by Per Johan Moe
Decoding Verne’s Un Billet de loterie. Le numéro 9672 (1886)
– On the mysterious professor S and other real life persons,
that became models for characters in Verne’s novel The Lottery ticket.
This novel, set in Norway, is often considered just a romantic story in exotic surroundings, based on Verne’s own travel experiences from a visit to Scandinavia, 25 years prior to the publishing. Looking particularly on the context in which the novel was created, the purpose of this paper is to modify this view. Studies of the material Verne expressed having read about the country, such as the French travel magazine Le Tour du Monde, indicates that sharing his own specific geographical knowledge, was not a priority. Most such elements in the novel, is information that anyone could find, reading the same sources. So, first hand travel experience from the country, was not necessary to describe the journey that takes place in the book. Findings in Verne’s diary from the journey in 1861, suggests that he became aware of political events in society, taking place exactly when he was visiting Scandinavia. The development that the country was going through, may have been his main reason for waiting 25 years before publishing, placing the book in a period of his authorship, among other stories in a similar setting. In the 1880s Verne wrote several novels taking place in countries where a political liberation process was going on (AF/Greece, MS/Hungary, BL/Norway, NS/America, CF/France, FS/Canada). The novel about the people connected to the Telemark guest house, was published in 1886, but takes place in the years when Norway was starting to breake loose from union with Sweden. Comments in his 1861 diary, indicates that he met important politicians involved in this process. This presentation suggests possible explanations as to what and who may have been Verne’s inspiration when he modelled his characters in the novel.
[Works commented: MI/Michel Strogoff, 1876 – AF/L’Archipel en feu, 1884 – MS/Mathias Sandorf, 1885 – EC/L’Épave du Cynthia, 1884 – BL/Un Billet de loterie, 1886 – NS/Nord contre Sud, 1887 – CF/Le Chemin de France, 1887- FS/Famille sans nom, 1889]
Per Johan Moe (1956) is assistant professor at University College of Southeast Norway,
Department og Languages and Literature Studies.