Victor Hugo's "Toilers of the sea" (1866) - Transition from sail to steam

Victor Hugo grasped the public sentiment on how the people saw steamships during the transition from sail to steam, the first major technological challenge that the shipping industry faced.
It is quite an interesting passage.

“The savants had rejected steamboats as impossible; the priests had anathematized them as impious. Science had condemned, and religion consigned them to perdition. Fulton was a new incarnation of Lucifer. The simple people on the coasts and in the villages were confirmed in their prejudice by the uneasiness which they felt at the outlandish sight.”


Yes and that’s actually quite interesting to see how people eventually welcomed the reliability and regularity of steam vessels and how it changes the life of the Channel Island.
Hugo also made a great work in describing La Durande and used the right technical terms, he showed more than interest for naval architecture and navigation.


@Adrien56 Indeed! Personally i think that this is amazing and proves the great mental capacity of Victor Hugo. He could understand and describe concepts that were out of his field. He was not like Joseph Conrad (another genius) who was familiar with ships and the life at sea, as a Master Mariner.
In Greece we have a similar example of a famous writer named Karagatsis who in his book “The Great Chimera” describes with excellent technical detail how a Greek ship management company of the 1920’s was run and the challenges faced onboard and ashore.

Thank you for the reading advice Paraschos, I have just added “La Grande Chimère” to my reading list.

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