Last updated: May 4, 2006

Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination - 1928

Bibliography Reference: V---, M---

Alternate English Titles: 
    Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination

The article Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination is purported to be by Jules Verne, and was solicited for publication by Cosmopolitain Magazine, New York in 1903. 
It was first published by that same magazine in 1928, and subsequently in 199x in Vol 6, No. 2 of Extraordinary Voyages, the newsletter of the North American Jules Verne Society.

In October 1928, Cosmopolitain Magazine, published an introductory article by Bruno Lessing, followed by the Jules Verne article, and two poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
The introductory article was titled:

An Article by Jules Verne on Imagination and Two Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Written Years Ago -- Now Found in an Editor's Drawer.
The Story of the Discovery of the Manuscripts

This introductory article preceding the printing of the 2 manuscripts alluded to in the title,  indicates that the articles were probably received 25 years earlier in 1903. 
According to the text, the Cosmopolitain staff were digging around in a drawer for some Comic Illustrations to send to a boy sick in the hospital, when they chanced upon  "a package of manuscripts, stained with that yellow tinge which time gives to paper and which we must have put into that drawer when McKinley was President. A fine tribute to our carelessness".

There was apparently a cablegram accompanying the Jules Verne manuscript, written by the magazines Paris correspondent which read: "Am mailing article by Jules Verne. Please send him check promptly if you want more articles".
The introductory article goes on to state " Ella Wheeler Wilcox and Jules Verne have passed to the land where there are no dinners and where checks have no value. Each left behind a monument of fine achievement, of noble endeavor".

For your information, the accompanying poems were written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox who is famous for also writing: 

Laugh and the world laughs with you; 
Weep, and you weep alone; 
For this brave old earth must borrow its mirth, 
But has trouble enough of its own.

Plot Synopsis: 

Book Collecting Information:
First UK
n/a No UK edition
First US

above is the magazine cover
Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination
published in the magazine
Hearst's International, combined with Cosmopolitan
October 1928 Number 508, Vol LXXXV, No 41875
published monthly by
The International Magazine Company, Inc. 
57th Street at Eighth Avenue, 
New York City
Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination
published in the newsletter
Extraordinary Voyages
The Newsletter of the North American Jules Verne Society
April 2000, Vol 6, No. 2
Toronto, Ontario

Actual text of the article:
Copyright 1928, by International Magazine Company, Inc. 
(Hearst's International and Cosmopolitan Magazine)
(page 94, 95 and 132)

Solution of Mind Problems by the Imagination
by Jules Verne

No form of mental exercise is more entrancing than that of allowing one's mind to run upon the possible outcome of inventions which while all unfinished and impracticable now, may in some years come within the domain of ordinary life.

The imagination is the greatest inventor in the world, for unlike the scientist, it knows no bar to the completion and to the success of any plan it has conceived. I have been called -- and I think wrongly called -- the father of the submarine, the airship and the automobile. I did, it is true, many years ago, describe these things as actually existent, but my doing so was, you must understand, a tribute to the superiority of the imagination as a solver of mental problems, rather than any tribute to my own personal ingenuity or knowledge of science.

The first thing an inventor by imagination does, is to reflect upon what has been accomplished on the special lines which he intends to traverse. The imagination them comes to his assistance, and the inventor upon paper reflects what his invention must be able to accomplish in order to fulfil the purposes of his story.

It is easy, as the whole world knows, for a novelist to create men of enormous wealth, and it is not much more difficult to solve problems of locomotion, chemistry and physics by similar methods.

In solving mental problems by imagination, though, the careful writer should remember one thing, and that thing is plausibility. He should study carefully all that is known along the lines of the invention which he means to perfect in his story, and he will then have every reason to anticipate a plausible result which some day even may actually come true in real life, as well as in a novel.
The writer of books of imagination in which problems of science and mind problems generally find a solution, must, to be successful, be a voracious reader, and take copious and voluminous notes of all he reads and all that is likely to have a bearing upon the problems which he wants to solve. In this way he acquires such scientific facts as will prevent the ordinary reader from exclaiming against the wild impossibility of what the author advances.

In my own case, I may say that in each of the hundred volumes I have written there has been a definite scientific basis. It has been my object to wrap a scientific fact in an imaginary covering, which, while inducing minds of my youthful readers to exercise themselves with pleasure upon the adventures in the story, shall also lead them to ponder on the scientific kernel, and in this way perhaps bring about the ultimate invention of the apparently impossible marvel which my book describes.

In one story for instance, a story which was called Topsy-Turvy in French (I do not recollect the English title in the translation which was made), the novel was based  upon the events that would ensue on the displacement of the earth's magnetic pole. Before writing my story, I had an exact calculation made as to the size and other details of the cannon whose shock should so displace the pole, and then purposely made the hero of my story commit an error in the calculations which I caused him to make. Had he not done so, I should have found it difficult to explain why France was not a lake and why New York was not a mountain, or perhaps a glacier.

I am inclined to think that in the future the world will not have many more novels in which mind problems will be solved by the imagination. It may be the natural feeling of an old man with a hundred books behind him, who feels that he has written out his subject, but I really feel as though the writers of the present day and of past time who have allowed their imaginations to play upon mind problems, have, to use a colloquialism, nearly filled the bill.

The writer of my own day, or should I perhaps say, of my own afternoon, who has done more in this way than any other man, is the young Englishman, Mr. H. G. Wells, in whose works I have taken great interest since they appeared in French translation. Nothing, for instance, can read more conclusively than the extraordinary time-machine in one of Mr. Wells' books. I do not think that such a machine as he describes will every be a real fact, of course, and yet, as one reads the book, the author seems to have proved conclusively that such an apparatus is absolutely within the bounds of possibility. This is so because of the ingenious manner in which the author has availed himself of such known scientific data as exist, and herein lies the secret.

It does not do to dress up human beings in carnival attire, and call them Martians, or  Moon Men, and it is this mistake which Mr. Wells so wonderfully and so successfully avoids. He invents his Moon Men and his Martians,  and he gives them attributes which actual science really may permit them.

But put in a few words, the solution of mind problems by the imagination consists of this -- a wish that some invention may be achieved, and then the detailed description of its achievement as though it had actually taken place. The wish is father to the thought, says the old proverb.
The solution of all problems of the mind undoubtedly may claim imagination for its mother.

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