From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Alphonse Allais (20 October 1854 – 28 October 1905) was a French writer and humorist born in Honfleur, Calvados, but is perhaps best-known today for his set of monochrome images, the Album primo-avrilesque (April fool-ish Album).
He is the author of many collections of whimsical writings. A poet as much as a humorist, he in particular cultivated the verse form known as holorhyme, i.e. made up entirely of homophonous verses, where entire lines rhyme. For example:
- par les bois du djinn où s'entasse de l'effroi,
- parle et bois du gin ou cent tasses de lait froid.
Allais is also credited with the earliest known example of a completely silent musical composition. Composed in 1897, his Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man -- consisting of nine blank measures -- predates comparable works by John Cage and Erwin Schulhoff by a considerable margin.
- À se tordre 1891
- Vive la vie!, 1892
- Deux et deux font cinq, 1895
- Amours, délices et orgues, 1898
- Ne nous frappons pas (literally Let's not hit ourselves), 1900
- Marche Funèbre composée pour les Funérailles d'un grand homme sourd.
- Funeral March for the Last Rites of a Deaf Man.
- A piece consisting of 24 empty bars.