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Distributed for Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Great Literary Friendships

This volume explores twenty-four literary friendships in succinct, structured entries, from William Shakespeare to Elena Ferrante.
Close friendships are a heart-warming feature of many of our best-loved works of fiction. From the poignant schoolgirl relationship between Jane Eyre and Helen Burns to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn’s adventures on the Mississippi, fictional friends have supported, guided, comforted—and at times betrayed—the heroes and heroines of our most popular plays and novels.

This book explores twenty-four literary friendships and together with character studies and publication history, describes how each key relationship influences character, determines the plot, or underlines the theme of each literary work. It shows how authors have by turn celebrated, lamented, or transformed friendships throughout the ages. Some friendships—Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Holmes and Watson, and even Bridget Jones and pals—have taken on creative lives beyond the bounds of their original narratives.

Including a broad scope of literature from writers such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, John Steinbeck, Alice Walker, Dona Tartt, and Margaret Atwood, this book is the ideal gift for your literature-loving friend.

208 pages | 5 x 7 3/4

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Table of Contents



Soulmates: Jane and Helen - Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847)
Liberty and Conformity: Tom and Huck; Huck and Jim - Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Bosom Pals: Anne and Diana - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)
Competitive Companions: Pooh and Piglet - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
Mad Bad Girls: Meena and Anita - Meera Syal, Anita and Me (1996)
Housemates: Harry, Ron and Hermione - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter series (1997–2007)

Students and Apprentices
Prince and Philosopher: Hamlet and Horatio - William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600)
Career Advice: Pip and Herbert - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1861)
A Bystander’s Elegy: Charles and Sebastian - Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (1945)
Crème de la Crème: Sandy, Jenny, Eunice, Mary, Monica, Rose and Miss Brodie - Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)
Campus Collusion: Richard, Bunny, Henry, Francis, Camilla and Charles - Donna Tartt, The Secret History (1992)

Heart to Heart
Inseparable: Rosalind and Celia - William Shakespeare, As You Like It (1599)
Reserve and Recklessness: Jane and Emma - Jane Austen, Emma (1815)
Light and Shade: Lucy and Maggie - George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)
Three Cheers for the Singletons: Bridget, Shazzer, Jude and Tom - Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996)

Bickering and Bonhomie: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza - Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605)
Partners in Crime: Holmes and Watson - Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes series (1887–1903)
Host and Guest: Ratty and Mole - Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)
Heroes of Middle-earth: Frodo and Sam - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (1954)

Hard Times
Loneliest in the World: George and Lennie - John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men (1937)
Kinship: Okonkwo and Obierika - Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958)
Amazon Sisters: Miss Celie, Shug and Sofia - Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)
Undercover Allies: Moira and Offred - Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)
For Better, For Worse: Lina and Elena - Elena Ferrante, The Neapolitan Novels (2011–2014)

Further Reading

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