Tuesday, September 23, 2014
New from the Southern History Department: Book of the Month
Texar’s Revenge or North Against South
By Jules Verne
When most people hear the name Jules Verne they think of books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or A Journey to the Center of the Earth. But did you know Verne wrote a novel about the American Civil War? Originally published as Nord Contre Sud (North Against South) in French, the novel has various titles in English translations. The straightforward North Against South became a subtitle in the first American edition, with Texar’s Vengeance as the title, which was then changed to Texar’s Revenge. One can only speculate about the motives of the translators and publishers who made the changes; the revenge element seems more immediate and gripping than the general “north against south,” especially to readers for whom the Civil War would still be a vivid memory when this novel was published in 1887.
The heart of the story is the feud between Texar and his adversary Burbank. Texar is a pro-slavery Southerner and Burbank is a Northerner and anti-slavery advocate, a natural object of suspicion in the community near Jacksonville, Florida where the novel takes place. Apparently Burbank has caused legal problems for Texar in the past and the vindictive Southerner takes every opportunity to wreak havoc in the life of his Northern enemy; Verne makes it clear early in the novel that Texar is not the forgiving sort:
“Texar was then about thirty-five . . . A Spaniard by birth, he did not hide his origin. His hair was black and coarse, his eyebrows thick, his eyes greenish, his mouth large, with thin indrawn lips, as if it had been made by a sabre-stroke, his nose short, and his nostrils like those of a wild beast. His whole physiognomy denoted craft and violence . . .
“Nevertheless, if Texar was better known than respected, that did not prevent his exercising a real influence in the county, and particularly at Jacksonville, although it was, it is true, among the least reputable inhabitants.”
Apparently the responses to the novel ranged from lukewarm to derisive due to Verne’s inaccurate grasp of Civil War history. Nevertheless, the existence of Texar’s Revenge shows us a completely different side to the Jules Verne who is best known as one of the founders of science fiction.
To examine this title for yourself, visit us in the Southern History Department of Birmingham Public Library.
Mary Anne Ellis
Southern History Department
Southern History Book of the Month: Magic City Cravings: The Most Requested Recipes from Birmingham Restaurants Then & Nowby Mary Anne Ellis, Southern History Department , Central Library Magic City Cravings: The Most Requested Recipes from Birmingham Restau...
What: #1960Now photography exhibit When: October 20-December 1, 2017 Where: Fourth Floor Gallery, Central Library Details: Fr...
by Pat Rumore These days you can explore the library without leaving your home. Over the last couple of years I have downloaded sever...
by June Lacanski, North Birmingham Regional Branch Library Spike laughs at his own jokes Interviewer: Today we are visiting with Spi...
by Karnecia Williams, Inglenook Branch Library As beautiful and romantic as this time of the year is, it carries with it a few challeng...