Ubu roi

Jarry’s revolt against norms onstage was equally apparent in his design for Ubu roi’s publication. The book was typeset in his Renaissance-style font, Perhinderion. The play’s lengthy subtitle, which referred to its origins as a high-school marionette play, was another echo of Renaissance printing practices. Jarry’s presentation of the seminal text of modern theater—with its radical mise-en-scène and shocking neologisms—was arcane, resembling early editions of canonic prose more than cutting-edge drama. It appeared six months before the play’s premiere.

Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), Ubu roi (Paris: Mercure de France, 1896). The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017. PML 197019.