Ubu roi, texte et musique

Jarry capitalized on Ubu roi’s notoriety by issuing a facsimile of the manuscript the following year. For the edition, he rendered in pen and ink the text, title, and every ornament as well as his two portraits of Ubu. He also incorporated Claude Terrasse’s incidental music and shared credit with the composer on the cover. Jarry used the opportunity to describe his ambitious plans for an orchestra—which, in performance, had amounted to little more than a piano and some timpani.

Of his cycle of full-length plays—Ubu roi, Ubu enchaîné, and Ubu cocu—only the first was performed during Jarry’s lifetime. Ubu enchaîné was published in 1900, however, as an addendum to the second edition of Ubu roi. This version bore no traces of Jarry’s idiosyncratic illustrations or inventive book design. By that point, Jarry had switched publishers and had ceded the role of Ubu’s iconographer to Terrasse’s brother-in-law, the painter Pierre Bonnard.

Alfred Jarry (1873–1907) and Claude Terrasse (1867–1923), Ubu roi, texte et musique, facsimile autographique (Paris: Mercure de France, 1897). The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017. PML 197020.