Tosh's Reviews > Alfred Jarry

Alfred Jarry by Jill Fell
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Mar 19, 11

Read from January 13 to March 19, 2011

The Reaktion Books "Critical Lives" series is an excellent introduction to the avant-garde 19th and 20th Century. One of the latest ones, Jill Fell's "Alfred Jarry," is a very important and equally enjoyable bio on this great French writer/playwright.

The inventor of "the play/puppet play Ubu Roi" and "pataphisics" the study and school of nonsense. Also a man who is fond of guns and racing bicycles. In fact that was his one mode of traveling around France. He as the heart of fin de siécle, yet he died a very early death to excess drinking.

Reading this 200 page bio makes me want to go back into the world of Jarry, who was one of the father's of DADA and Surrealism. For sure a major influence on Boris Vian - and actually, Jarry was very much of a boho 1960's European figure. I can imagine him being involved with the Living Theater. But alas 60 years too early! Its a shame that he didn't live to see what he brought to the world.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert I've been out of the loop and would have missed this, so thanks for the head's up. Jarry deserves a wider audience. As you point out, he was at the heart of the fin de siécle, yet is timeless and timely.


Tosh And this little biography is a must-read. The whole series is great.


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