This volume focuses on the literary and artistic exploration of female friendship in various geographical contexts, spanning the centuries from the medieval period until the present. The essays address the intense female bonding in world literature as a universal human need for intimacy, sense of belonging, and purpose. The main focus is on the reevaluation of friendships between women, which have been traditionally less epitomized than those between men. The authors of this volume demonstrate how the emotional unions of women offer compelling insights to various historical and contemporary societies, helping us understand gender relations, traditions, family life, and community values.
Slav N. Gratchev is professor of Spanish at Marshall University.
Ida Day is associate professor of Spanish at Marshall University.
Larry Sheret is professor and librarian for scholarly communication & open educational resources at Marshall University.
Chapter 1: “Apt for Friendship”: the Epistolary Friendships of Mary Ward
Chapter 2: Politics and Pain of Women’s Cross-Racial Friendships
Chapter 3: Fyrir innan stokk: Friendship, Kinship, and Gendered Space in Medieval Iceland
Natalie M. Van Deusen
Chapter 4: “Chloe likes Olivia”: Virginia Woolf’s ‘Discourse on Method’
Chapter 5: Subversive Seeing and Sisterhood in Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
Kathleen J. Waites
Chapter 6: Female Relationships in a Traditional Society: Mujeres de sol, mujeres de oro by Natalia Toledo Paz
Chapter 7: In the Shadows of a World Famous Twentieth Century Relationship: The 2020 Resurrection of Simone de Beauvoir’s Foundational Female Friendship
Chapter 8: “Perfect Little Ladies”: Female Friendship and New Womanhood in Rochester, New York, 1893-1914
Chapter 9: Protofeminist Friendship in Margherita Sarrocchi's Scanderbeide
Adriana Guarro Romero
Chapter 10: Female Friendship in the Medieval English Romance Ywain and Gawain
Chapter 11: Dime con quién andas: The Female Social Networks of Postwar Europe in Julia Navarro’s Dime quién soy
Chapter 12: A Little Trail through the Silver Age of Russia: Polyxena Solovyova and Natalia Manaseina
Chapter 13: Echoes of Larger Life: Exploring Victoria Welby’s Correspondence, in particular with Mary Everest-Boole
After years of critical neglect, the topic of female friendship in art and life is finally receiving the attention it so richly deserves. Female Friendship is a welcome addition to the growing scholarly fascination with this subject. This collection offers a varied and fresh look at what has made women appreciate, need, and support each other over the centuries. Writing across genres and continents, the scholars included in the volume add their voices to the vital and ongoing conversation about not only the remarkable value of female alliances, but also the significant challenges and transformations they must withstand to survive.