Two of Jules Verne’s plays have long piqued the interest of American readers, and are included in this volume in translation for the first time. Both feature Frenchmen, recently returned from the United States, discovering the ephemeral nature of wealth. In The Castles of California, the Frenchman has come from the California gold fields—has he struck it rich, or has he had the bad luck of most of the “Forty-niners”? In A Nephew from America, an unattached ladies’ man suddenly discovers that his late brother had a son in America, who is now an adult. And his new nephew is in love, and needs his uncle’s assistance. Will true love, and kinship, win out?
Accompanying the two plays is an afterword on Verne’s 1867 trip to the United States, and its lasting inspiration; some one-third of the author’s stories would include American characters, settings, or themes.
The book is profusely illustrated with original engravings from Verne’s time, and translation is by Kieran O’Driscoll, a leading expert on Verne in the English language.