Uses of a body

A famous British chemist, Dr. Charles Henry Maye, tried to determine exactly what man is made of and what is man’s chemical worth. Here are the results of his scholarly research. The amount of fat found in the body of an average human being would be enough to make seven pieces of soap. There is enough iron to make an average nail, enough sugar to sweeten a cup of coffee. The phosphorus would yield 2,200 matches; the magnesium would be enough to take a photograph. There is also some potassium and sulfur, but the amount is too small to be of any use. Those various materials, at the current rate, would be valued at around 25 francs.

— Georges Bataille, “L’Homme,” in Documents [possibly quoting from Journal des Debats], 1929.

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