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Alfred Jarry (1873 - 1907)

Lifespan: 1873 - 1907

Related: absurd - pataphysics - theatre - French literature

Adventures in 'Pataphysics: Collected Works I - Alfred Jarry [Amazon.com]

Jarry invented a science called 'pataphysics. 'Pataphysics is the acceptance of every event in the universe as an extraordinary event.

Supermale (1902) - Alfred Jarry
[FR] [DE] [UK]

"The act of love is of no importance, since it can be performed indefinitely." With that remark, the gentleman adventurer Andre Marcueil sets into motion an outrageous plot of scientific experiments and technological heroism focused on author Alfred Jarry's trinity of obsessions: sex, alcohol, and bicycles. Like a mock Jules Verne, Jarry describes the manner in which the "Supermale" ultimately proves his claim; after 82 times with a woman, attending doctors hook him up to a machine instead, with whom he merges in the book's--and the Supermale's--final climax. This 1902 novel is, together with Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Patphysician (1898), one of the pillars of Pataphysics, Jarry's "science of imaginary solutions." --from the publisher


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 'Shit!'), 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 Raymond Queneau, Jean Genet, Boris Vian 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. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Jarry [Jul 2004]

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