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The Mask of the ProphetThe Extraordinary Fictions of Jules Verne$
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Andrew Martin

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198157984

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157984.001.0001

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The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

Chapter:
(p.27) 2 The Beginning of the End
Source:
The Mask of the Prophet
Author(s):

Andrew Martin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157984.003.0002

This chapter discusses the styles of Napoleon, Borges, and Verne in presenting their characters. It argues that perhaps the enormous number of novels in which the hero is tracking a vanishing target or tailing a suspect is a recollection of Verne's own energetic travels through the archives as he based his stories on other writers' works. It also discusses the characters in the Five Weeks in a Balloon. Verne's narrative, as it moves towards the end, invariably invokes a time when everything has already happened, where there is nothing left to come. It looks forward from the very beginning to the end of adventure. In this Verne is following Poe's advice to the effect that ‘all works of art should begin... in the end’. But Verne interprets ‘end’ in a definitive way as not just the ending, but the conclusion of all narrative and the dominion of silence.

Keywords:   Napoleon, Borges, Verne, Five Weeks, Poe

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