“This series of high-quality paper covered books … Translations, essays, period illustrations all combine … We recommend all four (and this continuing series) to anyone who ever fell under the spell of the ‘Voyages Extraordinaires.’”
— J. Randolph Cox, “The Reference Shelf: Jules Verne, The Palik Series,” Dime Novel Round-Up, Vol. 81, June 2012, 99-100.
“Here are … new volumes published under the auspices of and with the support of The North American Jules Verne Society.… The editorial team includes distinguished translators and scholars of Verne. The whole project to date has not only produced these beautiful and thorough books but also opened up again the scholarly treasure chest of puzzles about how to translate Verne and what to make of the important writings of his that are not yet in English. I think that every library and every serious student of Verne and of SF and of French literature needs to get these four volumes and to sign up for what is yet to come. The work here and the scholarly activity behind it that continues tells us how misunderstood this very popular writer has been, and it is a major literary mapping of what is important to us as we try to sort out the relation of genre SF to mainstream literature.”
“Every text published here is new in English translation… the reproduced illustrations … [are] an added bonus…. These new volumes … will contribute to much more scholarly and critical work on the remarkable Jules Verne.”
— Donald M. Hassler, “The Rescue of Jules Verne the Writer,” Extrapolation 53.3 (Fall 2012): 379-382.
“Popularity and literary recognition do not often go hand in hand. The works of Jules Verne, one of the most widely read French authors in the world, paid the price for their success: free adaptations and poor translations all but obliterated the original quality of Verne’s complex oeuvre. … But if fanciful movies and shortened versions of Verne’s novels continue to flood the market, a number of scholarly editions have recently been published by Oxford University Press, Wesleyan University Press, and the University of Nebraska Press. The Palik Series, sponsored by the North American Jules Verne Society, joins these presses with a specific goal: to publish first-time English translations of Verne’s most overlooked works, plays, or short stories that throw a new light on the writer’s inexhaustible imagination. …
The series’ other titles, Mr. Chimp and Other Plays, Shipwrecked Family, Vice, Redemption and the Distant Colony, The Marriage of a Marquis, also offer a radically new vision of Jules Verne as a satirist with a touch of Rabelaisian humor, an entertaining Vaudeville playwright, a writer endowed with an imagination that continues to surprise and delight his readers. Upcoming Palik titles, Bandits and Rebels and A Priest in 1835, will further illustrate Verne’s initial literary ambition, to find his place between Balzac and Alexandre Dumas.”
— Marie-Hélène Huet, review in French Forum, Vol. 28, nos 1-2, 2013, 288-290.
“A wonderful new series of Verne translations, expertly edited and lavishly adorned with authentic 19th-century illustrations and cover art. Fans and newcomers alike will discover facets of Verne they never knew existed. Bravo!”
— Alex Kirstukas, author of a new translation of The Children of Captain Grant and Robur the Conqueror
“The ‘Palik Series,’ which began in 2011, is an original publication of Jules Verne’s texts. Under the guidance of Brian Taves, this project of the North American Jules Verne Society is in its eighth volume. This remarkable collection provides an opportunity for Anglophone readers to look back and highlight the uniqueness of the series, particularly the unfamiliar texts of Jules Verne, well translated, well documented, and with a variety of comments. An undertaking to be greeted and welcomed.”
— Daniel Compère, “Un Jules Verne inattendu : la collection Palik (Palik Series),” Verniana, Vol. 7, (2014-2015): 63-74.
“The whole project to date has not only produced a number of beautiful and thorough books but also opened up again the tangled treasure chest of puzzles about how to translate Verne and what to make of the important writings of his in this strange modern genre. All this activity continues to tell us how misunderstood this very popular writer has been, and it is a major literary mapping for us of what is important as we try to sort out the relation of genre SF to mainstream literature as well as to comprehend origins.”
— Donald M. Hassler, extracted from “The Tangled Bank that Writers Inhabit: New Windows on Jules Verne,” The New York Review of Science Fiction, December 2016, Number 340, Vol. 29, No. 4, 25-29.
Golden Danube and A Priest in 1835
”These two titles in the ‘Palik Series of Jules Verne’ represent the beginning and the end of his writing career. Golden Danube is one of a number of novels that were published posthumously but has not had a proper English translation until now. A Priest in 1835 was written in 1847 or 1848 when its author was 19 but was not published until 1992. This is the first English translation. We have chosen to review these books in the order in which they have appeared in the Palik Series and not in their original chronological order.
Golden Danube is truly an ‘extraordinary voyage’ as the hero travels on the Danube, a river that Verne takes some pains to explain to the reader is not blue as the composer Strauss called it, but yellow, and therefore the title he gave to this book is correct. Ilia Krusch is a fisherman who wins two contests: one for the most fish caught and one for the largest fish caught. He accepts his prizes and announces his intent to sail the entire length of the river, beginning at its source.
This is part an adventure story and part a travelogue with a mystery thrown in for good measure. There are smugglers in the area led by a man named Latzko. Ilia Krusch is joined at one point in his journey by the mysterious Mr. Jaeger, and the reader wonders whom he really is, Police Chief Karl Dragoch traveling incognito or Latzko himself.
The 36-page introduction discusses the history of the novel that was reworked by Verne’s son, Michel Verne, into a considerably different story and published in 1908 under the title Le Pilote de Danube. Nearly sixty years later, it was this version that I.0. Evans translated into English as The Danube Pilot. O’Driscoll explains the differences between the two versions including the lack of Verne’s light, humorous tone in the son’s work.
This little-known, posthumous novel shows little sign of it being the work of a man past his prime, though Ilia Krusch’s journey down the Danube is also Verne’s journey through the last years of his life.
A Priest in 1835 shows the influence of Edgar Allan Poe, which lasted through much of Verne’s life. The story opens in the gothic church of St. Nicholas, and the setting is described in great detail. It soon becomes obvious this is a detective story in the manner of Poe’s stories about C. Auguste Dupin published only a few years previously.
As the story opens, the great church, the bell tower, and the bell itself all become parts of the story. The bell tolls and the building begins to sway causing the bell to fall through the floor of the tower. While some people die, others are rescued.
All the main characters, including Pierre Herve, the priest of the title, are introduced in the first chapter and the mysterious events that will require explanation are also introduced. The reader is encouraged to keep track of the information that will make everything clear in the end.
Written at the beginning of Verne’s career, A Priest in 1835 is surprisingly mature in its style and structure.
A 64-page introduction discusses Verne’s debt to Poe in his earliest novel and the connection of the novel to his later works. It is a complex situation, and Danièle Chatelain and George Slusser do an excellent job to make it less complex. It is Verne’s skillful blend of detective and gothic fiction in this novel that leads to the scientific adventures that have come to be known to us as ‘science fiction.’ This is an introduction that warrants a close reading.”
— J. Randolph Cox, “The Reference Shelf,” Dime Novel Round-Up, Vol. 85, Fall 2016, 124-125.
“A work for Verne aficionados, theater buffs, or just those who enjoy a good story…. See another side of the ‘Father of Science Fiction.’”Here are three more reviews on this work.
— Washington Science Fiction Association