Friendship and the Novel

Friendship and the Novel

Allan Hepburn (CA)

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Friends are at the centre of novels by everyone from George Eliot to Elena Ferrante. It is nearly impossible to name a work of fiction that is not enriched by the tensions and magnetisms of friendship.

Friendship and the Novel focuses on the affective and narrative possibilities created by friendship in fiction. Friendship enables plots about rivalry, education, compassion, pity, deceit, betrayal, animosity, and breakup. It crosses boundaries of gender, class, nationality, disposition, race, age, and experience. Some novels offer lessons about distinguishing good friends from bad. In a Bildungsroman, friends contribute to the development of the protagonist through example or advice, as if novels were manuals for making and keeping friends. Sometimes sparks fly between friends and friendship swerves into sexual intimacy. Sally Rooney and other contemporary writers take friendship online.

The essays in Friendship and the Novel illustrate how friendship, in its many forms – short or lifelong, intense or circumstantial – is a central problem and an abiding mystery in fiction as in life, a subject that continues to shape the novel as a literary form and, in turn, its readers.

Contributors include Robert L. Caserio (Penn State), Maria DiBattista (Princeton), Jay Dickson (Reed), Brian Gingrich (Texas), Jonathan Greenberg (Montclair State), Barry McCrea (Notre Dame), Deborah Epstein Nord (Princeton), Erwin Rosinberg (Emory), Jacqueline Shin (Towson), Lisa Sternlieb (Penn State), and Emily Wittman (Alabama).

Product details

ISBN-13: 9780228020066

Number of pages: 312

Format: Hardback

Imprint: McGill-Queen's University Press

English en