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Alfred Jarry

Alfred Jarry (September 8, 1873 - November 1, 1907) was a French writer born in Laval[?], Mayenne, France. He is best known for his play Ubu Roi[?] (1896), which is often cited as a forerunner to the theatre of the absurd.

His texts presents some early work in the themes of the 'absurdity of existence' and 'sensibilities'. Sometimes grotesque or misunderstood (remember the famous 'Merdre!' , meaning something like 'Shrit!'), he put his mark on a science called 'Pataphysics'.

Pataphysics is the acceptance of every event in the universe as an EXTRAORDINARY event.

If you let a coin fall and it falls, the next time it is just by an infinite coincidence that it will fall again the same way; hundreds of other coins on other hands will follow this pattern in an infinitely unimaginable fashion. -Jarry wrote thus.

French authors Raymon Queneau[?], Jean Genet and Jean Ferry[?] have described themselves as following the Pataphysical tradition.

He died of alcoholism and tuberculosis in Paris, France on November 1, 1907 and was interred in the Cimetiere de Bagneux[?], near Paris.


  • Ubu Roi[?] (English: Ubu The King, King Turd) written at age 14 as a puppet play
  • (two more Ubu plays, as well)
  • (other plays)


Other notable works:

  • Short story, "The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race," has been widely circulated and imitated -- notably by J.G. Ballard

is there really a movement called Jarivism, or is that just a joke by Jan Brusse[?]?

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