World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Émile Souvestre

Article Id: WHEBN0001873247
Reproduction Date:

Title: Émile Souvestre  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 10月25日 (旧暦), Stiffelio, WikiProject Missing encyclopedic articles/1911 verification/E2, The Groac'h of the Isle of Lok, List of dystopian literature
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Émile Souvestre

Bust of Émile Souvestre

Émile Souvestre (April 15, 1806 – July 5, 1854) was a French novelist who was a native of Morlaix, Finistère.

He was the son of a civil engineer and was educated at the college of Pontivy, with the intention of following his father's career by entering the Polytechnic School. However, his father died in 1823 and he matriculated as a law student at Rennes but soon devoted himself to literature.

He was by turns a bookseller's assistant and a private schoolmaster in Nantes, a journalist and a grammar school teacher in Brest and a teacher in Mulhouse. He settled in Paris in 1836. In 1848 he became professor in the school for the instruction of civil servants initiated by Hippolyte Carnot, but which was soon to be cancelled.

He began his literary career with a drama, played at the Théâtre français in 1828, the Siege de Missolonghi. This tragedy was a pronounced failure. In novel writing he did much better than for the stage, deliberately aiming at making the novel an engine of moral instruction. His first two novels L'Echelle de Femmes and Riche et Pauvre met with favourable receptions.

His best work is undoubtedly to be found in the charming Derniers Bretons (4 vols, 1835-1837) and Foyer breton (1844), where the folk-lore and natural features of his native province are worked up into story form, and in Un Philosophe sous les toils, which received in 1851 a well-deserved academic prize. He also wrote a number of other works—novels, dramas, essays and miscellanies.

In 1846, Souvestre published the ambitious Le Monde Tel Qu'il Sera [The World As It Will Be],[1] a full-blown dystopia and science fiction novel which featured some remarkable predictions. In it, a French couple, Maurice and Marthe are taken to the year 3000 by a man named John Progress on a flying, steam-powered, Time traveling locomotive. There, they discover the existence of steam-powered subways, submarines, synthetic materials imitating real wood, marble, etc., telephone, air conditioning, giant fruits and vegetables obtained through what we would call today genetic engineering, etc. The world is one nation, the capital of which is Tahiti. Parenting has vanished, because most children are removed from their parents and taken to places where eugenics, genetic manipulation, and different forms of education give rise to somewhat human grotesques tailored for specific tasks. Corporations have enough power to influence government decisions to ensure good profit margins. The medical community manipulates people to ensure that they are seriously sick when they enter, and conducts medical experiments on animals. This is paid for by cutting costs in the food the patients receive. No sympathy or encouragement is given to the poor or disabled. China has become inactive and listless, going into a steep decline after their socio-economic structure was ruined by opium, and wars and murders occur in Persia for idiotic religious reasons. Russia seems more or less a backwater obscurity, and Germany is a jingoistic nation that permits freedom while undermining it at the same time.

Souvestre died in Paris on July 5, 1854. His widow was awarded the Prix Lambert designed for the "families of authors who by their integrity, and by the probity of their efforts have well deserved this token from the Republique des Lettres."

French sculptor and Souvestre's friend Philippe Grass made his portrait on his tomb at the Père Lachaise Cemetery.


  1. ^ The 1846 first edition of Le Monde Tel Qu'il Sera was illustrated by Bertall, Penguilly and Prosper Saint-Germain.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.