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Journey Through the Impossible

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Journey Through the Impossible (French: Voyage à travers l'impossible) is an 1882 fantasy play written by Jules Verne, with the collaboration of Adolphe d'Ennery. A stage spectacular in the féerie tradition, the play follows the adventures of a young man who, with the help of a magic potion and a varied assortment of friends and advisers, makes impossible voyages to the center of the Earth, the bottom of the sea, and a distant planet. The play is deeply influenced by Verne's own Voyages Extraordinaires series and includes characters and themes from some of his most famous novels, including Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and From the Earth to the Moon. The play opened in Paris at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin on 25 November 1882, and achieved a financially successful run of 97 performances. Contemporary critics gave the play mixed reviews; in general, the spectacular staging and the use of ideas from Verne's books were highly praised, while the symbolism and moral themes in the script were criticized and attributed to the collaboration of d'Ennery. The play was not published during Verne's lifetime and was presumed lost until 1978, when a single handwritten copy of the script was discovered; the text has since been published in both French and English. Recent scholars have discussed the play's exploration of the fantasy genre and of initiation myths, its use of characters and concepts from Verne's novels, and of the ambiguous treatment of scientific ambition in the play, marking a transition from optimism to pessimism in Verne's treatment of scientific themes.
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