Alfred Jarry

Definition

Theater

  • (1873 - 1907) French novelist and playwright, chiefly rememberedfor his farce Ubu roi (1896), which began as a collaborativeschoolboy satire on a physics teacher (see Père Ubu).Jarry's other plays include Ubu Enchaîné (1900), Ubusur la butte (1901), and Ubu Cocu (1944, written 1888),as well as the poetic drama César Antechrist (1894)and the farcical opera Le Moutardier du Pape (1907).

    In life, Jarry contrived an eccentric persona that was asbizarre as his work. A keen athlete and marksman, he was rarely seenwithout his rusty Browning revolver and carbine. Anyone who boredor annoyed him was liable to be dismissed with a fusillade of blanks.On more formal occasions he wore paper shirts, on which he would drawa tie. His favourite drink was said to be absinthe diluted with redink.

    With its savage mockery of the French bourgeoisie and blatantdisregard for theatrical form and convention, Jarry's work influencedboth the Surrealists and the Theatre of the Absurd. Jarrydied at the age of 34, largely as a result of his alcoholism. seealso 'pataphysics.

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