Below the Fairy City: A Life of Jerome K Jerome by Carolyn W de la L Oulton - review by John Sutherland

John Sutherland

Rowed to Success

Below the Fairy City: A Life of Jerome K Jerome

By

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The British reading public retain an inextinguishable fondness for Jerome K Jerome. Other worthy humorists of the period – Barry Pain, W W Jacobs, Eden Phillpotts, William Pett Ridge – have fallen by the way. Not so the writer with the odd, self-chosen middle name – ‘Klapka’ – whose origin remains a perennial topic of dispute among his admirers. (Any suggestions may be referred to the thriving Jerome K Jerome Society, whose president, Jeremy Nicholas, writes a warm foreword to this biography.)

Jerome has not benefited from the normal preservatives. He is not on any school curriculum and is never prescribed for study in any university department. He is not on Michael Gove’s ‘these you must know’ list of great British authors. No PhD has ever been written about him. One work,

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