Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel, Paperback Book

Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel Paperback

Edited by Geoffrey Harvey

Part of the Oxford World's Classics series

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


'Other works may excel this in depth of thought and knowledge of human nature: other books may rival it in originality and size; but, for hopeless and incurable vivacity, nothing yet discovered can surpass it.' (Jerome, Preface to Three Men in a Boat).

Three Men in a Boat describes a comic expedition by middle-class Victorians up the Thames to Oxford. It provides brilliant snap-shots of London's playground in the late 1880s, where the fashionable steam-launches of river swells encounter the hired skiffs of city clerks. The medley of social vignettes, farcical incidents, descriptions of river fashions, and reflections on the Thames's history, is interspersed with humorous anecdotes told by a natural raconteur.

Three Men on the Bummel records a similar escapade, a break from the claustrophobia of suburban life some ten years later; their cycling tour in the Black Forest, at the height of the new bicycling craze, affords Jerome the opportunity for a light-hearted scrutiny of German social customs at a time of increasing general interest in a country that he loved. This account of middle-aged Englishmen abroad is spiced with typical Jeromian humour. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.

Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages, frontispiece, 1 line illustration, 3 maps
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
  • ISBN: 9780199537976

Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

There are two books in this compilation, and I will review them individually.<i>Three Men in a Boat</i> is to the Victorian era what the works of P.G. Wodehouse are to the Edwardian. Very funny, in the understated British way, with a lot of comic juxtaposition of elevated language to describe mundane matters, and vice versa. What sets this book aside is the convivial atmosphere that these three men exhibit, which invites the reader in and makes them feel part of the journey.And it was a journey that I was sad to see at an end. In fact, the ending took me off guard, possibly in part because I didn't know it was coming so soon. (The peril of reading a novel that only takes up the first half of a physical book.) I wasn't ready to leave these characters, so it's a good thing that I have another journey to take with them. And maybe I'll get to find out what a "bummel" actually is.<i>Three Men on the Bummel</i>: Apparently, a bummel just means a ramble or wandering journey. It's German, which sets the tone for the novel, which describes just such a wandering journey through that country. It's the very end of the 19th century, and we get a very interesting view of a united, nearly modern Germany, but before the world wars case a spectre over the country. Nevertheless, Jerome shows us militarism and a predisposition to Fascism that is almost prescient.As a result, the carefree tone of the first book is utterly gone. The prose is charming, the story itself very much the same as in the original, but the modern reader has different eyes, and mat find it much less humorous as a result.Nevertheless, I loved it. It gave great insight into life in Europe at the time, during a period that often is overlooked.

Review by

Three Men In A Boat - There is a reason this is a classic. It's not just that it's hilarious, although it is. It's the way that you know people like George, Harris and J, and everyone's had disasters just like theirs.The other interesting thing is that you don't feel like you're reading something set more than a hundred years ago. It's just the occasional mention of things like steam launches that make you remember it.This is awesome.Three Men On The Bummel - I can see why Jerome didn't write a lot of the more descriptive passages that were found in Three Men In A Boat in this, it left more room for commentary on the people they meet on their journey and getting permission to go on it in the first place, but I did miss them a bit. Mostly I would have liked to have known what Dresden looked like, because I could follow their journey round Berlin and Prague, but Dresden's changed so much that I didn't have a hope.I also loved the bits about the German language and the teaching of foreign languages in England.

Also in the Oxford World's Classics series   |  View all