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"Friendship, friendship, just a perfect blendship"--so wrote Cole Porter for the musical DuBarry Was A Lady--a song and a sentiment we all can harmonize with. We all have friends, and if some writers have been more than a bit cynical--Emerson thought that friendship resembled the immortality of the soul "in that it is too good to be true," and Schopenhauer compared friendship to a sea serpent, "no one knows whether they are fabulous or really exist somewhere"--for the most part the world's literature and our own experience are filled with fine examples.
In The Oxford Book of Friendship, one of England's best known poets, D.J. Enright, and David Rawlinson have brought together some of the world's best thoughts on friendship, found in excerpts from Shakespeare and the Bible, novels and poems, autobiographies, letters, and diaries, even personal ads from The New York Review of Books ("Handsome NYC poet emeritus, 59, seeks beautiful, bright, non-smoking woman. Dutch treat, naturally"). Here is friendship in all shapes and sizes: from the Bible and classical literature (David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Orestes and Pylades, Damon and Pythias), among literary figures (Goethe and Schiller, Lamb and Coleridge, Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore), even among animals (the friendship of Mole and Badger for Toad in The Wind in the Willows). There are interracial friendships (Queequeg and Ishmael, Huck Finn and Jim), friendships formed in concentration camps, young friends (Steerforth and David Copperfield), even the friendship we have for our pets. Thomas Mann, in "A Man and his Dog," writes of his dog Bashan--"Extraordinary creature! So close a friend, and yet so remote"--and Alexander Pope, in his last known couplet, mourns the death of his pet Bounce. The ups and downs of friendship are also covered (Beethoven once wrote his friend Johann Hummel, "You are a false dog, and may the hangman do away with all false dogs," and the very next day wrote, "Come to me this afternoon.... Kisses from your Beethoven, also called dumpling"). And the editors conclude with a delightful potpourri of short sayings, such as the proverb, "it is easier to visit friends than to live with them," and Emerson's sage advice, "the only way to have a friend is to be one."
C.S. Lewis observed that friends rarely talk about their friendship. In The Oxford Book of Friendship, Enright and Rawlinson have found thousands of sources to do the talking for us, to question what we've taken for granted, and bring out in the open what we've always left unsaid.
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About the Editors:
D.J. Enright is an acclaimed poet and critic. He previously edited The Oxford Book of Death, which The Washington Post hailed as "a magisterial collection, wide-ranging, and full of surprises," and The New York Review of Books called "lively, wise, deeply humorous."
David Rawlinson is Senior Lecturer in English at La Trobe University, Australia.
`meant as entertainment, in my view an admirable function, and this collection on friendship performs it rather well' John Mortimer, Sunday Times
`One of the delights of these books is being introduced to interesting writers never before encountered...The excellence of writers once familiar but by now perhaps abandoned is restored to us.' Literary Review
`This book merits a worthy position in the league table of Oxford books on Life's Great Topics...It is hard to think of anyone being displeased with it.' Literary Review
`This anthology is like a stimulating friend...it rarely failed to keep me interested...this is a valuable book.' Wendy Cope, Daily Telegraph
'One of the delights of these books is being introduced to interesting writers never before encountered. The excellence of writers once familiar but by now perhaps abandoned is restored to us. This book merits a worthy position in the league table of Oxford books on Life's Great Topics. It is
hard to think of anyone being displeased with it.'
Eryl Lloyd Parry, Literary Review
'This anthology is like a stimulating friend - we had our disagreements but it rarely failed to keep me interested ... a valuable book'
Wendy Cope, Weekend Telegraph
'there is no lack of treasure trove ... There are some poignant moments.'
E.S. Turner, The European
'friendship matters in almost any life and covers a range of relationships ... You could compile another and hardly overlap with this; but, unless composed as thoughtfully, yours would not be half so stimulating ... without straining their attention span, the editors attract young browsers to
minds which carry weight. Here they learn without pain that literature braces in heart and soul as well as mind.'
Antony Mackenzie Smith, The Tablet
'Enright and Rawlinson have done an excellent editorial job in selection'
Jane O'Grady, Financial Times
'This volume has been compiled with scholarship, appreciation, and affection.'
Peter Hacket SJ, The Month, July 1991
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 1992. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11019282967X
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 1992. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M019282967X
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