Reader's Encyclopedia

Ubu roi (1896; translated as Ubu Roi, 1951)

A play by Alfred Jarry which grew out of a farce written with a classmate at fifteen to ridicule a pompous math teacher. A stylized burlesque, this play satirizes the tendency of the successful bourgeois to abuse his authority and to become irresponsibly complacent. The hero's scatological language and absurdly inappropriate posturings, along with his grotesque physical proportions, anticipated characteristics of the dada movement and, later, of the theatre of the absurd. Jarry wrote other, less successful parodies in the Ubu cycle collected in Tout Ubu (1962; translated as Ubu Plays, 1969).

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