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Voyages Extraordinaires Prologue

Extraordinary Voyages Prologue (Explanation)

The being of the Voyages Extraordinaires, are usualy summarized as:
"...to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format ... the history of the universe."That is just the ending of the explanation given by Jules-Pierre Hetzel.
Original French English Translation
Art Evans
English Transation
WIlliam Butcher

Here is that prologue in French:“Avertissement de l’éditeur,” Jules Verne. Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras 1866, 7-8
and 2 different English translations.

There were 2 versions of the Prologue, and the 2 English translations, reflect that.

Explaination of the Voyages Extraordinaire

Avertissement de l’éditeur

Les excellents livres de M. Jules Verne sont du petit nombre de ceux qu'on peut offrir avec confiance aux générations nouvelles. Il n'cn est pas, parmi le; productions contemporaines, qui répondent mieux au besoin généreux qui pousse la société moderne à connaître enfin les merveilles de cet univers où s'agitent ses destinées. Il n'en est pas qui aient mieux justifié le rapide succès qui les a accueillis dès leur apparition. 

Si le caprice du public peut s'égarer un instant sur une oeuvre tapageuse et malsaine, son goût ne s'est jamais fixé eu revanche d'une façon durable que sur ce qui est fondamentalement sain et bon. Ce qui a fait la double fortune des oeuvres de M. Jules Verne, c'est que la lecture de ses livres charmants a tout à la fois les qualités d'un aliment substantiel et la saveur des mets les plus piquants. 

Les critiques les plus autorisés ont salué dans M. Jules Verne un écrivain d'un tempérament exceptionnel, auquel, dès ses débuts, il n'était que juste d'assigneru ne place à part dans les lettres françaises. Conteur plein d'imagination et de feu, écrivain original et pur, esprit vif et prompt, égal aux plus habiles dans l'art de nouer et de dénouer les drames inattendus qui donnent un si puissant intérêt à ses hardies conceptions, et à côté de cela profondément instruit, il a créé un genre nouveau. Ce qu'on promet si souvent, ce qu'on donne si rarement, l'instruction qui amuse, l'amusement qui instruit, M. Verne le prodigue sans compter dans chacune des pages de ses émouvants récits. 

Les Romans de M. Jules Verne sont d'ailleurs arrivés à leur point. Quand on voit le public empressé courir aux conférences qui se sont ouvertes sur mille points de la France, quand on voit qu'à côté des critiques d'art et de théâtre, il a fallu faire place dans nos journaux aux comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, il faut bien se dire que l'art pour l'art ne suffit plus à notre époque, et que l'heure est venue où la science a sa place faite dans le domaine de la littérature. 

Le mérite de M. Jules Verne, c'est d'avoir le premier, et en maître, mis le pied sur cette terre nouvelle, c'est d'avoir mérité qu'un illustre savant, parlant des livres que nous publions, en ait pu dire sans flatterie : « Ces romans, qui vous amuseront comme les meilleurs d'Alexandre Dumas, vous instruiront comme les livres de François Arago. » 

Petits et grands, riches et pauvres, savants et ignorants, trouveront donc plaisir et profit à faire des excellents livres de M. Verne les amis de la maison et à leur donner une place de choix dans la bibliothèque de la famille.

Les éditions illustrées que nous donnons des oeuvres de M. Jules Verne, à un bon marché inusité et dans des conditions qui en font des livres de vrai luxe, témoignent de la confiance que nous avons dans leur valeur et dans la popularité toujours croissante qui les attend. 

Les ouvrages nouveaux de M. Verne viendront s'ajouter successivement à cette édition, que nous aurons soin de tenir toujours au courant. Ils embrasseront dans leur ensemble le plan que s'est proposé l'auteur, quand il a donné pour sous-titre à son oeuvre celui de Voyages dans les Mondes connus et inconnus. 

Son but est, en effet, de résumer toutes les connaissances géographiques, géologiques, physiques, astronomiques, amassées par la science moderne, et de re faire, sous la forme attrayante et pittoresque qui lui est propre, l'histoire de l'univers. 

J HETZEL. 

English Translation of Prologue
by Art Evans
From Jules Verne Rediscovered, p. 29-30:

The excellent books of M. Jules Verne are part of a very small number of those that one can give to the new generation with absolute confidence. In the contemporary market, there exist none better to answer society’s needs for learning about the marvels of the universe. There exist none which have been more justifiably greeted with instant success from their very first appearance.

If the public’s fancy sometimes wanders toward works that are flashy and unwholesome, its basic good taste never permanently settles on any work that is not fundamentally wholesome and good. The two-fold merit of the works of M. Jules Verne is that the reading of these charming books has all the flavor of a spicy dish while providing the substance of a nourishing meal.

The most respected critics have acclaimed M. Jules Verne as a writer of exceptional talent who, from his earliest works, has made a place for himself in French letters. An imaginative and exciting storyteller, a pure and original writer with a lively sharp wit . . . and, in addition, a profoundly learned author, M. Jules Verne has succeeded in creating a new genre. What is promised so often and what is delivered so rarely, instruction that is entertaining and entertainment that instructs, M. Verne gives both unsparingly in each one of his exciting narratives.

The Novels of M. Jules Verne have moreover arrived at the perfect time. When one sees the general public hastening to scientific lectures given all over France and that, in the newspapers, art and theatre columns are making way for articles on the proceedings of the Academy of Science, one must conclude that Art for Art’s Sake is no longer enough for our era. The time has come for Science to take its place in the realm of Literature.

The merit of M. Jules Verne is to have, boldly and masterfully, taken the first steps into this uncharted land and to have had the unique honor of a well-known scientist say of his works: “These novels will not only entertain you like the best of Alexandre Dumas but will also educate you like the books of François Arago.”

Young or old, rich or poor, learned or uneducated, all will find both pleasure and profit from these excellent books of M. Jules Verne. They are sure to become friends to the entire family and will occupy a front shelf in the home’s library.

The illustrated editions of the works of M. Jules Verne that we are offering at an unusually low price and in a luxurious format show the utmost confidence that we have in their value and in the ever-growing popularity that they will achieve.

New works of M. Jules Verne will be added to this series, which we shall always keep up-to-date. All together, they will fulfill the intent of the author when he chose as their sub-title: “Voyages in Known and Unknown Worlds.”

The goal of the series is, in fact, to outline all the geographical, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science and to recount, in an entertaining and picturesque format that is his own, the history of the universe.

J Hetzel

(“Avertissement de l’éditeur,” Jules Verne. Voyages et aventures du capitaine Hatteras 1866, 7-8, IA)

English Translation of Prologue
by William Butcher:
This is W.B.'s translation of Hetzel’s announcement (the 1867 (sic: 1866) version, which differs significantly from a later version)

The excellent books of M. Jules Verne are amongst the few that can be offered with confidence to the younger generations. Amongst contemporary creations there are none that respond better to the generous impulse of modern society, finally familiarizing it with the marvels of the universe where its destiny is unfolding. There are none who better justified the rapid success they encountered when they first came out.

If the public’s fancy can be distracted for a while by showy and unwholesome volumes, in the longer term taste has only remained with what is fundamentally wholesome and good. What has especially helped the reaction to M. Jules Verne’s charming books is that they have both the qualities of substantial nourishment and the savour of the tastiest dishes.

The most qualified critics have acclaimed M. Jules Verne as a writer of an exceptional nature, to whom it was only fair to assign a new place in French literature from his beginning. A storyteller full of imagination and fire, a pure and original writer, a sharp and lively mind, the equal of any in the art of building up and resolving astonishing dramas, which give such great interest to his bold conceptions, and, on top of that, profoundly learned, he has created a new genre. What is so often promised but so rarely delivered, education that entertains and entertainment that educates, is prodigally provided by M. Verne on every page of his exciting stories.

The Novels of M. Jules Verne arrive at just the right time. When one sees people rushing to public lectures at a thousand places in France, when one sees that beside art and theatre criticism, space in our newspapers has had to be devoted to the proceedings of the Academy of Sciences, people really need to tell themselves that in our age Art for Art’s Sake is no longer enough, that the time has come for science to take its place in the realm of literature.

M. Jules Verne’s merit is to have placed his foot on this new land first, as a master; it is to have deserved what one illustrious scientist could say, without flattery, of the books we publish: ‘These novels, which will entertain you like Alexander Dumas’s best, will instruct you like François Arago’s works.’

Young and old, rich and poor, uneducated and learned—all will find pleasure and profit in making M. Verne’s excellent books family friends and giving them pride of place on their bookshelves.

The edition illustrated by M. Riou which we offer today at an unusually low price and in a format of true luxury demonstrates the confidence we have in both the work’s value, which we have the honour of popularizing, and the good taste of the public of every class and age, to whom we offer it.

After The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, composed of two parts, The British at the North Pole and The Desert of Ice, we shall publish successively Journey to the Centre of the Earth—revised, with several new chapters composed by the author—From the Earth to the Moon, and Five Weeks in a Balloon. M. Verne’s new volumes will be successively added to this edition, which we shall take care to keep up to date. Both the works already published and those yet to appear will in this way follow the programme the author resolved upon, when he gave his collected works the subtitle of Journeys in the Known and Unknown Worlds.

His aim is to sum up all the geographic, geological, physical, and astronomical knowledge accumulated by modern science, and hence to rewrite, in the attractive and picturesque form which is his speciality, the history of the universe.

J. Hetzel

(The illustrated single-volume edition of Hatteras of July to November 1866 contained an illuminating ‘Publisher's Announcement’ (1–2))


 
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