|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.