Advertisement

Jerome K. Jerome’s Humoristic Idleness in Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog!) (1889): Lightness and Longing

  • Heidi LiedkeEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter analyses in what ways idleness manifests itself in Jerome’s text both on the level of content and style. On the level of content, the protagonists are self-proclaimed idlers who relate humorous anecdotes, have an aversion to work and are bored and perhaps even disappointed in progress and modern civilization. Presenting a connection between mental inactivity and physical exercise, the chapter also identifies moments when the different types of physical activity on the river create experiences of “flow” which then lead to a heightened awareness and expanded perception. Secondly, Liedke treats the text itself as an idle text in the sense that it draws attention to its own structural lightness by being written in a jagged style and draws intertextual connections to Charles Dickens Jr.’s Dictionary of the Thames.

References

  1. Baker, Lee. 1994. “Jerome K. Jerome (1859–1927).” In British Short Fiction Writers, 1880–1914: The Realist Tradition, edited by William B. Thesing. Dictionary of Literary Biography 135, 205–11. Detroit and London: Gale Research.Google Scholar
  2. Batts, John S. 2000. “American Humour: The Mark of Twain on Jerome K. Jerome.” In The Victorian Comic Spirit: New Perspectives, edited by Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, 91–113. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  3. Böker, Uwe. 1979. “English Visitors to Oberammergau. Amelia Matilda Hull, Jerome K. Jerome, Graham Greene.” Bavarica Anglica. A Cross-Cultural Miscellany 1 (8): 205–24.Google Scholar
  4. Borrow, George. 1865. Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  5. Buzard, James. 1997. “Ethnography as Interruption: News from Nowhere, Narrative, and the Modern Romance of Authority.” Victorian Studies 40 (3): 445–74.Google Scholar
  6. Byerly, Alison. 2013. Are We There Yet? Virtual Travel and Victorian Realism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  7. Carey, John. 1992. “George Gissing and the Ineducable Masses.” In The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia, 1880–1939, 93–117. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  8. Dickens, Charles, Jr. 1888. Dickens’s Dictionary of the Thames, from Its Source to the Nore. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Field, Wilford J. 1894. “Holiday Papers.” Bow Bells: A Magazine of General Literature and Art for Family Reading (8 June): 569–70. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, Michel. 1986. “Of Other Spaces.” Diacritics (Spring): 22–27.Google Scholar
  11. Fowkes, Charles. 1977. “Introduction.” In Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, 5–13. London: Spring Books.Google Scholar
  12. Fulford, Tim. 2011. Talking, Walking, Working: The Cockney Clerk, the Suburban Ramble and the Invention of Leisure. Essays in Romanticism 18: 75–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gardner, Averil. 1982. “‘Literary Petty Larceny’: Plagiarism in Oscar Wilde’s Early Poetry.” English Studies in Canada 8 (1): 49–61.Google Scholar
  14. Gutch, Donald. 1979. “Bavarians and Others. Jerome K. Jerome’s View of Germany.” Bavarica Anglica: A Cross-Cultural Miscellany 1 (8): 225–46.Google Scholar
  15. Harrison, A. H. 1890. The Thames Guide Book from Lechlade to Richmond. For Boating Men, Anglers, Picnic Parties, and All Pleasure Seekers on the River. 2nd ed., Illustrated. London: Upcott Gill.Google Scholar
  16. Harrison, Austin. 1906. “George Gissing.” The Nineteenth Century and After 355 (September): 453–63.Google Scholar
  17. Humpherys, Anne. 2005. “Putting Women in the Boat in The Idler (1892–1898) and TO-DAY (1893–1897).” 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 1: 1–22. CrossRef.Google Scholar
  18. “Idle Pleasures: No. 4: Boating.” 1994. The Idler (April–May): 8.Google Scholar
  19. Jerome, Jerome K. 1926. My Life and Times. London: Hodder & Stoughton.Google Scholar
  20. ———. [1889] 1979. Three Men in a Boat. To Say Nothing of the Dog! Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  21. Kernahan, Coulson. 1928. “Introduction.” In Jerome K. Jerome. His Life and Work. (From Poverty to the Knighthood of the People), by Alfred Moss, 13–37. London: Selwyn & Blount.Google Scholar
  22. Korte, Barbara. 2014. “Against Busyness: Idling in Victorian and Contemporary Travel Writing.” In Idleness, Indolence and Leisure in English Literature, edited by Monika Fludernik and Miriam Nandi, 215–34. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Macfarlane, Robert. 2012. The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. Minshull, Duncan. 2014. “Introduction.” In While Wandering. A Walking Companion, edited by Duncan Minshull, xiii–xx. London: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  25. Moss, Alfred. 1928. Jerome K. Jerome: His Life and Work (From Poverty to the Knighthood of the People), with an Introduction by Coulson Kernahan. London: Selwyn & Blount.Google Scholar
  26. Oliphant, Margaret. 1870. “Boating on the Thames.” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 108 (October): 460–77. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  27. Pickford, Susan. 2007. “Jerome K. Jerome and the Paratextual Staging of Anti-elitism.” In Judging a Book by Its Covers: Fans, Publishers, Designers and the Marketing of Fiction, edited by Nicole Matthews and Nickianne Moody, 83–92. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  28. Scheick, William J. 2007. “Going to Find Stanley: Imperial Narratives, Shilling Shockers, and Three Men in a Boat.” English Literature in Transition, 1880–1920 50 (4): 403–14. EBSCOhost.Google Scholar
  29. Shaw, George Bernard. 1905. Man and Superman. New York: Brentano’s.Google Scholar
  30. Stevenson, Robert Louis. 1877. “An Apology for Idlers.” Cornhill Magazine (July): 80–86. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 1903. Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. Boston: Turner.Google Scholar
  32. Tally, Robert T., Jr. 2013. Spatiality. The New Critical Idiom. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Thompson, E. P. 1967. “Time, Work Discipline and Industrial Capitalism.” Past and Present 38: 56–97.Google Scholar
  34. “Three Men in a Boat.” 1889. Saturday Review (5 October): 387–88. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  35. Watts, Cedric. 2012. “Three Men in a Boat: Jerome’s Debt to Dickens’s Dictionary of the Thames.” Notes and Queries: 405–407.Google Scholar
  36. Wilde, Oscar. 1885. “Mr. Whistler’s Ten O’Clock.” Pall Mall Gazette (21 February): 1–2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  2. 2.Queen Mary University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations