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Passing of the Third Floor Back
Dictionary of Literary Biography on Jerome Klapka Jerome: Jerome K. Jerome was a popular turn-of-the-century humorist. He was a born storyteller, and his works often began as anecdotes that he developed into short stories, plays, essays, or novels. He sometimes used his short stories as the initial embodiments of themes or moral twists that he later transferred to the stage. Often the lack of character development in his short fiction can be attributed to the fact that he was writing a synopsis or abstract to be fleshed out later in another genre, usually drama. Certainly the story “The Passing of the Third Floor Back” (1907) seems slight compared to the treatment given in the play of the same name, even though critics of the day still thought the stage characters stiff and flat. In this sense Jerome is a better playwright than a short-story writer. But many of his short stories seem to be written out of a true love for the genre and are quite successful as vehicles for his purposes, sometimes serious and sometimes humorous.