Ubu roi

Even before he created the iconic portrait of his character Père Ubu shown here, Jarry was associated with that name. He often signed letters and articles with the moniker and assumed the Ubu persona in public, speaking in a staccato voice devoid of affect. At literary salons, he made a spectacle of himself with spontaneous remarks and recitations related to the Ubu dramas, which dated back to high school marionette plays. Another idiosyncrasy was Jarry’s use of the first-person plural to refer to himself, which he also did when speaking as Ubu; other times, he referred to himself in the third-person singular as Le Père Ubu.

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.