Jules Verne’s “The Begum’s Millions” published in Persian

February 5, 2022 - 19:9

TEHRAN – French writer Jules Verne’s novel “The Begum’s Millions”, also published as “The Begum’s Fortune”, has been published in Persian.

Qoqnus is the publisher of the book translated by Farzaneh Mehri.

When two European scientists unexpectedly inherit an Indian rajah’s fortune, each builds an experimental city of his dreams in the wilds of the American Northwest. 

France-Ville is a harmonious urban community devoted to health and hygiene, the specialty of its French founder, Dr. François Sarrasin. 

Stahlstadt, or City of Steel, is a fortress-like factory town devoted to the manufacture of high-tech weapons of war. Its German creator, the fanatically pro-Aryan Herr Schultze, is Verne’s first truly evil scientist. 

In his quest for world domination and racial supremacy, Schultze decides to showcase his deadly wares by destroying France-Ville and all its inhabitants. 

Both prescient and cautionary, “The Begum’s Millions” is a masterpiece of scientific and political speculation and constitutes one of the earliest technological utopia/dystopias in Western literature.

The book first appeared in a hasty and poorly done English translation soon after its publication in French, one of the bad translations considered to have damaged Verne’s reputation in the English-speaking world. 

W. H. G. Kingston was near death and deeply in debt at the time. His wife, Mrs. A. K. Kingston, who did the translation for him, was certainly otherwise preoccupied than with the accuracy of the text and may have had to rely on outside help. 

In 2005 a new translation from the French edition was made by Stanford Luce and published by Wesleyan University.

Verne was a pioneer of the genre of science-fiction. He is best known for his novels “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, and “Around the World in Eighty Days”.

Verne wrote about space, air and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means of space travel had been devised. 

He is the second most translated author of all time, behind Agatha Christie. His prominent novels have been made into films. Verne, along with H. G. Wells, is often referred to as the “Father of Science Fiction”.

Photo: A copy of the Persian translation of Jules Verne’s novel “The Begum’s Millions”.


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