Alfred Jarry

Alfred Jarry

French writer and playwright
Date of Birth: 08.09.1873
Country: France

  1. Biography of Alfred Jarry
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Writing Career
  4. Personal Life and Death

Biography of Alfred Jarry

Alfred Jarry was a French writer and playwright, known for his eccentric personality and unique literary style. Born in Laval, Mayenne, France, Jarry exhibited exceptional talent from a young age. He excelled in both academics and mischievous pranks, which later influenced his famous character, Ubu, in his play "Ubu Roi."

Early Life and Education

Jarry was born in Laval, Mayenne, France, near the border with Brittany. His mother's lineage was Breton, which played a significant role in his artistic development. Even in school, Jarry displayed immense talent and intelligence. In his teenage years, he wrote and performed a play called "Père Heb," which parodied their overweight physical education teacher.

At the age of 17, Jarry moved to Paris, where he attempted to gain admission to the prestigious École Normale Supérieure. However, he was unable to pass the entrance exams. Nevertheless, Jarry quickly gained recognition as a talented poet and writer.

Writing Career

In 1893, Jarry published his first collection of works, "Les minutes de sable mémorial." The same year, his parents passed away, leaving him a small inheritance that he quickly squandered. Jarry's fondness for alcohol, particularly absinthe, contributed to his reckless lifestyle.

In 1894, Jarry enlisted in the French army, but his lack of discipline and eccentric behavior caused him to be expelled for medical reasons. His experience in the military later served as inspiration for his novel "Days and Nights." Upon returning to Paris, Jarry continued to write and indulge in his vices.

In 1896, Jarry achieved true fame with the publication of his play "Ubu Roi." The play's wild and absurd humor captivated French theatergoers. The character Ubu was partly based on Jarry himself, and he began to adopt Ubu's characteristics in real life.

Personal Life and Death

Jarry's eccentricity extended to all aspects of his life, including his living arrangements. He divided his rented apartment into two parts using a horizontal partition, allowing him to comfortably fit in the tiny space while guests had to crawl or crouch to move around.

Despite the success of "Ubu Roi," Jarry lived in poverty and struggled with his health. His reckless behavior, including heavy drinking and ether consumption, worsened his already fragile health. Jarry's abrasive personality also led to falling out with many of his friends and acquaintances.

Alfred Jarry tragically passed away at the age of 34 on November 1, 1907, in a Parisian hospital. Tuberculosis, worsened by his substance abuse, was the cause of his death. Despite his short life, Jarry's unique literary contributions continue to be celebrated and studied today.