“À la Hogarth”
Trans. and notes by Alex Kirstukas. Ed. Arthur B. Evans. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, Early Classics of Science Fiction, 2017. xvii+295 pp. $29.95 hb., $23.99 ebk.
Late nineteenth– and early twentieth- century debates concerning the comparative advantages of balloons and powered airships versus fixed-wing and rotary-wing flying machines—the “autolocomotion” question as it came to be known in France—seem now a sign of the era’s technological naïveté.1 Today, unsteered ballooning is a delightful pastime but not a practical means of long-distance travel or commerce. Despite perennial forecasts of the return of rigid-hulled airships, the ruinous spectacles of the R101 (1930) and the Hindenburg (1937) still inhibit large-scale redevelopment. Meanwhile, millions of passengers and untold tons of cargo fly daily by airplane and rotocraft. The rise of the remote-controlled drone resurrects old fears of continuous surveillance and push-button death-dealing as well as the promise of air-to-door pizza delivery. The question of how we should take to the skies was settled long ago in favor of heavier-than-air solutions.
As Alex Kirstukas documents in this fine new annotated translation of Jules Verne’s 1886 novel Robur the Conqueror [Robur-le-conquérant], Verne was an enthusiastic partisan of autolocomotion from the start. One of his earliest published stories, “A Voyage in a Balloon” [“Un Voyage en ballon,” 1851] and his first published novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon [Cinq Semaines en ballon, 1863], hang on the control problem: the balloonist manages elevation by jettisoning ballast or venting lifting gas, but the balloon’s lateral movements are subject to the winds. Verne’s friend the photographer Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) was an important aviation pioneer, and with novelist Gabriel de La Landelle founded the Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier-Than-Air-Machines (Société d’encouragement pour la locomotion aérienne au moyen d’appareils plus lourds que l’air, 1863), whose members saw themselves, writes Kirstukas, as “underdog heroes fighting a pompous, pretentious establishment obsessed with balloons” (viii).2 As the Society’s censeur, Verne moderated its Friday meetings at Nadar’s studio on the Boulevard des Capucines, attended by such literary and scientific luminaries as Jacques Babinet, Alexandre Dumas père and fils, Victor Hugo, Étienne-Jules Marey, Jacques Offenbach, Alphonse Pénaud, and George Sand. Despite high-profile stunts by the publicity-savvy Nadar—most famously two 1863 ascensions in the Géant, then the largest balloon ever constructed, both ending in nasty crashes—the Society produced little of technological significance. Its illustrated magazine L’Aeronaute managed only four issues and forty-two subscribers.
Verne’s faith in autolocomotion, however, remained steadfast. His 1863 essay “À propos du Géant” [About the Géant] asserted that Nadar’s crashes proved that ballooning had no practical future. Only a controlled, self-propelled craft, probably based on the new “hélicoptère” of fellow Society member Gustave de Ponton d’Amécourt, could safely navigate the air. “Let’s go, then, for the helicopter,” Verne concluded brashly, “and adopt Nadar’s motto: Everything that is possible will be done” (93).
But Verne did not set to writing fiction about heavier-than-air flight until February 1885, perhaps, Kirstukas speculates (ix), because other novelists had beaten him to it in the 1870s. When Verne did begin the project that would become Robur, he did so with abandon, reviewing some five hundred scientific texts on aviation with plans to incorporate “everything there is to say on the subject” into the novel (xi). The first draft of the manuscript was completed in May 1885.3 Verne’s subsequent correspondence with editor-publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel includes their usual to and fro regarding changes demanded by Hetzel, who could be dictatorial, and Verne’s pushing back on some but aquiescing to others. Among the latter was a substantial trimming of technical information, “chas[ing] away,” Verne conceded, “all the altitudes, latitudes, longitudes, etc., which weren’t necessary” (xi). The result, observes Kirstukas, is a more polished and focused work but also less the grand manifesto of autolocomotion for which Verne had assiduously prepared. Still, he assured his editor that the book would make “a little noise” and that “all the partisans of the heavier-than-air faction would stand with Robur against their adversaries.”4 The novel was published serially, without illustrations, in the Journal des Débats politiques et littéraires [Journal of Political and Literary Debates] between June and August 1886, as an unillustrated octodecimo in August, and as a grand octavo with forty-five illustrations by Léon Benett in October (Gondolo della Riva 87-88). This is the edition translated by Kirstukas.
Verne’s desire to make a little noise is evident in the novel’s opening gambit. Mysterious lights and music have been seen and heard in the night sky around the world, provoking alarm from astronomers and meteorologists, journalists, and the public. Initially discounted as mistaken observations of celestial objects or as visual and auditory illusions, the strange phenomena are shown to have a real cause by a subsequent, bravura stunt à la Nadar: the appearances of flags—“black, of thin cotton weave, scattered with stars with a golden sun at [the] center” (9)—affixed to the summits of a dozen of the world’s tallest human-made structures. Soon thereafter, a “singular personage” calling himself “Robur” crashes a regular meeting of the Weldon Institute of Philadelphia, a kind of gentlemen’s club for balloon aficionados, aka “balloonians.” He ridicules the Institute’s obsession with lighter-than-air solutions and announces that he has solved the problem of controlled flight: “the motor of the future is the propeller!” (28). His pugnacious assertions of the superiority of rotocraft—“with your aerostats you can do nothing, reach nothing, dare nothing!” (26)—could have come straight out of Nadar’s Manifeste de l’autolocomotion aérienne [Manifesto of Aerial Autolocomotion, 1863) or the more polemic Le Droit au vol [The Right to Flight, 1865).
If she is not a diehard balloonian herself, the reader has connected the dots; the rest of the novel merely retraces in geographical terms a conceptual itinerary already in place. Robur kidnaps Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans, President and Secretary of the Institute respectively, and Prudent’s valet Frycollin. Secreted aboard Robur’s aircraft, the Albatross, they are carried on a meteoric three-week tour of the globe in a ship that realizes every advantage of the helicopter Verne had predicted à propos du Géant, and then some.
Figure 1. -Robur's Albatross
Figure 1. -Robur's Albatross Figure 2. - Uncles Prudent and Phil Evans
Nemo’s Nautilus was a sleek, fusiform projectile; the ornately riveted, crenellated leviathans of recent memory owe more to the 1954 Disney film than to Verne and his first illustrators. In contrast the Albatross is a fiddly steampunk confection avant la lettre (fig. 1). A bulky two-chined hull with a ram bow, resembling nothing so much as a giant flat iron, is mounted fore and aft with huge four-bladed propellers for lateral propulsion. Three deckhouses lodge the crew, machinery, and batteries and accumulators of “extraordinary efficiency” (57). Aft is a glass-enclosed pilot house, from which the ship is steered “by means of a powerful rudder” (56). The black sun-charged flag of “Icaria” (i.e., the sky, “this seventh region of the world, larger than Australia, Oceania, Asia, America, and Europe!” ) flies from the stern above the rudder and aft propeller. Beneath the hull “a system of flexible springs” assures soft landing (56).5 Above the deck
thirty-seven axes rise vertically: fifteen on each side, and seven higher ones in the center. It might be taken for a ship with thirty-seven masts. Only, each of these masts, instead of bearing sails, carry two horizontal propellers, relatively small in pitch and diameter, but rotatable at prodigious speed. Each of these axes moves independently from the others, and moreover, in pairs, the axes turn in opposite directions—an arrangement necessary to prevent the apparatus from gyrating. Thus, the propellers, while still rising on a vertical column of air, are balanced against horizontal resistance. Consequently, the apparatus is fitted with seventy-four suspension propellers, with the three blades of each one held on the outside by a metal circle, which, functioning as a flywheel, economizes the driving force. (56)
The railing around the deck’s outer edges does not look too sturdy. Neither do the axes and shrouds of the suspension propellers. One illustration (fig. 2) shows Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans on the deck looking up at a prodigious confusion overhead. The text suggests they are counting the masts but they might just as well be alarmed spectators watching an overly-ambitious plate-spinning act approaching its crisis. Or, in long views the many propellers, based on d’Amécourt’s ingenious coaxial design, merge into a fluttering haze —a rookery of rotors?—swooping above the ship’s hull. Or, one of Society member Étienne-Jules Marey’s stop-motion “chronophotographs” of a bird in flight, each of its movements abutting on the previous and the next.6 Kirstukas notes that Verne corresponded with Hetzel and Benett to direct the illustrator’s hand; author and editor recommended references on aeronautics that would be useful to him (Benet et al. 234). Verne, however, cautioned that the craft should not be shown in close views that would reveal its implausibility (Benet et al. 238). He also confided to Hetzel, “between ourselves, I advise you never to get into such a machine” (xii).
Hetzel encouraged Benett to surrender to the “elasticity” of his imagination and “invent the fantasy of the heavens” (Benet et al. 231). The illustrations, especially those of the Albatross in the “fantastical and cloudy” views Verne recommended (xii), capture qualities of the machine that Verne’s prose achieves less often. Soaring over the cataracts of Niagara Falls and the summits of the Rockies and the Himalayas, fanning its searchlights over nighttime Paris, or carried by a hurricane over the flaming summit of Mount Erebus—there are about a dozen such illustrations—the ungainliness of the Albatross nearly drops away, as it plies the air with ease … while remaining moonstruck enough to suggest that it is held aloft mostly by wishful thinking.
For the trip is too fanciful to be taken seriously. An important difference between the voyage of the Albatross and that of the Nautilus is that the reader can always tell the location of Nemo’s submarine; that novel included two maps, drawn by Verne, of the ship’s movements. In Robur, the terrains, nations, and cities visited are reported but, unusual among the Extraordinary Voyages, no map of the entire journey appears in the published text; how the Albatross gets from one place to another is not always clear.7 All the “altitudes, latitudes, longitudes” were deleted during the revisions, effectively shifting the ship’s movements into a spatial imaginary set apart from the notionally real world below. The point, it seems, is to showcase the Albatross’s travels in the indefinite air up, down, and laterally; other particulars could be sacrificed so long as the monarch of the clouds stays in view and the motor of the future is kept turning.8
This aspect of the novel’s literary machinery is marked concretely in Verne’s outré multiplying of the suspension propellers. Thirty-seven? No other helicopter design of the nineteenth century looks like this (Liberatore 1998). But of course the propellers are not really there, or not with this degree of insistence, only to hold the ship aloft. As in Verne’s sharp-edged satire of American millionaires, Propeller Island [L’Île à hélice, 1895], such outlandish screws as these turn busily to figure the motions of the story while never themselves describing anything other than a closed circuit. This kind of textual-formal signal is common in Verne; here symbols of his dogged formalism are more exposed than usual.
To pick up on these cycles and epicycles, though, you need a reliable version of the text. The novel was, Kirstukas observes, “grievously mistreated” by its earlier English translators (xvi). The first two English editions, anonymous hack jobs published in 1877 by Sampson Low and Munro, shuffled chapters, deleted details, distorted characters’ names, and were strewn with errors. Now in the public domain they remain the versions read by most English speakers. As is true of much of the recent renaissance of quality translations of Verne, this complete, accurate, and eminently readable Robur in English is long overdue.
In his introduction Kirstukas illustrates problems of the earlier translations with a passage from chapter eight in which Robur’s quartermaster, Tom Turner, is introduced. A portion of the passage reads thus in Kirstukas’s accurate rendering:
Tom Turner, of English origin, about forty-five years old, barrel-chested, stocky, built of iron, had one of those enormous and distinctive heads in Hogarth style [à la Hogarth], such as that painter of every kind of Saxon ugliness plotted out with the tip of his brush. If one cares to examine the fourth plate of A Harlot’s Progress, one will find Tom Turner’s head on the shoulders of the prison guard, and one will recognize that his physiognomy has nothing welcoming about it. (77)
In the Sampson Low version Tom’s “Saxon ugliness” is omitted, and the references to Hogarth and A Harlot’s Progress are reduced to Tom’s having “one of those enormous characteristic heads that Hogarth rejoiced in” (xvii). In the Munro version Tom is inexplicably renamed “George Kerns.” His head is “characteristic,” signifying somehow his “practical turn of mind and … mechanical knowledge that rendered him invaluable to his captain” (xviii). Hogarth and his prison guard are nowhere to be seen.
Kirstukas is making a technical point about the awfulness of the earlier translations but the original passage is interesting for other reasons. The reference to William Hogarth’s famous series of engravings (1732) is oddly specific and the only mention of the English painter and printmaker in all of Verne’s published works. Though Verne emphasized their resemblance in his correspondence with the illustrator, Benett’s Tom Turner doesn’t look much like the Bridewell Prison gaoler of Hogarth’s fourth print, who menaces the prostitute Moll, the eponymous “harlot” of the series.9
Volker Dehs (28-30) cites Robur’s allusion to Hogarth as evidence of the influence of antisemitic iconography on Verne’s depictions of Jews, most notoriously in Hector Servadac’s (1877) Isaac Hakhabut, whose name, Dehs proposes, evokes Hogarth’s Moll Hackabout. (Hakhabut is drawn as a hook-nosed, hunched grotesque by Servadac’s illustrator Paul-Dominique Philippoteaux). There is no escaping Verne’s antisemitism; every Jew is a caricature, and Verne was an ardent anti-Dreyfusard in later life. But the antisemitic elements of A Harlot’s Progress are concentrated in the series’ second engraving, in which Moll quarrels with the rich Jew who keeps her as his mistress.
And the gaoler of the fourth engraving is more the type of “Saxon ugliness” that Robur’s narrator describes. It is more likely that the Hogarth intertext is a remnant of Verne’s reading in early 1885 and, indirectly, of his original plan for a more nuanced treatment of autolocomotive obsession than is evident in the published text.
The thing is, despite some moments of levity the published Robur is a mean-spirited book, more sardonic than satirical; what actual autolocomotive debate there is in it is mostly querulous sniping. Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans are inflexible balloonians bitterly jealous of Robur’s success. Hetzel had wanted Robur to be a Byronic hero in the mold of Nemo or Captain Hatteras but Verne refused, worried that he would be accused of trying to repeat past successes. He insisted, moreover, that the captain of the Albatross was not an “apostle” [apôtre]. “I’m trying hard,” he replied to Hetzel’s criticisms of the first draft, “to make [Robur] a fantaisiste,” that is, someone carried to extremes by his imagination.10 But the Robur we have ended up with is neither apostle nor fantasist; most of the time he is just an overconfident jerk.
Fig. 3 - Frycollin is keelhauled.
The only crew member for whom the modern reader is likely to feel sympathy is Frycollin, who is often paralyzed by terrifying air sickness. Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans show mild concern for him; the narrator is annoyed (“like a child, like the Negro [nègre] he was, [Frycollin] began moaning, protesting, crying out, thrashing about in a thousand contorsions and grimaces”).11 Shockingly, Robur orders an aerial keelhauling (fig. 3).
The episode is played for laughs yet Benett’s image of Frycollin clinging to a barrel suspended over the storm-tossed Caspian Sea is among the most disturbing in all of the illustrated Voyages. Originally, Verne planned to suspend Frycollin from a loop at the end of a cable but Hetzel prevailed upon him to add the barrel “so the thing is droll rather than inhuman” (240-41n9). It is hard to see that the barrel improves matters. This, and an episode earlier in the novel in which Robur proves the Albatross’s power by harpooning and dragging a whale until it suffocates (89-91), are hard to get past.
Which brings me back to Tom Turner and the unwelcoming face of Hogarth’s gaoler. One connection between them is clear. Tom Turner is the novel’s figure of menace: he fires the harpoon, he forces Frycollin into the barrel (109), he is the first to shoot during the attack on the Kingdom of Dahomey (135), ostensibly to prevent a mass human sacrifice but actually an intervention that results in greater losses of life. If Tom generally ignores Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans he is capable of doing worse. In Benett’s illustrations Tom is, moreover, the only person shown standing at the helm (Fig. 2). Steering the ship is one of his duties as quartermaster, but the image is suggestive; in Alphonse de Neuville’s illustrations for Twenty Thousand Leagues Nemo alone is shown steering the Nautilus. In contrast, the only comparable illustration of Robur (23) shows him standing at a table before the Weldon Institute, affirming the benefits of propellers. The captain and quartermaster of the Albatross seem to have divided their responsibilities: the captain is the fantaisiste, the quartermaster is the agent who puts the captain’s fantasies into cruel effect. Tom Turner’s name—evoking the French tourner, “to turn” or “to fashion”—is another of those signals in the text that everything is traveling in a circle; one has only to look in order to find the center.12
My guess is that the source of the comparison of Tom to Hogarth’s gaoler is art critic Augustin Filon’s long essay on Hogarth, which appeared in the 15 January 1885 issue of Revue des deux mondes, around the time that Verne was working on the novel’s first few chapters. It is unlikely that Verne learned of A Harlot’s Progress from Filon, as he refers to the engravings by their title in English, whereas Filon uses the fussier French, Histoire de la courtisane [Story of a Courtesan]. But it is hard to see how otherwise the engravings should have entered Verne’s thoughts in this context. He may have been prompted by Filon’s assertion that Hogarth’s realism was a conscious choice of the “intermediary” world, “between the sublime and the grotesque, tragedy and farce” (393). Or by Filon’s discussion of Hogarth’s gaoler, a muscular agent of moral authority and the hand of fate in a story with only an unhappy ending. Tom Turner embodies a comparable principle of unsparing determinism, suggesting by his actions that the future of aeronautics will not be all fun and games. (Ask Frycollin or the Kingdom of Dahomey.)
Hogarth’s series is a winking satire of sexual predation dressed up in the language of religious allegory; Robur’s aims à la Hogarth would be equally self-aware but less grandiose. Perhaps Verne, by 1885 a more accomplished ironist than he was in 1863 when his autolocomotive passions were at fever pitch, determined that a ratio of unflagging confidence (“Everything that is possible will be done …”) and unsettling, inconsistent menace would hold the apostle’s triumphalism in check. That Robur, that Robur the Conqueror, if it were ever possible, would have been a more complex and better work of art. But the balance appears to have been lost along the novel’s journey from manuscript to published text; Kirstukas, Christian Robin, and Robert Pourvoyeur suggest as much. Pressured by Hetzel to trim the technical details and the uneven humor, Verne also cut a good deal of the canny wordplay and narrative reflexivity that had long been his preferred tools of satire.
In this reading the ending of the first draft rings truer than that of the published novel. In both versions, the captives manage to escape the Albatross while it is anchored for repairs. They set off an explosion that sends the craft crashing into the sea; its crew is presumed lost. Uncle Prudent, Phil Evans, and Frycollin return to Philadelphia, where the Weldon Institute resumes the interrupted construction of the Go Ahead, a “monster-balloon” (19) that will “take first place among engines of aerial locomotion” (199). On the day of the balloon’s maiden voyage, a new Albatross appears in the skies of Philadelphia. Robur and his men, we are told, had survived the crash and returned to their secret hideout to build a new flying machine; learning of the Go Ahead’s launch they have come to seek vengence. It seems that no one has learned a lesson except Frycollin, who having had quite enough already has stayed at home.
In the draft version, the ensuing aerial battle between the Albatross and the Go Ahead ends with the balloon’s destruction by Robur’s cannon. Uncle Prudent, Phil Evans, and their crew leap from the airship in parachutes. The Albatross pursues them as they descend and Robur challenges them to admit “the superiority of machines heavier than air” (214). They refuse, he derides them as “utter imbeciles,” and with a grappling hook collects the remains of the Go Ahead, which the Albatross tows away until both ships disappear in the Western sky. The assembled spectators cheer for Robur. The balloonians are humiliated. The narrator wonders if Robur might return one day, adding that “no aeronaut has ventured out into the high zones of the sky without some anxiety” since his disappearance (215).
In the published version, the Go Ahead rises too high during the battle and its envelope ruptures in the thinning atmosphere. Proving its greater maneuverability, the Albatross flies alongside the falling balloon and Uncle Prudent and Phil Evans manage to board Robur’s ship unharmed. He lowers them to the ground safely and announces that that he has proven his point and will now leave, taking the secret of his invention with him. “It is evolutions, not revolutions, that must occur. In a word, one must not arrive before one’s time” (215). He promises to return when the nations of the world are ready for him. Hetzel proposed the new ending and Verne approved of it, but it is very dissatisfying. It resolves none of the inconsistencies introduced by other revisions to the draft and substitutes facile moralizing and a poor jeu de mots for something far more interesting: an acknowledgement (“no aeronaut has ventured out…”) of the irreconcilability of the novel’s aspirations.13 “You are utter imbeciles!” seems the better last line of dialogue.
The presentation of the text and illustrations of this new English Robur is up to the usual high standards of Wesleyan’s Early Classics of Science Fiction series. Kirstukas’s introduction superbly situates the novel in its historical and biographical contexts and his notes on the text are extensive and authoritative. The reproductions of the illustrations are crisp and handsome. Two appendices include Verne’s original ending and an annotated list of the more than ninety aviation pioneers mentioned in the novel. These are followed by annotated bibliographies of Verne’s published works and important critical studies in French and English, and a short biography of the author.
1. Strictly speaking, powered airships are autolocomotive but the term was commonly applied only to heavier-than-air machines.
2. Unless indicated otherwise, page references are to Kirstukas’s translation.
3. The MS is preserved at the Bibliothèque municipale de Nantes, fonds Jules Verne, MJV B 211.
4. Letter to Hetzel, 25 Aug. 1885 (Correspondence inédit III, 317).
5. Topsides, the Albatross resembles the Sfax, the first of a new type of French protected cruiser, steam-powered and rigged for sail, which was nearing completion in 1885 at the Brest Arsenal (Ropp 109).
6. When Robur announces to the Weldon Institute “the bird flies, and it is not in any way a balloon; it is a machine!” (27) Verne has to be thinking of Marey’s La Machine animale [The Animal Machine, 1873], from which the narrator later quotes (54).
7. While working on the first draft, Verne created such a map for his own reference (Butcher 60).
8. The craft’s name is an allusion to the French poet Charles Baudelaire’s description of the seabird as “the prince of the clouds” (“The Albatross,” st. 4, Flowers of Evil [Les Fleurs du mal, 1857]).
9. In a November 1885 letter Verne promised to send Benett a copy of the Hogarth print as the “type” for Tom Turner (Benet et al. 235).
10. Letter to Hetzel, 19 May 1885. (Correspondence inédit III, 286–87).
11. P. 107. Frycollin is also described as “doltish,” “grimacing,” “gluttonous,” “lazy,” “and above all, of a cowardice beyond belief” (34). His only redeeming feature, says the narrator, is that he doesn’t speak with an odious “Negro dialect.” As Kirstukas observes, the racist caricature is repellant and never improves.
12. Verne took a while to settle on the quartermaster’s last name. For the first third of the manuscript it appears to have been “Framey” (Dehs 1994) or “Francy” (Butcher, personal corresp., 1 June 2018). Soon after the mention of Hogarth, this is changed to “Turner” (MJV B 211: 52).
13. The original ending anticipates Robur’s metamorphosis in Master of the World [Maître du monde, 1904], notionally a sequel to Robur but more a bleak, unironic rewriting of its contradictions. Robur, now an unambiguous madman, reappears with “John Turner” at his side in the Terror [L’Épouvante], an automobile-submarine-speedboat-airplane, with which they menace, as the title suggests, the world.
Benet, François, Marie-Annick Benet, Pascale Benet, Patrice Martin, Roberto Pesle, and Valérie Sper Benet, eds. Léon Benett illustrateur: Lettres et dessins inédits [Léon Benett, illustrator: unpublished letters and drawings]. Lardy: À la frontière, 2011.
Butcher, William. Jules Verne inédit: Les Manuscrits déchiffrés [The Unpublished Jules Verne; the manuscripts decoded]. Lyon: ENS Éditions, 2015.
Dehs, Volker. “Les Manuscrits des Voyages extraordinaires. Répertoire des noms disparus” [The Manuscripts of the Extraordinary Voyages: Index of the missing names]. Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne (NS) 109 (1994): 20–35.
Filon, Pierre Marie Augustin. “La Caricature en Angleterre. William Hogarth” [Caricature in England: William Hogarth]. Revue des deux mondes 67 (15 Jan. 1885): 385–423.
Gondolo della Riva, Piero, ed. Bibliographie analytique de toutes les œuvres de Jules Verne. I: Œuvres romanesques publiées [Analytical bibliography of all the works of Jules Verne. Vol. 1: the published works]. Paris: Société Jules Verne, 1977.
Liberatore, E.K. Helicopters Before Helicopters. Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1998.
Marey, Étienne-Jules. Études photographiques sur la locomotion de l’homme et des animaux. Extraits des comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences [Photographic studies of human and animal movement. Excerpts from the minutes of the Academy of Sciences]. Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1883-1887.
─────. La Machine animale. Locomotion terrestre et aérienne [The Animal machine: movement on the ground and in the air]. Paris: G. Baillie, 1873.
Ponton d’Amécourt, Gustave de. La Conquète de l’air par l’hélice. Exposé d’un nouveau système d’aviation [Conquest of the air by the propeller. Summary of a new system of aviation]. Paris:Sausset, 1863.
Pourvoyeur, Robert. “Cet ambigu de Robur” [This ambiguous Robur]. Bulletin de la Société Jules Verne 153 (2005): 25-32.
Robin, Christian. “Robur.” Jules Verne écrivain [Jules Verne, Writer]. Ed. Agnès Marcetteau-Paul. Nantes: Bibliothèque municipale, 2000. 117-31.
Ropp, Theodore. The Development of a Modern Navy: French Naval Policy, 1871–1904. Ed. Stephen S. Roberts. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1987.
Verne, Jules. “À propos du Géant” [About the Géant]. Musée des familles 31.3 (1863): 92-93.
─────. Salon de 1857 [The Salon of 1857]. Ed. Volker Dehs. Bremerhaven, Germany: Jules-Verne-Club, 2008.
─────, and Pierre-Jules Hetzel. Correspondance inédite de Jules Verne et de Pierre-Jules Hetzel (1863-1886). Tome III: 1879-1886 [The unpublished correspondence of Jules Verne and Pierre-Jules Hetzel]. Ed. Olivier Dumas, Piero Gondolo della Riva, and Volker Dehs. Geneva: Slatkine, 2002.
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