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On 21 January 1840, Dumont d’Urville discovered a huge expanse of land in Antarctica. He called it Terre Adélie as a tribute to his wife.
At fifty he had fulfilled his contract.
As a child, Jules Sébastien Dumont d’Urville already dreamed of making himself important in his native town of Condé-sur-Noireau. As an adult he made his mark on the first half of the 19th Century by taking part in setting up the Venus de Milo and in finding the vestiges of La Pérouse’s expedition in Oceania. At the head of the Astrolabe, the future contre- amiral, the last of a line of great sea discoverers, pushed back the impossible and explored new lands, from New Zealand to the pole.
Mountains and islands bear his name. A botanist, entomologist, philologist, hydrologist and ethnologist, this Norman navigator brought back hundreds of samples of unknown insect and plant species.
After risking his life a thousand times in shipwrecks, Dumont d’Urville perished in the flames of a train accident in 1841.
Thanks to long investigations and updating unpublished documents, Yves Jacob now presents a very interesting biography of this “fussy, disdainful, jealous and resentful when he came second” character, who nonetheless knew how to rise to the occasion.
Essayist, short story writer, novelist and historian, Yves Jacob has written thirty or so books. Twice winner of the Académie Française awards, he has received a number of literary prizes. An emblematic writer about Normandy, he has especially published Marie sans terre, les Anges Maudits de Tourlaville, and Meurtre au château for Presses de la Cité, successes with critics and public alike in France and French-speaking countries.