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Alfred Jarry, 1873-1907

French dramatist and satirist who is mainly known as the creator of the grotesque and wild satirical farce "Ubu Roi" written in 1896 (also "King Ubu") which was a forerunner of Theatre of the Absurd.

He wrote in many different styles and his work include both plays, novels and poetry as well as journalism.

He was known at the Parisian cafés for drinking a lot, and it is rumoured that a couple of bottles of wine and 5-10 absinthes - which he referred to as "the Green Goddess" - a day, was nothing unusual. Alledgedly he once painted his face green and rode through town on his bicycle in the honour of absinthe.

Alfred Jarry (8 September 1873 – 1 November 1907), a French writer best known for his play Ubu Roi. At the age of 15, Jarry wrote the play "Les Polonais" together with a friend. The main character of Les Polonais, "Père Heb", would later evolve into Ubu.

At the age of 17 Jarry moved to Paris to try and be admitted into École Normal Supérieure but failed to be admitted. Even so he was soon recognized for his original poems. Already at age 20, in 1893, he had a collection of this work published; Les Minutes de Sable Mémoriale.

In Paris Jarry had found a great friend in alcohol. He was a heavy drinker and was more than happy to enjoy glass after glass of absinthe. Absinthe, which he named "The Green Goddess".

After military service and back in Paris, in 1896, his play Ubu Roi was played on stage for the first time. It created such a controversy that only the rehearsal and the opening night were the two times it was ever played during his lifetime.

In 1907, at only 34 years of age, Alfred Jarry died from tubercolosis, aggravated by drug and alcohol abuse. After Jarry's death Pablo Picasso bought his old pistol and later also many of his old manuscripts.


Written by Markus Hartsmar

- absinthe books and poetry -

Many writers "of old" wrote poems or passages about absinthe. Some drank it, some didn't. Find some of them here as well as reviews and notes on modern books about absinthe.  


- latest news and additions -

The Absinthe Poetry section has seen several updates the past days. Poems and information about more authors; Antonin Artaud, Arthur Symons, Francis Saltus Saltus, Florence Folsom and Robert Loveman. Open your mind and have a drink while you enjoy their lyrics. 


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