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Ubu Roi

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3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  2,437 ratings  ·  90 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.
Paperback, 80 pages
Published January 13th 2003 by Dover Publications (first published 1896)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Nov 03, 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)
Emily
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
Mazel
Merdre.

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
...more
Mahmood666
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.
شاه
...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
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
Phillip
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
...more
Gustl
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
Loretta
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.
Jared
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
...more
Steve
"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.
Jessica
Macbeth retold as an absurdist drama revolving around shit? Yes. As a matter of fact, that is what this play is about.
Anthony
by my green candle, this one's a wild ride. absurdist theater in the 1890's?
Letitia Grey
This is obviously an extremely early anti-naturalistic piece, perhaps the first play to be published... but it is seriously mental. Usually it is relatively difficult to decipher anyway, but this was just a struggle throughout. Maybe that is simply an indication of my small mindedness, but it is not an easy read at first. This'll take a few read-throughs to really understand the overall semiotics of the production. But, it's Anti-Naturalism all right! Insane, laugh out loud funny in bits, quite ...more
Paula
Apr 18, 2009 Paula rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert
Harsh satire without the nuance that I usually seek, but I read it because of its historical significance and because the play influenced some great Surrealist artists. This version, in English translation, is in handwritten script and the pages are covered with doodles and drawings. Ubu's language gets more idiosyncratic as the play goes on, and I wondered how it appeared in the original French.
Blair
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
...more
Lorena Beshello
What a grotesque character is King Ubu. He isn't dumb, he is just a coward, brutish, grotesque, pathetic... The adjectives aren't enough to define Ubu's person. It is this very character who develops such ridiculous situations like the murder of a king just because the lands aren't enough as an appreciation of his potential.

Another unique character is the queen Ubu, who tries to balance her husband's moods, and aims to have a say about his decisions and actions. King Ubu shows the core human na
...more
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
Shanil
Terrible.

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,
...more
Susan Lester
The best play I've ever read. The this vorticistic narrative follows king ubu on his path of destruction across Europe. Absurd, puerile and strange, yes. Bizarre? Yes. An excellent example of Vorticism and absurdist drama.
Berenice
what the fuck is this play?
And why did i have to read it for uni?
reading it in french was quite pleasant though. it been a while since I haven't been reading in my own language.
ah
it's better performed than read
it can be tedious sometimes if you just read.
I was lucky enough to watch the one that's well staged.
for the show itself, I would have given four stars.
Theut
A quasi vent'anni da quando lo vidi per la prima volta a teatro, la rilettura mi è sembrata ancora più eversiva e rocambolesca.
Zygmunt
The finest expression of Polish national identity you can find outside the works of the trzej wieszcze.
Edward Rosenfeld
I read this one a long time ago....was a fun read....
Ngan Ha
C'est hilarant ce truc!
Maddsurgeon
Found this interesting, but frankly I expected to be a lot more groundbreaking, a lot more vulgar, and a lot funnier, based on all the hype. A lot can happen in a hundred years, and I can see how it would have ruffled feathers in Paris in 1896. It's kind of entertaining as a crude cartoon, it's got echoes of Macbeth, Hamlet and Richard III, and the themes -- treating the middle class as blustering, greedy oafs -- seem to still resonate today. I would be interesting to see what someone would do w ...more
Dustin Reade
I am usually not a big fan of plays. They seem so...pretentious.
But Ubu Roi...well, it is something special.

First off: it is hilarious. The characters say and do the most ridiculous stuff and the social satire (of, y'know, France a really, really long time ago)is incredible.

Secondly: it is scathing. Offensive. There are swear words, sacrilege, blasphemy, heresy, and all around morally reprehensible behavior throughout.

This is the first bizarro novel.
This is the birth of Guignol.

This...is UBU RO
...more
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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
More about Alfred Jarry...
The Ubu Plays: Ubu Rex / Ubu Cuckolded / Ubu Enchained Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician The Supermale Adventures in 'Pataphysics Days and Nights

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