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Paris in the Twentieth Century

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,987 ratings  ·  219 reviews

In 1863 Jules Verne, famed author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days, wrote a novel that his literary agent deemed too farfetched to be published. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson found the handwritten, never-before published manuscript in a safe. That manuscript was Paris in the Twe
Paperback, 222 pages
Published October 21st 1997 by Del Rey (first published 1994)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Paris au XXe siècle = Paris in the twentieth Century, Jules Verne
Paris in the Twentieth Century (French: Paris au XXe siècle) is a science fiction novel by Jules Verne. Written in 1863 but first published 131 years later (1994), the novel follows a young man who struggles unsuccessfully to live in a technologically advanced, but culturally backwards world. Often referred to as Verne's "lost novel", the work paints a grim, dystopian view of a technological future civilization.
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Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jules Verne fans
"But we must warn them! Warn our ancestors!" Michel cried. A fierce light burned in his keen young eyes. "They must not choose the path that leads to... to this!" He spread out his arms to indicate the entire world of 1960: Napoleon V, the great Monopolies that controlled France, England and America, the death of human feeling, of literature, of politics, even of war, that most futile but also most noble of mortal occupations.

The old savant looked at him. "There is a way," he said quietly. "A w
David Sarkies
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Jule's Verne's Forgotten Novel
11 September 2011 - London

This is what has been termed as the 'Lost Book of Jules Verne'. The reason it was lost (and nobody actually knew that it existed until it was discovered in a safe in his old house in Paris) is because when he wrote it his publisher basically thought that it was rubbish and refused to publish it. So, like many writers, he simply filed it away for another time, and it was subsequently forgotten, only to be discovered in the late 20th Century
Lydia Presley
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, fiction, scifi
I have so much I want to talk about when it comes to this book I don't even know where to begin.

Paris in the Twentieth Century is, like all Jules Verne's books, a very detailed, scientific story - technology and advancements take first place, with the story coming second. Don't get me wrong though, I love reading Verne's books - but they are dry reading at times. The overflow of information, not only on technological advancements, but Parisian names and places set my head spinning at times. But,
Ed Erwin
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopia, sf, sf-francaise

Verne is known for stories of adventure. There is absolutely no adventure here. Just descriptions of 1960's Paris as imagined by Verne in 1860's. Written before he became popular, and not published in his lifetime. Many call this work pessimistic. I'd call it curmudgeonly. Though he was young when writing, it feels like something an old man would write complaining about how nobody reads the classics anymore and music and culture are all going downhill.

He has the main character walk
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rui by: Ana
Ever since I heard there was a "lost" Verne novel only published over one hundred years after it was originally written I wanted to read "Paris in The XX Century". Recently, thanks to miss Ana C. Nunes, who was kind enough to borrow me her audio-book I had the chance of knowing this work. 
And it surprised me very much. I thought I knew Verne well, I thought I knew what to expect from one of his "science novels", I was absolutely mistaken. 
Unlike all of the other books with scientific developme
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, translation
If I was in the habit of rating books on their historical significance then this would get much more than two stars, as it is however I was less than thrilled by reading 150 year old dry science fiction. I was more thrilled by the idea that something like this lost novel could exist. Of course many other people were too and so you get many historical novels that basically work as fan fiction for Dickens and Poe etc.

I found it incredible that Verne could be so prescient back in 1863 but beyond th
Gregg Wingo
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first read Jules Verne as a twelve year old and it was one of my first introductions to science fiction. What I did not know was that the translations of his work into English had been done specifically to facilitate the marketing of his materials as juvenile literature. Since the 1960s new translations have been issued more truly reflecting the language of one of France's most popular novelists in the 19th century. However, Verne was not limited solely by his English language publishers by al ...more
Roger Burk
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Verne wrote this science fiction novel of the future early in his career, but was told it could not sell so it lay hidden for over 100 years. Verne foresees a future of technological progress in which art and literature have almost died and bourgeois entrepreneurship and business have taken over society. Strangely for the ur-scifi writer, he disdains all the progress is science and engineering, focusing on the cultural loss. The characters and plot are engaging enough, but it's also fun to see w ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jules Verne fans, French lit fans, historians of sci fi
Recommended to Michael by: serendipity
This odd little novel was a latter-era discovery, which was never published in Verne’s lifetime. It is an attempt by the great inventor of science fiction to envision life 100 years from his own time, and it manages to be uncannily prescient in some areas. Verne accurately envisions the Paris subway system, the commonality of horseless carriages, the electrification of the metropolis, and he even places a tower in the position later to be held by the Eiffel Tower. Nevertheless, this book is unde ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book to read both from an historical point of view, and as historical fiction. It's fun to see what Verne envisioned and has come true, funny to laugh at what he predicted that seems far from ever happening, and maybe a bit scary to see how close he's maybe come to foreseeing the mechinization of the arts.

The book reads a bit dry and I can't help but think that Verne might have considered this to be an unfinished novel. There were moments of brightness within, but they we
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read09
Interesting because of what he got right, but also what he got wrong - personally, I skimmed some of it but would slow down because what really interested me was Michel and his struggle to reconcile interests that weren't common with a cold and measured world.

What I enjoyed the most was the commentary on the periphery about authors and composers that the reader would be familiar with. I laughed that opera still existed when all other forms of art had become obsolete.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Alas, this is a most peculiar book with an even stranger history. Here is one of Jules Verne's earliest novels, which only came to light in 1989, when the manuscript was discovered in an old family safe by Verne's great-grandson. The 1863 work was published in 1994 and translated into English in 1996. (I managed to bury my copy for the past 15 years until the work was recently mentioned by Andrei Codrescu on NPR.) The book's obscurity may be in part explained by the comments of Pierre-Jules Hetz ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel has fax machines, vehicles that work with combustion engines, elevators, skyscrapers, a subway system (elevated, though) and an absolute prevalence of business principles over anything else. What is there to surprise the modern reader? It's set in 1960 after all. Well, it was written in 1863! And it is so prophetic that even the main center of knowledge and industry, the Academic Credit Union, is set in the Champs the Mars, where Eiffel would place his tower 26 years later. Apparently ...more
It feels wrong to give Verne a mere two stars for this lost manuscript. I tried imagining myself reading it back in the late 1800 prior to the existence of some of his visions that are now everyday life. However, I just still wasn't feeling it, feeling dragged down the entire way, like those few spots in the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas where we learn every scientific name imaginable.

I didn't find a connection to Michel Dufrénoy and just didn't care what he did with his daily life.

Catherine Rector
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
First note is that French literature normally isn't in my wheelhouse, but this was a book chosen for my bookclub. Because of my lack of knowledge in the area, I believe I missed a lot of the Revelations that were tucked inside the pages. I often was left with the feeling that he was predicting deaths and circumstances of people who were alive and well when he wrote this, but I wouldn't know better.

I did enjoy many of his seemingly prophetic guesses at the future. It was sometimes shocking to se
John Strohl
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Come for the prescient description of modern France, stay for the funeral of the arts! While Paris in the Twentieth Century is touted as Nostradamus-like foresight of our modern world from almost two centuries in the past, the real value of the book is the eulogy for Verne's artisan contemporaries, heroes, and predecessors. Verne's protagonist, Michel, is an artist trapped in a world for scientists, doomed by his romanticism. Michael takes the reader on a tour of both the physical and aesthetic ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Fascinating read, in that this manuscript was only found a few years ago. Along with a letter from one of Verne's friends begging him not to publish it because it was so bad. It really was written poorly, the storyline was a little threadbare, but still, there were some very astute and rather prophetical ideas. The death of the humanities in institutions of higher learning because they are viewed as an unprofitable waste of time by society being the one I found most relevant (and tragic).
Jan 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, 2017
I did not enjoy this book.

This was literally just men complaining about things and descriptions of inventions that are not real. But like ten times more annoying and boring than that sounds.

I know it's supposed to be a dystopian future, but it just came off as "men complain about kids these days! Except for the one smart boy, too bad everyone else is dumb."

Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was fun: the author is writing in the 1860s about Paris in the 1960s. Industry rules, and the arts are held in contempt, as we see through the eyes of those on the wrong end of "Progress." Not going to join the ranks of great classics, in my opinion, but quite fun to read just the same.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book and saw the comment on the back cover that said Jules Verne was the "Michael Crichton of his time." That's all I needed! It is pretty easy to pick out some symbolism in the storyline and fun to see what Verne predicted correctly and what he did not.
Martijn Vsho
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 1863 Jules Verne wrote a book about what he imagines Paris to be like 100 years later. What would happen to civilization and people as technology advanced and materialism continued? In this book, readers follow Michel, a lonely poet in an age of machinery and practicality, one in which there is no room for the "useless" arts. How will he survive in such a harsh dystopia? Will he succumb to the practicality of the age or will he show Paris that there is value in the arts? This book not only is ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The difficulty with this kind of book is that first you have to set your mind frame to the time it was written and then try to look forward into the unknown. Still, it is fascinating how much he got right, and just what he thought life might be like in the "future".
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Paris in the Twentieth Century was never published when Jules Verne was alive (it was only published in 1994 - 131 years after he wrote the book!). His manuscript was rejected by his publishers for being too radical, but boy, were they wrong! Verne's predictions for 1960 were pretty on-point (except for the expanded canal system and ports in Paris... I guess the idea of airplanes would definitely be too radical for someone living in the 1860s). He predicted skyscrapers, suburbs, high-speed rai ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That this book even exists is something of a marvel, a fortuitous happenstance right out of a novel itself! It paints a vivid, albeit somewhat anachronistic portrait of the city of Paris of the future, in 1960, 97 years after this account was written (1863). It's a startling look into what a literary luminary of the 19th century thought the future would be like, although it was written fairly early in his career, denying him the luxury of a lifetime of hindsight, which may have made it even more ...more
Steve Joyce
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every brush stroke that Verne paints of a future Paris serves to outline the profile of the out-of-place dreamer and poet, Michel Dufrénoy.

In Paris in the Twentieth Century, what's left of Art and Literature is mass-produced. Michel's uncle and aunt are typical Parisians of the time. One of Verne's wittiest passages concerns their relationship:

Did she love Monsieur Boutardin, and was she loved by him in return? Yes, insofar as these businesslike hearts could love; a comparison will complete the
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
This is my first Jules Verne book that I read myself (the others being far back in my youth when my dad would read them to me). I probably like it better than I ought to because of both my affinity of 19th century speculative fiction and how thoroughly I identified with the story.

Verne's book tells the story of 16-year-old Michel who aspires to be an artist in a 1960 Paris society that values business and technology and regards art and literature as useless. It's a story of misfits and the tr
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fiona Robson
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jules-verne
The Jules Verne passion continues. THIS was the best one I've read yet, although it's difficult to compare them, they're all just so fantastic. But this was scarily prophetic. Well ... apart from the bleak, dystopian, totalitarian future. This was written in 1863 and lay undiscovered until 1965 and its authenticity has never been questioned. Verne's publisher turned it down as he thought it was too unbelievable. But Verne predicts computers, the Paris
Metro system, synthesizers .... he even has
Podem ler a opinião completa no Floresta de Livros.

My first book by Jules Verne was quite a surprise. I loved his imagination and how he portraited Paris.
The book's flaws were the weak plot and the one-dimensional characters, and for the first time that actually didn't bother me all that much (which is so unusual, considering I love character driven books).

Looking forward to reading other books by the author.
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Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the genre of science-fiction. He is best known for his novels Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means

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