English writer Jerome K. Jerome was born on May 2, 1859 in Walsall, England. He is best known for the comic travelogue Three Men in a Boat (1889). Other works include the essay collections Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow and Three Men on the Bummel, a sequel to Three Men in a Boat. He wished to go into politics or be a man of letters, but the death of his father when the younger Jerome was age 13 and of his mother when he was age 15 forced him to quit his studies and find work to support himself. He was employed at the London and North Western Railway, initially collecting coal that fell along the railway, and remained there for four years.
In 1877, inspired by his older sister’s love for the theatre, Jerome decided to try his hand at acting, under the stage name Harold Crichton and after three years on the road with no evident success, the 21-year-old Jerome decided he had had enough of stage life and sought other occupations. He tried to become a journalist, writing essays, satires and short stories, but most of these were rejected. Over the next few years he was a school teacher, a packer, and a solicitor's clerk. Finally, in 1885, he had some success with writing On the Stage and Off, a comic memoir of his experiences with acting. He then wrote Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow and Three Men in a Boat. With the financial security the sales of these books provided, Jerome was able to dedicate all of his time to writing. He wrote a number of plays, essays and novels, but was never able to recapture the success of his earlier works. In June 1927, on a automobile trip from Devon to London, Jerome suffered a stroke. He lay in Northhampton General Hospital for two weeks before dying on June 14, 1927. His remains were cremated at Golders Green and the ashes were interred at St. Mary's Church, in Ewelme, Oxfordshire.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links:
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