Intertextual connections through three Verne texts
‘Docteur Boek’ is the interesting person of the Verne diary – because with him we may have intertextual connections, through the three Verne texts:
‘Joyeuses misères’ – the diary – and the novel ‘Lottery Ticket’.
In the book, a Dr. Boek is built into the fictional text, possibly as a ‘thankyou’ and respectful gesture towards the real-life professor and member of parliament whom Verne met during several days in Christiania. In the novel he is made a friend of Sylvius Hog, the Norwegian professor & MP from Christiania.
The intertextual links, would then be, if I´m right;
1. Joyeuses Misères de Trois Voyageurs en Scandinavie,
«Mes deux compagnons s’étaient procurés de leur côté plusieurs lettres de recommandation pour les consuls français de Suède et un médecin de Christiana. Cela me paraissait fort inutile.»
(- but it did prove useful…..)
2. Verne Diary. Over four days (19th – 22nd July), Verne comments on seeing a doctor:
«visite du médecin» – «visite du docteur du matin» – «invitation du docteur pour le lendemain – «le docteur» – «conversation avec le docteur et un professeur»- visite à M. Boek á l`hopital […] les syphilisés»
3. The novel, Un billet de loterie: Sylvius´ friend; «le célèbre docteur Boek» – was called for to diagnose and treat Hulda, when sick.
Whether the comments in #2 all refer to the same person, is hard to say. And it is not clear whether Verne in fact needed a physician on the 19th of July, or if the three travellers had other reasons for getting in touch with the doctor-contact that Verne´s travel companions; Hignard & Lorois provided before departure from Paris.
Anyway, the keywords; ‘doctor’, ‘M. Boek’, ‘syphilises’, ‘hospital’ and ‘Eidsvold’ fits very well with the description of the Christiania (and Eidsvold) based doctor/professor of skin deseases; Carl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875) who was member of the Norwegian Storting (parliament) and was born in Kongsberg, the very city Verne was headed the week after.
Dr. C.W.Boeck may have provided Verne with local details and recommendations for the trip; like staying at widow Inger kristine Hansen´s hotel, and not at (the bigger) ‘Hotel des Mines’ in Kongsberg – and for selecting the southern route out of Kongsberg, going directly to Tinnes (Notodden) in Heddal, which apparently is the sole geographical detail of the novel not also mentioned in the Le tour du Monde -article by French travel writer Paul Riant.
Whether travel advices from Dr. Boeck was Verne´s reason for selecting this particular accomodation and choosing the southern road going over the ‘Meheia’ and not through the ‘Jondalen valley’ (in other words: not the standard northern one, which the writers P.Riant and later J. Leclercq used), will of course only be guesswork. But it is peculiar that in the novel Lottery ticket, Verne let his characters stop for some «brandevin» at ‘Hotel des Mines’ [F14a+b], the very same place that the French travel writer Riant refers to in his 1858 article in the magazine Le tour du Monde.
– then on the other hand, having given the mother and daughter of the Dal guesthouse the Hansen name, he may have wanted to keep information about dame Hansen´s hotel at Kongsberg to himself……
[more info, regarding Dr. C.W.Boeck,
can be found on the diary-page]
Boeck´s home, situated in the street which today is named after his family.
The building, Boeck´s st.3 – dates from the 1700s
Extracts from the diary
– and from the novel Lottery Ticket, no. 9672
Elements from JV-Diary in brown –
from Bibliothèques d’Amiens Metròpole, JV MS 12.
Many thanks to Volker Dehs on help in transcribing.
Friday, July 19 – 1861
02.30 in the morning, arriving Christiania and hotel Victoria –transfer to the Hotel du Nord. Meal served at 4. [contacting] doctor. Bank closed, church on the plaza – Fiat Lux on the [signboard close to the entrance].
Wagonride and excursion. Coming back to the hotel. Visiting the doctor, dinner consisting of 3 courses – At 19.30 theatre; “Lucie”
Having arrived in Oslo (Christiania) very early on the 19th, the three friends comes to the Hotel Victoria. This hotel is pictured and described in the book-version of the novel: Lottery ticket, no 9672. In this fictional text we can also read these same words: “fiat lux” which apparently could be found above the entrance of the hotel. The Victoria was the newest, and ‘the place to stay‘ at the time, but for some reason apparently the travel party was moved over to Hotel du Nord, which was also a very nice place. In the novel Lottery ticket the young main characters stays some days at a hotel in Christiania. In the magazine –version [Magasin d’éducation et de recreation] they are accommodated at the Hotel du Nord, in the book-version they stay at the Victoria.
The doctor in question could be the one that Verne tells about in his unfinished travel-book, describing the same journey to Scandinavia [Joyeuses Misères de Trois Voyageurs en Scandinavie (Paris 2003)]: During the preparations for the trip, his two friends receives a letter of introduction for a doctor in Christiania.
On his first evening in the Norwegian capital we understand that the musical theatre -involved Verne choses to go and see the play “Lucie”. Most likely this refers to a performance held at the Christiania Theater those July days. In the newspaper Aftenposten regarding that very Friday night, we find a commentary (see newsclip in Diary-article) about the Donizetti-opera: Lucie de Lammermoor.
Saturday, July 20
Not going out all day – visited the doctor in the morning – encouragement – Dinner at 14.00 – invitation for the next day to visit the doctor at his country house.
Sunday, July 21
Departure by the railway at 08.30 – return tickets on 1.st class, going all the way to the last stop at the mouth of the river, that runs down to lake Mjösa.
Arriving the train station at “Eidsvold” – [and then going further down to] the steam boat named «Dronningen» -[met by] the doctor.
Boat trip down to the riverfall – the rain stops – […] – rocks and water lilies – […] got a view of the torrents -not very impressing. Table where one could get some coffe – going back – Norwegian dinner.
Conversation with the doctor and a professor. In Norway, independent chambers – ‘pas de code’ – lois novelles / new laws. – promenade with the ladies down to the great waterfall – Return to the hotel – ‘adresse au professeur’
As we understand, after an interesting meeting with a doctor, Verne was invited to his country house in the region of Eidsvoll or Minnesund, at the southern end of Norway´s biggest lake; Mjösa. Going there, Jules Verne travelled by the very first railroad in Norway, which had just opened (in 1854) – going from Christiania to Eidsvoll.
(lake Mjösa still has one of the world´s oldest fully working steampowered paddlewheel-ships)
At Mjösa Verne apparently saw one of the first (the 2nd) steam paddle-steamerss in business at this lake: S/S «Dronningen» [meaning: « the Queen»].
Monday, July 22
Visiting Mr Benett – inspecting wagons and cabriolets – discussing the voyage to ‘Rjukanfos’- Then a visit to Mr. Boek at his hospital
[giving] syphilises treatment.
Mr Benett, or more correctly: Mr Thomas Bennett, was a well known travel agent in Verne´s days. And probably, as we can understand from the extended place Bennett´s agency is given in the novel Lottery ticket, he also organized the trip of the 3 French travellers in 1861. The ‘Rjukanfos’ is the name of the famous waterfall that Jules Verne intended to see, in the county of Telemark.
Mr Boek at the hospital, is a very interesting person indeed. We have heard about this doctor several times already in the diary, and most likely he is the ‘doctor in Christiania’ also mentioned in Verne´s travel book: Joyeuses Misères de Trois Voyageurs en Scandinavie.
Possibly he gave Jules Verne some suggestions regarding the trip to Kongsberg, Tinn and Dal during their interesting talk at the country house.
Anyway, Mr. Boek in the diary is of course the (fictional?) doctor-friend of ‘Sylvius Hog’ that Verne describes in the novel Lottery Ticket (1886):
«Wouldn’t you like my brother to fetch a doctor from Bamble?» inquired Hulda.
«A doctor! my little Hulda! Why! do you want me to lose the use of both my legs?»
«Oh, Mr. Sylvius!»
«A doctor! Why not send for my friend, the famous Doctor Boek, of Christiania? All this ado about a mere scratch, what nonsense!»
«But even a mere scratch may become a very serious thing if not properly attended to,» remarked Joel.
«Well, Joel, will you tell me why you are so very anxious for this to become serious?»
«Indeed, I am not, sir; God forbid!»
«Oh, well, He will preserve you and me, and all Dame [pg 67] Hansen’s household, especially if pretty little Hulda here will be kind enough to give me some attention.»
«Certainly, Mr. Sylvius.»
[– Monsieur Sylvius, dit Hulda, voulez-vous que mon frère aille chercher un médecin à Bamble ?
– Un médecin, ma petite Hulda ! Mais vous voulez donc que je perde l’usage de mes deux jambes !
– Oh ! monsieur Sylvius !
– Un médecin ! Pourquoi pas mon ami le docteur Boek, de Christiania ? Et tout cela pour une égratignure !…
– Mais une égratignure, si elle est mal soignée, répondit Joël, cela peut devenir grave !
– Ah ! çà, Joël, me direz-vous pourquoi vous voulez que cela devienne grave ?
– Je ne le veux pas, monsieur Sylvius, Dieu me garde !
– Eh bien ! il vous gardera, et moi aussi, et toute la maison de dame Hansen, surtout si cette gentille Hulda veut bien consentir à me donner ses soins…
– Certainement, monsieur Sylvius ! ]
“By the request of Sylvius Hog, his friend the famous doctor Boek, came to Dal to have a look at the sick youngster”
[Sur la demande de Sylvius Hog, le célèbre docteur Boek, son ami, vint à Dal voir la jeune malade]
Being now also a real-life person in the Verne diary, I am rather confident that this must be the Norwegian doctor/professor of skin-diseases: Dr. Carl Wilhelm Boeck (1808-1875). He is the person who is fitting the description best.
He was active in the years in question, and had opened his own hospital in Christiania treating syphilises from 1850. Professor C. W. Boeck was born and practised medicine for some years in in the mining town Kongsberg, and in fact was member of parliament, representing that region.
In my article on the novel Lottery ticket, no 9672 [L] – I comment on possible backgrounds for the whole gallery of persons in this novel. I argue that meeting Mr. Boeck was very inspiring model for Verne, and helped also to develop the main character of the novel; the professor & delegate Sylvius Hog.