League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - CAPTAIN NEMO and the NAUTILUS

This image depicts an illustration from Jules Verne's adventure story entitled (in English translation) 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.  In the picture we see Captain Nemo, in his ship (the Nautilus), observing a stunning sight. The caption for this drawing, C'était un calmar de dimensions colossales, means (in English): "It was a squid of colossal dimensions."


One of the greatest adventure writers of all time was the Frenchman, Jules Verne (1828-1905). According to his publisher, Pierre Jules-Hetzel, Verne wanted to:

...outline all the geographical, geological, physical and astronomical knowledge amassed by modern science.

Modern science, for him, meant 19th-century information.

Verne published a science fiction story about space flight in 1865. It was called From the Earth to the Moon. He included an illustration of his fictional travelers experiencing weightlessness.

His original books, which often contained as many as 60 illustrations, were awe-inspiring to people who had never imagined air flight, space travel, journeys to the center of the earth or to the bottom of the sea.

At least one of the illustrations—from Autour de la lune (or "Round the Moon" in English)—was amazingly prophetic (see Chapter XXII).  Apollo 8's Frank Borman actually splashed down, in the Pacific Ocean, just a few miles away from the point mentioned in the book.

When he wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Verne introduced the world to Captain Nemo and to a fantastic underwater vessel he named the Nautilus. The original illustrations of Nemo (which, in Latin, means “no one”) were based on Jean-Baptiste Charras (historian of the 1815 battle of Waterloo who was, in real life, exiled in 1852). Scholars believe that Nemo's life, however, was based (at least in part) on the freedom fighter Gustave Flourens.

Verne—who had a beautiful home, with a courtyard, in Amiens (a northern French town famous for its 13th century Cathedral of Notre Dame)—was extraordinarily prolific. Because he and his wife Honorine lived to old age, Jules had time to create all kinds of awesome creatures appearing in many fantastic stories.  They are still enjoyed by people the world over.

Fifty years after the death of this visionary, the United States launched its first nuclear submarine. It was called Nautilus, after Captain Nemo's squid-fighting vessel of the same name.

As The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen combined fictional American and British characters to fight a common enemy, what was 19th-century life like in those countries? And how did the two nations—who had fought each other at the beginning of the century—get along at the end?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Jul 09, 2019

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"CAPTAIN NEMO and the NAUTILUS" AwesomeStories.com. Jul 01, 2003. Jan 29, 2020.
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