In Canada, Jules Verne, the great confined traveler

Jules Verne spent only 24 hours in Canada, near Niagara Falls.


Twenty-four hours in Canada. During a trip to the United States, Jules Verne spent only a short day on the Ontario shore admiring the majestic Niagara Falls. Enough to describe like no other French writer of his time the maddening snowstorms that erase the landscapes of the Far North, to tell the bear attacks and moose hunting, and to share the thrill that seizes the man lost in these hostile spaces.

From this unique excursion were born three “Canadian” novels which belong to this vast fresco of Extraordinary trips : The land of furs, an exploration and adventure novel north of the Arctic Circle published in 1873, Family-Without-Name, historical and political novel which chronicles the rebellion of the French Canadian Patriots against the British colonial government in 1837, and The Golden Volcano, published posthumously in 1906, an account of the gold rush in the Yukon Territory, near Alaska.

Read also Jules Verne in perpetual motion

Jules Verne was this writer who, comfortably installed in his home in Amiens, had this extraordinary gift of inviting his reader on a journey, without any need to have traveled around himself. A voracious reader, he drew on the specialized newspapers and periodicals of his time – he read about fifteen of them exhaustively a day and synthesized them on thousands of small files – the geographical, political, ethnological material which allowed him to nourish the truth of ‘a country recreated from a distance. And to free oneself from it.

Immersion in the frozen immensity

Maxime Prévost, head of the French department at the University of Ottawa (Ontario), works with his colleague Guillaume Pinson to unearth these little-known Canadian novels and to ensure their republication (at Garnier). “By going through the journalistic sources of Jules Verne, he says, we can reconstruct the imagination of Canada as it circulated in the 19th century presse century. But the writer seized on it to deliver his own romantic vision, and what is fascinating is that he in turn created a new imagination that will feed for a long time the vision that the French have of Canada. “

Cold snap guaranteed even today for readers of the Country of furs, and immediate immersion in the frozen immensity of the pack ice on which the occupants of the fort established by the Hudson’s Bay Company are trying to survive beyond the Arctic Circle.

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