With his new novel, "Paradis perdus", Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt is embarking on "La traversée des temps", a literary epic which should have eight volumes.

The writer specifies Tuesday in "Media Culture" the contours of this saga which aims to retrace the entire history of humanity.

He has already sold 24 million books worldwide.

And that might just be the start.

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt publishes

Paradis perdus

, the first novel of

La traversée des temps

, a saga in eight volumes (an "octology") which will retrace, in time, the entire history of humanity.

The author of the most performed French-speaking theater on the planet tells, Tuesday in 

Culture Médias


this very ambitious literary project.


Lost Paradise

, the reader follows Noam, a prehistoric man who will prove to be immortal.

"Noam is the witness, and sometimes the actor, of the big changes and the big mutations which made our history", explains Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.

"So through a romantic story, I can tell the fault lines and the upheavals, the revolutions and the evolutions."

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A novel helped by the human sciences

Anyone who admits having embarked on "a crazy project" relies, for the framework of his novel, on the latest advances in history and science.

Thus, his character of Noam witnesses a "flood", as it is described in the Bible and in the legend of Gilgamesh, a Mesopotamian text dating from 2,500 years before Jesus Christ.

But not only.

"Researchers realized that the Black Sea was probably first a lake. When the Earth warmed up, the Mediterranean rose more than a hundred meters," explains the novelist.

"It then flowed into the Ukrainian plains and formed the Black Sea. There was not a flood not universal, as the sacred texts tell it, but a flood at a specific place, which was precisely inhabited by humans."

A plot born 35 years ago

But writing about prehistory (of which we have, by definition, no written record) is not easy.

"Much of our knowledge of prehistory was born thanks to anthropology and ethnology. That is to say by comparing us with civilizations that have never been touched by our culture," says Eric- Emmanuel Schmitt.


Paradis perdus

should come the volumes on Babel and Mesopotamian civilization, on the Egypt of the pharaohs and Moses, on ancient Greece, on Rome and the birth of Christianity, on medieval Europe and Joan of Arc, on the Renaissance and the discovery of the Americas, and finally on political, industrial and technical revolutions.


Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt: "I have my stories in my head for years"

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt has had time to mature his "crazy project": he has had it in mind since he was 25 years old.

"I was able to come up with the idea at 25, but I was unable to realize this idea," says the writer, who is 35 more today.

"I had to take possession of my romantic means, and above all I work to have the scientific, philosophical and religious culture necessary to write this story."

The passage of time 

is now well underway.

The novelist has already written a plot for five thousand pages, "with twists and surprises to the end", he promises.

He is in the process of completing the writing of the second volume.

The eight volumes could thus be released at the rate of one book per year.

"This is my editor's dream," smiles the writer.

"It might be mine too."