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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 One and the Many

The One and the Many

Chapter:
(p.55) 3 The One and the Many
Source:
The Mask of the Prophet
Author(s):

Andrew Martin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157984.003.0003

This chapter examines the meaning of the city in Verne's texts. The city has served as an enduring metaphor for language. Verne foregrounds the contrast between French and German cities. While Stahlstadt is the last word in pollution, France-Ville is scrupulously clean. France-Ville is explicitly envisaged as playing host to a human surplus, to a variety of languages and peoples. In his last published novel The Astonishing Adventure of the Barsac Mission, Verne demonstrated the continuity of his preoccupation with cities, but transported it to Africa. The city of language is subject to heavy gravity: it is hard to escape its pull. And it is of the nature of the Vernian city that it should swell and expand to encompass all other cities in a single unified empire.

Keywords:   city, language, Stahlstadt, France-Ville, Barsac Mission

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