“Friend or foe?” is a perennial question, key for the survival of all animals, including humans. At times demanding an instant instinctive reaction, it also calls for deepened critical reflection. The volume’s twenty-two essays by scholars from France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey explore cultural representations of friendship in literary fiction and non-fiction, film, as well as other visual narratives. Collectively addressing general questions, such as: “What is a friend? What is friendship for? And what are its varieties/limits/ costs?,” individually they examine a wide range of topics: friendship in theory from ancient Greeks to poststructuralist thinkers, friendship from the perspective of gender, intergenerational and interspecies friendship, queer friendship, friendship between historical figures, and between fictional characters conflicted by class or ethno-religious divisions. The volume features original studies of friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, in Shakespeare, the WWI Poets, the Auden gang, as well as the meaning of friendship for Frances Burney, Frédéric Chopin, Jacques Derrida, E.M. Forster, Eva Hesse, and Mary Shelley, among others.
Ewa Kowal is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture at the Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She is the author of the book The “Image-Event” in the Early Post-9/11 Novel: Literary Representations of Terror after September 11, 2001 (2012) and a series
of articles, mostly focusing on post-9/11 literature. Her current research interests concentrate on contemporary literature, film and cultural theory, in particular the most recent responses to the latest economic crisis. Her parallel main interests are feminist theory and criticism, gender and masculinities studies, as well as the visual
arts. She is also a translator.
Robert Kusek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture at the Institute of English Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków. His research interests include life writing genres, the contemporary novel in English, poetics of memory and loss, as well as a comparative approach to
literary studies. He is the author of two monographs, including Through the Looking Glass: Writers’ Memoirs at the Turn of the 21st Century (2017), and several dozen articles published in books, academic journals, and magazines, as well as co-editor of ten volumes of articles, most notably Travelling Texts: J.M. Coetzee and Other Writers (2014). He also works at the Research Institute of European Heritage at the International Cultural Centre in Kraków.