Three Men in a Boat (1889) was originally intended as a serious travel guide to capitalize on the boating craze that was sweeping England at the time. The comedic passages over-shadowed the text and it became a sensationally popular comedic adventure.
The main characters, George, Harris, and Jerome are based on the author and two of his friends. Montmorency, a fox terrier dog is a fictional embellishment to the story. The novel revolves around a boating holiday up the River Thames, from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford. Despite numerous prior misadventures while camping, the three men decide that camping will be part of the holiday, which adds to the plot's humor.