Flashman and Fagging

I’ve just finished the first of the Flashman series of books by George MacDonald Fraser cite

I am puzzled y some of the old english terms used in the books though, particlularly “fagging”, which does not seem to be a homophobic term, but is definitely used in a negative context. Anybody got any ideas what it means in the 1840’s?

By the way, although the language used in the rest of the books is very un PC I would heartily recommend them to anyone. They are very funny and would make an excellent series of films or mini series.

Please read them and let me know what you think.

Now there’s a coincidence: just got an e-mail from the library telling me my reserve copy of Flashman On The March is in: Star Wars? Pah! This is what I’ve been hanging out for.

“Fagging” was an English public school tradition where younger boys {the “fags”}would act as unpaid servants who performed menial chores for their seniors: as far as I know it didn’t carry any connotations of homosexuality. It wasn’t confined to the 19th century; it was still practised in the 20th, and for all I know may still be, at least in the older schools.

I should have linked to a Flashman thread I started a while back:

There was a movie of Royal Flash, but sadly it wasn’t very good, partly because it played too much for laughs, but mostly because it was miscast: Malcolm McDowell gives good villain, but he ain’t Flashy. I always saw Timothy Dalton playing him, for some reason.

What’s wrong with our damned links today?

Thanks for the link and the reply very informative.

I have just started to read Royal Flash and hope to work my way through the rest of the books in due course.

At present I can’t actually think of an actor who could carry off the character in the early books on film as he is only 19 at the time of Flashman.

I didn’t realise that there was a Flashman thread (I should have searched) and in future I will confine my Flashman questions to there.


In which case, I’ll close this one… having fixed the erring link.