Jules Verne’s manuscripts were written in longhand on the left half of the page. The right half was reserved for other purposes.
His publisher, Jules Hetzel sometimes wrote comments in the right margin, said Agnes Marcetteau, director of the Jules Verne Museum in Nantes, France.
The original manuscript for Paris in the 20th Century, which is kept in the city library, showed angry scribbling from the publisher.
“Unpleasant word,” wrote Hetzel. “Wrongly done. Especially for a start.” Another time the publisher commented, “No one will ever believe what you write.”
At one point Verne described a medical dissection in gory detail. “It is out of the question. It is shocking,” complained the publisher.
Ms. Marcetteau gently turned the pages of precious manuscripts for Mysterious Island and From the Earth to the Moon. The right margin was full of corrections, comments, diagrams, and mathematical calculations.
Around the World in 80 Days required careful reckoning, because the story was released in serial form. The count of the mileage and the tally of days fills the right margin. It all had to come out right for the story to work.
Jules Verne Museum