(b. Feb. 8, 1828, Nantes, Fr.—d. March 24, 1905, Amiens), French author whose writings laid much of the foundation of modern science fiction.
In Paris Verne studied law but afterward chose to follow his interest in literature. In 1850 his play, Les Pailles rompues ("The Broken Straws"), was successfully produced at Alexandre Dumas’s Thйвtre Historique. He served as secretary at the Thйвtre Lyrique (1852-54) and later turned stockbroker but continued writing comedies, librettos, and stories.
In 1863 he published in Jules Hetzel’s Magasin d’Йducation et de Rйcrйation the first of his Voyages extraordinaires—Cinq Semaines en ballon (1863; Five Weeks in a Balloon, 1869). The great success of the tale encouraged him to produce others in the same vein of romantic adventure, with increasingly deft depictions of fantastic but nonetheless carefully conceived imaginary scientific wonders. The Voyages continued with Le Voyage au centre de la Terre (1864; A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, 1874), De la Terre а la Lune (1865; From the Earth to the Moon, 1873), Vingt Mille Lieues sous les mers (1870; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1873), and L’Оle mystйrieuse (1874; The Mysterious Island, 1875), in which he foresaw a number of scientific devices and developments, including the submarine, the aqualung, television, and space travel.
Verne’s novels were enormously popular throughout the world; one in particular, the grippingly realistic Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours (1873; Around the World in Eighty Days, 1873), generated great excitement during its serial publication in Le Temps and remained one of his most popular works. From 1872 he lived in Amiens. In 1892 he was made an officer of the Lйgion d’Honneur.
A number of successful motion pictures have been made from Verne novels, starting in 1916 with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (remade in 1954 by Walt Disney), The Mysterious Island (1929 and 1961), From the Earth to the Moon (1958), Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), and, perhaps the most popular, Around the World in Eighty Days (1956).