidance, Venre published his first book in 1863, Five Weeks in a Balloon.
From then on, Verne published two or more volumes a year. The most successful of these include: Journey to the Center of the Earth, 1864 ; From the Earth to the Moon, 1865; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1869; Around the World in Eighty Days, 1873; and The Mysterious Island, 1874.
With finances secured, Verne was able to pursue his passion for boats. In 1867, Verne bought a small ship, the Saint-Michel.
On March 9, 1886, as Verne was coming home, his twenty-five-year-old nephew, Gaston, shot at him twice with a pistol. The first bullet missed, but the second one entered Verne’s left leg, giving him a permanent limp that could not be overcome.
After the deaths of Hetzel and his mother Sophie Allotte de la Fruÿe in 1887, Verne’s novels grew darker. He continued to write until his later years, when on March 25, 1905, he passed away in Amiens from general paralysis.
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