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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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Death from Dyeing

Death from Dyeing

Chapter:
(p.104) 5 Death from Dyeing
Source:
The Mask of the Prophet
Author(s):

Andrew Martin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157984.003.0005

This chapter studies Verne's Tribulations of a Chinaman in China. In this novel, Verne appears to be obliquely exploring some of the pleasures and perils of his own vacation. The mirror-image of Tribulations, Michel Strogoff, similarly tracing the adventures of a text, depends on the delivery of a letter to save a life and preserve the Empire. Tribulations is an archetypal work in the Vernian canon. It plots the passage of an isolated being through a network of interchanges to fusion in marriage with another individual. These extreme conditions of individualisation and integration both seem to be intolerable in Verne's system. The text at the centre of Tribulations is effectively a suicide note; but in Verne, the art of letters, and writing in general, is always potentially suicidal.

Keywords:   Tribulations, Michel Strogoff, individualisation, integration

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