Alfred Jarry, the grandaddy of Surrealism and the Theatre of the Absured, the First 'Pataphysician, the creator of Ubu Roi, that deathless slapstick oratorio, lived a short (1873-1907), bizarre, magical life, which has since become almost legendary. His writings, which people in the arts often hear about but rarely have occasion to read (in translation, anyway), are now retrospectively gathered in a wonderful, delightfully exacerbating, extremely representative collection. Through them--from Cyril Connolly's sleek, funny version of Ubu Cocu to the various unorthodox speculations about Time, God Religion, Dreams, the Theatre and the mock-historical tales or the scientific fantasy-making of Faustroll -- one can discern much of the current modernist landscape: Ionesco, the Black Humorists, the anti-novel-above all, the contemporary imaginative sensibility which presents the madcap satirical in the service of the deadly serious, hallucinatory effects mixed with everyday notations. Jarry--the cafe cut-up, the tireless innovator who guzzled absinthe spiced with red ink, the dedicated spirit who debunked dedication--was way ahead of his time. His Selected Works are now right on the button. A joy.