13 Facts About Alfred Jarry


Alfred Jarry coined the term and philosophical concept of 'pataphysics.


Alfred Jarry wrote in a variety of hybrid genres and styles, prefiguring the postmodern, including novels, poems, short plays and operas bouffes, absurdist essays and speculative journalism.


Alfred Jarry's texts are considered examples of absurdist literature and postmodern philosophy.


Alfred Jarry's father Anselme Jarry was a salesman who descended into alcoholism; his mother Caroline, nee Quernest, was interested in music and literature, but her family had a streak of insanity, and her mother and brother were institutionalized.


In 1888 the family moved to Rennes, where Alfred Jarry entered the lycee at 15.


At 17 Alfred Jarry passed his baccalaureat and moved to Paris to prepare for admission to the Ecole Normale Superieure.


Alfred Jarry had meantime discovered the pleasures of alcohol, which he called "my sacred herb" or, when referring to absinthe, the "green goddess".


Alfred Jarry returned to Paris and applied himself to writing, drinking and the company of friends who appreciated his witty, sweet-tempered and unpredictable conversation.


Alfred Jarry moved into a flat which the landlord had created through the unusual expedient of subdividing a larger flat by means of a horizontal rather than a vertical partition.


Alfred Jarry later bought many of his manuscripts as well as executing a fine drawing of him.


Alfred Jarry died in Paris on 1 November 1907 of tuberculosis, aggravated by drug and alcohol misuse.


Alfred Jarry was interred in the Cimetiere de Bagneux, near Paris.


The complete works of Alfred Jarry are published in three volumes by Gallimard in the collection Bibliotheque de la Pleiade.