Cimetière de Bagneux Bagneux, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France, Plot Division 23, Line 5, Space 5
Alfred Jarry (8 September 1873 – 1 November 1907) was a French symbolist writer who is best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896). He also coined the term and philosophical concept of 'pataphysics.
Jarry was born in Laval, Mayenne, France, and his mother was from Brittany. He was associated with the Symbolist movement. His play Ubu Roi is often cited as a forerunner of Dada, and to the Surrealist and Futurist movements of the 1920s and 1930. Jarry wrote in a variety of hybrid genres and styles, prefiguring the postmodern. He wrote plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism. His texts are considered examples of absurdist literature and postmodern philosophy.
In his final years, he was a legendary and heroic figure to some of the young writers and artists in Paris. Guillaume Apollinaire, André Salmon and Max Jacob sought him out in his truncated apartment. Pablo Picasso was fascinated with Jarry. After Jarry's death Picasso acquired his revolver and wore it on his nocturnal expeditions in Paris. He later bought many of his manuscripts as well as executing a fine drawing of him.
JJarry died in Paris on 1 November 1907 of tuberculosis, aggravated by drug and alcohol use. When he could not afford alcohol, he drank ether. It is recorded that his last request was for a toothpick. He was interred in the Cimetière de Bagneux, near Paris.
The complete works of Alfred Jarry are published in three volumes by Gallimard in the collection Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.