Jules Verne's textual mapping: plotting geography Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Mastro, Julia Elizabeth Ramaley
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • Jules Verne designed his series of Voyages extraordinaires around the premise of painting or depicting the earth. It is with this in mind that I explore the idea that Verne is a geographical writer whose style reproduces a voyage, or an itinerary, that creates overlap, or a space of communication, between the ordinary and the fictional worlds. The product of this overlap, or this style, is what I term the textual map, which is a metaphor for the reading experience as a compilation of movements through a geographical location described textually. The textual map differs from the literary map, therefore, because rather than linking to or identifying a location in order to assign it a relative place, it assumes a perspective that is at the ground level so as to describe movement through instead of over a geographical location. The textual map and the associated literary and geographical terminology express Verne’s style that is nonlinear, an amalgam of his own research, and the impressionistic manner by which he combines descriptive geographical visions to convey a space rather than a place, as expressed by de Certeau. Specifically, I concentrate on Deux Ans de vacances, Le Phare du bout du monde and En Magellanie, three of the Voyages extraordinaires and in which Verne visits the most southern area of South America. With each of these textual maps, Verne employs a textual legend, or a key to reading the geographical novel, and a way for the author to write a perspective that is part of the geography rather than a view of it from a distance. I classify three categories of the legend: the identification of the island location, the movements of the characters who inhabit the island and the author’s own narrative voice. Studying these aspects of Verne’s writing and the textual map, or studying Verne as a geographical author, allows for an interdisciplinary approach to reading an author who was himself interdisciplinary in the sense that he crossed traditional lines of discourse and applied his research in a product-oriented manner.
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  • Melehy, Hassan
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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