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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 Self-Destruct Mechanism

The Self-Destruct Mechanism

Chapter:
(p.152) 7 The Self-Destruct Mechanism
Source:
The Mask of the Prophet
Author(s):

Andrew Martin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157984.003.0007

This chapter studies Verne's Robur the Conqueror. Nature, according to Robur, is already supremely mechanistic; the balloon on the other hand, is not really a machine at all. Trop-plein or the overload mechanism is a recurrent process in Verne's writing. Robur the Conqueror is characterised by a trop-plein of trop-pleins: the text is overloaded with overloads. The idea of the superficially radical Vernian prophet is actually a condition of fixity which will permanently abolish the future in favour of a protracted present, thereby rendering prophecy redundant. There is thus a recurrent motif of self-extinction in Verne's writing. From corrector in Robur the Conqueror, Robur has become, in Master of the World, in need of correcting. It is almost impossible not to discern in the illicit careers of Nemo and Robur the structure of Verne's own destiny and to discover in the itinerary of their vehicles a recapitulation of the Voyages extraordinaires.

Keywords:   Robur, trop-plein, Master, Nemo, Voyages extraordinaires

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