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There is no author who has been as significant in articulating and developing ideas about friendship as Cicero, and no modern text that can compare to his De amicitia in its influence on the ways in which friendship was understood and written about over the following centuries. On the contrary, few modern philosophical works even consider friendship and none has come to be seen as indispensable to anyone currently engaged in writing about it. Friendship was certainly discussed in sermons, letters and essays in the late eighteenth century, but increasingly towards the century's end and throughout the nineteenth century, it is to fiction rather than to philosophy that one needs to turn to find extended discussions of friendship.
The discussion of friendship that appeared in fiction at this time was in many ways very different from that which had continued from classical times until the eighteenth century. One of the most significant of these differences was evident in the central place of women, both as the subjects whose friendship featured in fiction and increasingly also as the authors who wrote about it. Indeed, the now quite widely discussed rise of the woman novelist and of the “woman of letters” in the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries can also be seen as heralding the move of women into a predominant place in writing about friendship. Many of the women writers who published novels in this period have now been entirely forgotten but a small number retain a significant place in the literary canon.
Friendship: A History is the first book that has attempted to consider friendship across such a very long period of time – from Classical Athens to the current day – one far too long for any individual even to hope to cover. And it is of course a collaborative work that has been devised, developed and written by a group of scholars with different disciplinary backgrounds and different areas of specialty. The book necessarily reflects both our expertise and our limitations. It is clearly a history of friendship in the West – and we look forward to the appearance of other studies that explore the meaning, the nature and the changing pattern of friendships in other parts of the world.
The writing process itself was an experimental venture involving a team of people working closely together and in ways that were new to us all. We wanted the book to be a multi-authored work that could be read as a continuous history rather than as a series of discrete essays. Several of us have written jointly with colleagues in the past – but never with a group of twelve! We planned and worked on the book quite intensively over a couple of years, designing it in the course of a number of workshops, recording some of our general discussions and talking through the themes very thoroughly before beginning to write.
No one can underestimate the importance attributed to friendship in contemporary society. It is seen as an indication of social integration and a requirement of both physical and mental health as well as a source of happiness. It is a relationship subject to constant representation, discussion and analysis in newspapers and magazines and in contemporary film and television programs, as the popular series simply called Friends attests. As is so often the case, the current popular interest in friendship has an academic counterpart in the immense amount of research which has been done recently into the meaning and nature of friendship in different societies, and in earlier stages of our own. Scholars working in many different disciplines including sociology, psychology and anthropology as well as literature, history and philosophy have all turned their attention to questions about friendship. Most of this research has sought to explore the many different ways in which friendship was described, understood, organized and experienced in different societies and cultures, and to analyse its meaning, role and importance in a range of different contemporary societies and cultures and in the past.
Friendship: A History seeks to build on and to extend this research by looking at the history of friendship in the West over the past 2500 years – from the days of Classical Athens to the present day. This lengthy period enables us to show the long-standing importance accorded to friendship as a relationship fundamental both to social and individual wellbeing.
There has been an increasing interest in the meaning and importance of friendship in recent years, particularly in the West. However, the history of friendship, and the ways in which it has changed over time, have rarely been examined. Friendship: A History traces the development of friendship in Europe from the Hellenistic period to today. The book brings together a range of essays that examine the language of friendship and its significance in terms of ethics, social institutions, religious organizations and political alliances. The essays study the works of classical and contemporary authors to explore the role of friendship in Western philosophy. Ranging from renaissance friendships to Christian and secular friendships and from women's writing to the role of class and sex in friendships, Friendship: A History will be invaluable to students and scholars of social history.
This longitudinal study was designed to address four research questions and the hypothesis; that adults living in a rural community receiving primary health care and emergency services from a team that included an on-site nurse practitioner (NP) and paramedics and an off-site family physician would, over time, demonstrate evidence of improved psychosocial adjustment and less expenditure of health care resources.
In Canada, there is a growing awareness and commitment to addressing the challenges of providing primary health care services in rural areas. A literature review supported the role of NPs in primary health care and a potential role for paramedics. No studies were found that evaluated the combination of NPs, paramedics and physicians as providers of primary health care.
Structured questionnaires, individual and group interviews with patients, health and social service care providers and administrators and community members were used to describe and evaluate the impact of the model of care over the three years of the study.
The innovative model of care resulted in decreased cost, increased access, a high level of acceptance and satisfaction and effective collaboration among care providers. Organizational structures to support the innovative model of primary health care were identified.
The extensive involvement of women writers in public debate throughout the nineteenth century has rarely been recognized, despite the fact that they addressed almost every imaginable social and political subject. In part, this is the result of a lack of any adequate language with which to describe or analyse either women's non-fictional writings or those who produced them. There were certainly lady novelists in the nineteenth century, but no terms emerged to describe women essayists or historians or journalists – and there was no broad recognition of the ‘woman of letters’. The expansion of publishing in the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, like the rise of the periodical press and the emergence of journalism as an acceptable middle-class profession, provided opportunities for women as well as for men, and significant numbers of women wrote and published pamphlets, tracts and books as well as literary reviews and essays. But, as Mary Poovey and Judith Johnston have argued, the very term ‘man of letters’, which accompanied and even celebrated the rise of a new kind of writer, and the range of new forms of writing available to men, served quite explicitly to mask the rise of the woman of letters, and to render problematic the general category of the woman writer.
Even when some of the ideas of women writers are acknowledged, in the many recent anthologies exploring nineteenth-century feminism, for example, there is little recognition of how extensive women's writings were even on these questions or of the important role that the ‘woman question’ played in giving women a voice in public debate.