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Queer Friendship

The Center for Ideas and Society presents a book talk with George E. Haggerty, Distinguished Professor and Chair of English.

Friendship in the classical world was celebrated as among the highest human achievements: nothing was more likely to lead to the divine than looking for it in the eyes of a friend. In exploring the complexities of male-male relations beyond the simple labels of sexuality, Queer Friendship shows how love between men has a rich and varied history in English literature. The friend could offer a reflection of one’s own worth and a celebration of a kind of mutuality that was not connected to family or home. These same-sex friendships are memorable because they give shape to the novels of which they are a part, and question the assumption that the love between friends is different from the love between lovers. Queer Friendship explores English literary friendship in three ways: the elegiac, the erotic, and the platonic, by considering a myriad of works, including Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, Tennyson’s ‘In Memoriam A. H. H.’, and Dickens’ Great Expectations.