Jules Verne's Captain Nemo and French Revolutionary Gustave Flourens:A Hidden Character Model?
This article treats the recent assumption made by Vernian specialist William Butcher that Jules Verne's most famous character, Captain Nemo, is based on the French revolutionary intellectual Gustave Flourens (1838-1871), son of the eminent physiologist J. P. M. Flourens. Gustave Flourens fought in the Cretan insurrection of 1866-1868, later participated in the republican opposition against Napoleon III's imperial regime, eventually became a friend of Karl Marx and was finally killed as a general of the Paris Commune. By comparing step-by-step Verne's inspiration and writing procedures with Flourens' unfolding activities and fame, it is concluded that there is little basis for such an assumption. The article includes also a brief account of the Cretan question in the nineteenth century and of the deep discord between Marx's and Flourens' respective analyses of the Eastern Question.