Author: P. Gagne
Type: A Posteriori
Paulin Gagne was, as the author of An Englishman in Paris (1892) described him "mad as a March hare, but a man of education and with an infinite fund of sympathy for humanity." He was a lawyer who, after losing his first and only case, turned to poetry. He is known for writing the longest poem in the French language, the 25,000-verse L'Unitéide ou la Femme Messie (The Uniteide or the Messiah Woman). He also published unusual journals dealing with supernatural concerns and radical social proposals and "provided the Parisians with amusement for years, in his capacity as a perpetual candidate for parliamentary honors." During the 1868 Algerian famine he proposed a "philanthropophagic constitution" under which people could elect to become "sacrifice savers," donating their own flesh as food. If a person preferred not to die for the cause, he could choose to donate just an arm or a leg. He suggested that all journalists and people over 60 ("A human being over sixty is neither useful nor ornamental," he argued) volunteer their whole bodies. Gagne, himself sixty years old, offered to go first. However, no one took him up on his offer, and he lived on to shock and entertain the citizens of Paris for another eight years.