Jules Verne was born in Nantes in 1828, the eldest of five children
of a prosperous family claiming French, Breton, and Scottish
ancestry. His early years were happy apart from an unfulfilled
passion for his cousin Caroline. Literature always attracted him
and while taking a law degree in Paris he wrote a number of plays.
His first book, about a journey to Scotland, was not published
during his lifetime. However, in 1862, Five Weeks in a Balloon was
accepted by the publisher Hetzel, becoming an immediate success.
It was followed by Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Twenty
Thousand Leagues under the Seas, Around the World in Eighty Days,
and sixty other novels, covering the whole world (and below
and beyond). Verne himself travelled over three continents, before
suddenly selling his yacht in 1886. Eight of the books appeared after
his death in 1905--although they were in fact written partly by his