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Ubu Roi
Alfred Jarry
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Ubu Roi

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  3,487 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
A stunning, controversial work that immediately outraged audiences with its scatological references during the 1896 premiere, the farce satirizes the tendency of the successful bourgeois to abuse his authority and become irresponsibly complacent. Championed as the first absurdist drama, Ubu Roi features a main character that is cruel, gluttonous, and grotesque.
197 pages
Published March 5th 2004 by folio classique (first published December 9th 1896)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Aug 19, 2013 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pantagruelists
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Chuck LoPresti
Shelves: new-directions
(view spoiler)
Like most of the participants in Ubu Week, I am at a bit of a loss when it comes to actually writing about Alfred Jarry's aggressively odd contribution to French theatre. Having only read the first play in the series, Ubu roi (which I understand is not the best), I am left with an impression of frat-boy humor that is somehow also a revolutionary step toward surrealism; a piece that invites comparison to everything from Shakespeare's Falstaff, to Monty Python's exploding man sketch, to some kind ...more
May 06, 2016 Sinem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
absürd ve saçmanın başlangıcı bir yazarın tüm uğraşının başı
Amy Hawthorne
Aug 15, 2015 Amy Hawthorne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This play is funny and absurd ~ as it's meant to be for an absurdist drama! The settings move about quickly, the action is fast paced and predictable, the characters are gluttonous and disgusting.

I have no idea how I feel about this kind of drama yet. The production I watched on youtube played on the filthy language and actions of Mama and Papa Ubu. It's cringe worthy, awkward but a real development in theatre at the time and I think when I've studied this play (as with most of the texts we stu
Jul 30, 2009 Mazel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: théatre

Ubu, monument de la dramaturgie française, s'ouvre sur ce juron étonnant qui trouve ses origines dans l'esprit moqueur d'un lycéen rennais.

Jarry n'a en effet que quinze ans lorsqu'il compose, dans la veine des gestes médiévales, cette pièce aux accents de grosse farce.

Ubu, héros de troisième ordre qui synthétise à lui seul tous les travers humains possibles, devient roi de Pologne par un régicide grotesque.

Son règne, sa déchéance et les savoureux dialogues qu'il échange avec la mère U
If John Waters-- not the JW of Hairspray or Cry Baby, but the down and dirty creator of Pink Flamingoes-- did an interpretation mash up of Macbeth and Julius Caesar... You might get something approaching this play. I had a different translation, one that the translator, David Copelin, called the only one "with balls."

Well, sheeyit! Funny, disturbing, gross... And the exploration of corruption, tyranny, and greed of man still very relevant, of course.
This was so... ridiculous! Or it's maybe that I just don't understand surrealistic literature, but you know what, I don't care one bit about it.
It was very easy to read, though.

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Jul 31, 2016 Kichi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing quite like laughing at something and then thinking deeply about it. Alfred Jarry makes you do this a lot in Ubu Roi. It's a brilliant satire on power playing in politics.
Nov 04, 2014 Mahmood666 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
سوریالیسم، بزرگترین کشف هنری درقرن بیستم ،در همان سالهای نخست قرن متولد گشت ولی سوریالیسم به رهبری اندره برتون خود وامدار افراد دیگری بود.یکی از افراد مهم که برتون ،پیامبر سوریالیست ها از او یاد میکند ،الفرد ژاری نویسنده و نمایشنامه نویس و دانشمند و نظریه پرداز فرانسوی خالق تفکر پاتا فیزیک است.الفرد ژاری به تنهایی با نوشتن تنها سه نمایشنامه ،دو رمان و چند مقاله به تنهایی راهگشای سه جنبش بزرگ قرن بیستم ،داداییسم ،فوتوریسم و سوریالیسم و همچنین ابزوردیسم نیمه قرن بیستم است.و شاه اوبو شاهکار او.
Mar 22, 2015 Roberto rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Ubu re” è un'opera teatrale di Alfred Jarry pubblicata nel 1896.
Un sovrano, Padre Ubu, cinico, ipocrita, meschino, vile, passa il suo tempo ad arraffare titoli e tesori, imprigiona nobili, giudici e finanzieri nei sotterranei perché vuole amministrare il paese facendo i suoi comodi. È caratterizzato da una assoluta mancanza di ideali e dalla concentrazione sul suo interesse personale. È veloce ad adattarsi a tutte le situazioni e a sfruttarle in funzione della sua convenienza. L’unica sua moral
Alfred Jarry is probably in my top 20 favorite writers & this is his most famous bk. It's also one of the ones that I find least interesting. It's basically juvenilia - striking in its clear rebelliousness & biting satire but not necessarily THAT great otherwise. Nonetheless, I HAVE 7 EDITIONS OF THIS - 4 IN ENGLISH, 1 IN SPANISH, & 2 IN FRENCH. & mon Français est minimale (et mauvais) & I don't speak Spanish at all. Each of the editions is interestingly different. This parti ...more
Wendy Crittenden
i do believe that this is the dude that we discussed in art h. methods seminar (though none of my goodreads friends were in that seminar) this past semester when we were reading examples of post-colonial art historical practices with a sociological approach. he was only briefly mentioned but as my group presented the article containing the blurb about him, i of course excitedly tripped on his mention and haven't forgotten about his absurdist approach to exploiting colonialism. i am a bit excited ...more
Absurd, childish, a catalyst for those movements which would embrace childish absurdity. It is not so much a work of literature as it is a subversion of everything previously revered in literature -- and for this reason, 'Ubu Roi' should be read. Its primary shortcomings are brevity and shallowness, which seem to be the result of the work's adolescent composition (it was originally penned during his childhood) and the obtuseness necessitated by its theatrical performance.
May 18, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Jarry's teaching could be summarised thus: every man is capable of showing his contempt for the stupidity and cruelty of the universe by making his own life a poem of incoherance and absurdity."

His last request was for a toothpick.
Oct 07, 2008 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
by my green candle, this one's a wild ride. absurdist theater in the 1890's?
Jul 24, 2007 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
Macbeth retold as an absurdist drama revolving around shit? Yes. As a matter of fact, that is what this play is about.
Laura Collins
I have no idea what that was...

I can see how it might be seen as clever and linking to absurd art movements at the time but it is not an enjoyable read... MEH
Ln Kio
Aug 04, 2013 Ln Kio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
C'est toujours bon de réviser les classiques... Et ici en 2h de lecture c'est bouclé. Une histoire à dormir debout, de par ma chandelle verte!!
Mar 19, 2014 Jared rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not technically a huge fan of surrealist literature (even though Ubu Roi predates surrealism, but it often attributed as the absurd which lead to surrealism...), but nevertheless I found the book somewhat interesting. Definitely not the best play I've ever read, but there were many attributes of it that I rather enjoyed, specifically the idea of the antihero and the power of prayer (or lack thereof?) throughout.

First off, I LOVE that Père Ubu is the main character but he's so unlikeable that you
Jun 26, 2016 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cette pièce est absurde, certes, mais malgré tout, il y a une cohérence entre les scènes et l'histoire a du sens. Ce n'est pas juste une accumulation totalement aléatoire d'éléments dans le but de créer un joyeux bordel. Je me rends compte que j'aime l'absurde qui se tient, et je pense que c'est pour ça que j'ai apprécié Ubu Roi et que j'ai ricané bêtement à plusieurs reprises.

Le personnage du père Ubu est juste dingue. Il prend des décisions en un claquement de doigts, tout en changeant d'idée
Jan 14, 2014 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comical. Vulgar. Absurdist. A few adjectives which come to mind to describe this play. Pere Ubu, the main character, is cowardly, lazy, despicable, comical, a tyrant, a bloodthirsty murderer, greedy, idiotic, a liar, manipulative. He reminds me of a particular politician currently running for the oval office. A particular Mr. Trump or at least the Trump persona. As politics goes this election season, the tale of this oaf could not be more relevant. It is as hyperbolic as any satirical piece but ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Paula rated it it was ok
Recommended to Paula by: Jean Baudrillard
Shelves: french, plays
Ubu roi is first and foremost a piece of theater and thus is better seen in performance than read. I first heard of this play during a lecture by Jean Baudrillard at Columbia back in 2005. Baudrillard claimed to be a pataphysician, a "philosophy" that he traced back to Alfred Jarry's Ubu roi. I don't claim to even now have a firm grasp of exactly what pataphysics "means" (neither Baudrillard nor Ubu roi were (are) particularly illuminating on the subject) other than that it purports to be the "s ...more
Feb 13, 2014 Phillip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
What's unique and interesting about Ubu Roi is that it is one of those plays that secured its fame because there were riots (later named the Ubu Riots) at its premier. Of course, for modern theatre goers, violence, sexual activity, and swearing are all common place, so I think Ubu Roi is not as shocking today as it certainly would have been when it was first performed and confronted an audience whose sensibilities were conditioned by a Symbolist aesthetic.

It seems like Jarry's goal was to stage
May 03, 2016 Dominick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Perhaps this plays well, but as a text is it pretty disjointed. There's not much in the way of plot; the action and characters seem designed more to violate and subvert expectations of action and character, and to be shocking (the first word is a slightly-misspelled "shit," quite shocking in 1896, and there's a lot of other deliberately transgressive stuff--by 1896 standards, anyway, though hardly by 2016 ones), than to do anything else. It's aggressively unrealistic, proto-absurdism, I guess, a ...more
Mar 01, 2015 C3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a play starts off with basically having the french word for "Shit" in its first line, I'm sold. But really, this whole thing is ridiculous. Pere Ubu is literally the most stupid, vulgar, cowardly, hypocritical, violent, and flawed character I have ever seen.

I loved reading it from beginning to end. Yes, Pere Ubu, swear by your green candle, give your guests a toilet brush covered with shit to eat, kill all of the ministers and then go collecting the money for yourself. Mere Ubu pretending to
Apr 20, 2014 Gustl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possiedo l'edizione Adelphi; che contiene le 4 commedie del ciclo di Ubu. Ubu è la marionetta più famosa del teatro francese subito dopo Guignol, che a sua volta si ispira ai burattini italiani. Le surreali vicende di Papà Ubu, sembrano uscite direttamente da quel capolavoro dell'assurdo che è "Gargantua & Pantagruele" di Rabelais; un mondo in cui il concetto di giusto e sbagliato è totalmente sovvertito, e dove la realtà si contamina col sogno, in un quadro allucinato e straniante. Il breto ...more
Apr 09, 2016 Mert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare tiyatrosunun parodisi olan Kral Übü'nün, biçimsel ve düşünsel olarak tiyatroya farklı bir bakış açısı getirse de tiyatro tarihçilerinin ve Avantgarde tiyatrocuların iddia ettiği gibi burjuva zihniyetinin tüm kemiklerini titreten bir eser olduğunu düşünmüyorum. Kapitalist üretim ilişkilerini yerinden oynatmadan, burjuvaziye sanatsal bir savaş ilan etmenin yolu bulunmuş ama bu durumu kimilerinin iddia ettiği gibi neredeyse Marksist bir açıdan ele almak imkansız.

Aslında eleştiriyi büyük
Sep 15, 2007 Blair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pere Ubu kills two characters with a toilette brush! Theatre can't get any better than that! All I knew about this play was as a resource from my readings on Brecht and that the 1896 audience caused an uproar when it premiered.

The play is not dated or has aged poorly. Any person living under the rule of a confused, generally stupid, grotesque and/or power-hungry leader can relate to this in some way.

The drawings done by Franciszka Themerson years later may give the reader an idea what viewing
Stephen Gallup
The first word of this play is a thinly disguised vulgarity (which sparked a riot when the play was first staged in 1896), the treatment of humanity is degrading, and the plot is a low-brow farce on great literature (most obviously, Macbeth). One may well ask whether the thing merits any consideration at all. I think there's a thin line separating the slapstick from the profound, and depending on how it's staged this play could probably be either. Pere Ubu has all the fatal flaws of all the char ...more
Jun 14, 2013 Shanil rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Picked it up as it keeps popping up in references relating to herald of the Avant-Guard...

It is junk. It's "purposeful" crude writing, childish adaptation of classic themes, and "structured" lack of structure... can also be found in the writing of uninspired teenagers all over.

My only plus out of this ordeal is that I now have an obscure reference to throw out and impress people... not because I want to impress people... but because the proponents of the movement that support this book,
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  • Complete Plays
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Alfred Jarry was a French writer born in Laval, Mayenne, France, not far from the border of Brittany; he was of Breton descent on his mother's side.
Best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896), which is often cited as a forerunner to the surrealist theatre of the 1920s and 1930s, Jarry wrote in a variety of genres and styles. He wrote plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism. His texts p
More about Alfred Jarry...

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“That's a beautiful speech, but nobody's listening. Let's go.” 7 likes
“I intended that when the curtain went up the scene should confront the public like the exaggerating mirror in the stories of Madame Leprince de Beaumont, in which the depraved saw themselves with dragons' bodies, or bulls' horns, or whatever corresponded to their particular vice. It is not surprising that the public should have been aghast at the sight of its other self, which it had never before been shown completely. This ignoble other-self, as Monsieur Catulle Mendes has excellently said, is composed "of eternal human imbecility, eternal lust, eternal gluttony, the vileness of instinct magnified into tyranny; of the sense of decency, the virtues, the patriotism & the ideals peculiar to those who have just eaten their fill." Really, these are hardly the constituents for an amusing play, & the masks demonstrate that the comedy must at the most be the macabre comedy of an English clown, or of a Dance of Death.” 4 likes
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