ReReview of Flashman

A quick review of a re-read.
It’s been a couple decades since first reading the series and by and large it has stood well the test of time.
The historical context of the publishing of the novel always remains a good tale. With an eye to appreciate whether this novel was believable as being based on authentic recovered diaries at the time bears consideration.

The footnoting, which becomes an enduring aspect of the Flashman series provides some support for this believability. But the rather ribald presentation of the narrative as well as the notes must have lent some questioning of its veracity. Nonetheless it has spawned fascinating debate over time as to why this and other NeoVictorian novels are able to capture this believability. The other aspect has to be the sheer iconoclastic nature of this tell-all style and brutal honesty about the oft questioned Victorian ideals of propriety, honour, chivalry and decency that just seem a little too perfect. In Flashman, there is a desired corrective.

At its essence though, I have always treasured Flashman novels as wonderfully approachable history lessons. Aa narrative they are generally well told, but there is some over-embellishment and dragging in the delivery – arguably to reinforce its Victorian flavour. There is an abundance of detail, a cast of colourful characters and an engaging story. This first tale is chockfull and certainly designed to both set the grounds for subsequent tales as well as tease enough to get the series rolling.

It was a good re-read but have to say my favourite of this series is Flashman at the Charge and this will be the tell as to how well these stand up.

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