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


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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