FRASER, George MacDonald. Flashman. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1969.
8vo., original red cloth, lettering in silver to spine; unclipped pictorial dustwrapper by Barbosa; maps of Kabul to end papers; pp. 256; spine of wrapper very slightly sunned, and inside flaps a little yellowed; else a very good to fine example.
First edition. The first outing of Harry Flashman.
Presented within the frame of the discovery of the supposedly historical Flashman Papers, the first of the Flashman novels chronicles the subsequent career of the bully Flashman from Tom Brown's School Days. It begins with his expulsion from Rugby for drunkenness, and follows him to the British Army, where his affairs, duels and bribes leads to adventures, scandal, and general debauchery.
Fraser began his writing career with historical novels, which were unpopular and never published. In 1966, believing his writing should take a more comic angle, he was inspired by Tom Brown’s School Days, as well as travels to Borneo and Malaya during the Indonesian Confrontation which re-ignited his interest in Asia and soldiering. Fraser wrote the book in nightly bursts, taking ninety hours in total, with no advance plotting or revisions. Half way through he broke his arm and could not type; he might have given up but his wife read it, was enthusiastic, and encouraged him to continue. He took two years to find a publisher, before it was taken up by Herbert Jenkins.