Comedian Jamie Loftus recently posted a video commemorating the first year of her plan to eat an entire copy of the novel Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace, one page at a time. She's never read it. She's just eating it.
This caught my attention because, as it turns out, I've got a folder on my computer where I've been filing examples of people who eat books, aka bibliophagia.
I've already posted one of the examples here on WU. It was the case from 1926 of the boy who was eating his family's Bible
Then there's a report from 1936 of a schoolboy who, in order to win a bet of 20 cents, ate all 138 pages of "The Mountain Garland," a dramatic poem by Petar Petrovic Njegos.
The Uniontown Morning Herald - May 5, 1936
And a bunch of examples can be found in The Excursions of a Book-Lover
by Frederic Rowland Marvin:
In 1370 Barnabo Visconti compelled two Papal delegates to eat the bull of excommunication which they had brought him, together with its silken cord and leaden seal. As the bull was written on parchment, not paper, it was all the more difficult to digest.
A similar anecdote was related by Oelrich in his "Dissertation de Bibliothecarum et Librorum Fatis," (1756), of an Austrian general who had signed a note for two thousand florins, and was compelled by his creditor, when it fell due, to eat it.
A Scandinavian writer, the author of a political book, was compelled to choose between being beheaded or eating his manuscript boiled in broth.
Isaac Volmar, who wrote some spicy satires against Bernard, Duke of Saxony, was not allowed the courtesy of the kitchen, but was forced to swallow his literary productions uncooked.
Still worse was the fate of Philip Oldenburger, a jurist of great renown, who was condemned not only to eat a pamphlet of his writing, but also to be flogged during his repast, with orders that the flogging should not cease until he had swallowed the last crumb.