Three Men in a Boat is a comic novel written by Jerome K. Jerome. This essay is a brief look at the author, the plot, the characters, and a brief analysis of the book.
Jerome K. Jerome was born in Stafford shire in 1859, brought up in London, and left grammar school at 14. As a youth and an adolescent, he worked as a railway clerk, an actor, a freelance journalist, a private secretary, a purchasing agent, a parliamentary agent, and a solicitor’s clerk. In 1889, when Three Men in a Boat was published, he had only freshly become successful as a journalist and author. Though a relaxed, urbane man, Jerome was a persistent explorer of new ideas and experiences. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, was a pioneer of skiing in the Alps and visited Russia and America several times. He was a prolific writer whose work has been translated into numerous foreign languages, but as Jerome himself said: ‘It is as the author of ‘Three Men in a Boat’ that the public persists in remembering me.’
The novel, Three Men in a Boat tells the story of a holiday taken by three bachelors (and a dog), rowing a boat up the Thames from Kingston to Oxford and is a partial commentary on the absurd misadventures that was part of the trip and part parody of Victorian travelogues. It is the second aspect, which has dated; modern travel writers tend not to be as rhapsodic as the mid-Victorians, neither they so determined to perk up the minds of their readers. This makes them less easy targets. A parodic element that has dated better is the way in which “J.” (The narrator) repeatedly derives silly lessons about how to live life from their familiarity.
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