The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1825 to 1839

a “mégathérion” from Boitard’s 1836 article

   “Paris avant les hommes”
English title: “Paris before Man” (translated from French)
by Pierre Boitard
First publication: Musée des Familles—Lectures du Soir, Jun 1836 (Part 1) and Nov 1837 (Part 2)

Everyone from Jules Verne to John Connor seems to know of Pierre Boitard’s edition of Paris avant les hommes published in 1861, two years after Boitard’s death. The 500-page tome tells the tale of a limping devil named Asmodeus who takes Boitard himself on a journey through Earth’s natural history.
What’s less well known is that 25 years earlier, Boitard’s initial version—yes, including the time-traveling Asmodeus—appeared as a 44-page, two-part article in the family magazine Musée des Familles—Lecture pour Tous. I stumbled upon this in Jean Le Loeuff’s November 2012 blog, Le Dinoblog.

 To this question, the devil burst into laughter, waking them. The female ran about on all fours, carrying under her belly the little ones, clinging with all their might; but the male uttered a fierce gutteral roar, fixed his eyes upon me, stood upright on his hind legs, and raising high his flint ax, rushed toward me with a furious leap, swinging the deadly weapon at my head.
At that moment, I uttered a cry of terror because I had no choice but to recognize exactly what kind of monster he was . . . He was a man.
 

—from the end of Part 1


Pierre Boitard, Master Traveller

This 1836 article is the earliest that I’ve spotted of a man traveling to the past. So cheers to Pierre and his well deserved Master Traveler Citation.




No Time Travel.
Move along.
“The Fountain of Yonder” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Knickerbocker, Jan 1837 [fountain of youth ]
aka “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”





   “An Anachronism;
or, Missing One’s Coach”

by Anonymous Dublin University Author
First publication: The Dublin University Magazine, Jun 1838

A man, waiting for a coach in Newcastle, finds himself taken through time and face to face with Saint Bede, whereupon a philosophical conversation about time and the future ensues.

 It must suffice then to say that, at the point where I come again into perfect possession of my consciousness, the venerable monk and I were conferring, in an easy manner, upon various points connected with his age, or with mine, and both of us having a clear understanding, and perfect recollection of the fact, that, at this same moment, he was actually living in the eighth century, and I as truly in the nineteenth; nor did this trifing difference of a thousand years or more—this break, as geologists would call it—this fault in the strata of time—perplex either of us a whit; any more than two friends are molested by the circumstance of their happening to encounter each other just as they arrive from opposite hemispheres. 


Anonymous Dublin University Author, Master Traveller

Here’s one time (of many) when I wish I did have a time machine so that I could go back to 1838 Dublin, track down the anonymous author of this story, and present him or her with a well-deserved Master Traveller Citation, which recognizes creative innovation in time travel. In his 1951 anthology, Far Boundaries, August Derleth identified this story as a forerunner of modern time travel fiction, and indeed, the hero of the story may be the first backward time-traveling human (given that Boitard’s 1836 version of Paris avant les hommes might not have included the time traveler). Even if Boitard was first, this story deserves a citation for being the first to travel back to visit an actual historical person.

The mechanism of travel in “Anachronism” is via a dream-like state, and at first there is the question of whether the traveler can interact with those in the past. But for me, the discussion he has with Saint Bede puts that question to bed and also guarantees the anonymous author a Master Traveler Citation.



 


3 items are in the time-travel list for these search settings.
Thanks for visiting my time-travel page, and thanks to the many sources that provided stories and more (see the Links and Credits in the menu at the top). —Michael (
main@colorado.edu)