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Louis Figuier (1819–94) was destined to remain in academia until disagreements with fellow scholars led him to abandon this path and instead pursue 'the idea that scientific knowledge, which until then had been almost exclusively the property of the learned, should be put within the reach of the reading public'. Published in 1863, La Terre avant le déluge became a classic of popular science and introduced palaeontology to a wider readership; that this English translation appeared only two years later is an indication of its impact. Figuier wrote that his aim was 'to trace the progressive steps by which the earth has reached its present state … and to describe the various convulsions and transformations through which it has successively passed'. The book was also celebrated for its inclusion of more than 200 illustrations by a pupil of Doré, Édouard Riou (1833–1900), who became famous as Jules Verne's illustrator a few years later.