Jerome K. Jerome, Masculinity and the Parody of Urban Escape: ‘Sunday-School Slops’

Ibitson, D. A. (2018) Jerome K. Jerome, Masculinity and the Parody of Urban Escape: ‘Sunday-School Slops’. English Literature in Transition, 61 (1). pp. 98-117. ISSN 0013-8339

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This article looks at Jerome K. Jerome’s firs three novels: Three Men in a Boat, Diary of a Pilgrimage (1891) and Novel Notes (1893). It argues that together they work as a critique of concerns of domestic Victorian masculine development, acting a parodies of colonial and domestic imperial narratives. Using the Three Men’s river journey as a starting point, and referencing the works of Henry Morton Stanley, all three novels are shown to mimic and parody late-Victorian adventure narratives. However, the mock-imperial journeys that Jerome’s protagonists take part in also act as a comment on the growing number of social programmes which aimed to get British youths out of the city for the good of their health, and for the health of the nation. It concludes that these comic novels are concerned with late-Victorian conceptions of heroism and domestic manliness, and reveals such social programmes as the Boys’ Brigade to themselves be vulnerable parodies of adventure narratives, the ideals of which Jerome critiques and undermine. These three novels are shown to function as a parodic lens, subjecting contemporary ideas of masculinity and nation to comic critical enquiry and interrogation, and arguing for their own version of unheroic middle-class masculinity.

Item Type: Article
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Divisions: School of Humanities
Depositing User: David Ibitson
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2018 09:24
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2019 14:20

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