chapter  4
Jerome K. Jerome
Pages 21

Jerome Klapka Jerome (1859-1927) is widely associated with his hugely successful novel Three Men in a Boat, a work that has been continuously in print for over a century. However, he was a prolific writer who published 26 books and 25 plays as well as writing for, and editing, magazines and short stories.2 Three Men in a Boat (published in 1889) has little to say about serious sports and is better described as a recreational travelogue. In his short stories, essays and journalistic wrings, however, Jerome paid considerable attention to recreational and competitive sports and to those who participated in them. The subjects of such writing ranged from Yorkshire football hooligans to country-house tennis and from drugged cyclists to blazered patrons at the Henley Regatta. Of the writers explored in this book Jerome is one of the more ambivalent in terms of his attitude towards sport. He was active at a recreational level, mixed with many serious participants and was knowledgeable about a variety of sporting practices. At the same time however, he was highly critical of late nineteenth-century trends in sport and frequently mocked sports contestants at all levels.