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Thoreau said that the honourable institution of friendship is 'older than Hindostan and the Chinese Empire'. Much older in fact, for it originated with Adam, who soon desired the 'rational delight' of fellowship, whereupon God agreed that it was not good for him to be alone. But the word 'friendship' has many connotations, and this book divides into twelve sections to explore them all in detail. Beginning with thoughts on the nature of the phenomenon, and how to lose friends as well as keep them, the editors move on to friendship among men, among women, between women and men (including the troubled territory where friendship pays the penalty for blossoming into love), between humans and animals, in youth and in age, between individuals of disparate races and creeds, friendship under stress, in time of war and in prison camps, imaginary friends, failure and betrayal, reconciliation, absence and loss. From biblical friendships (David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi) to literary ones (Goethe and Schiller, Pound and Eliot), the evidence of deep and passionate feelings abounds, often expressed most eloquently in letters, such as the fifteen-year correspondence between John Masefield and a much younger admirer, and that between William Archer and his friend of forty years George Bernard Shaw. Is it better to have many friends or few? Are old friends best, or should we look for new ones? What do we most commonly expect of our friends, assistance or amusement? Hopes alternate with doubts, sceptics are represented (for Schopenhauer, true friendship belonged to the same category as the Loch Ness Monster) as well as enthusiasts, the down-to-earth as well as the high-minded. Embracing the intense and the tranquil, the sorrowful and the comical, The Oxford Book of Friendship makes irresistible reading and the perfect gift.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780192141903
ISBN-10: 0192141902
Format: Hardback
(225mm x 147mm x 28mm)
Pages: 374
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 18-Apr-1991
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - D. J. Enright

D. J. Enright is poet and critic; editor of OB Death

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