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A Tremendous ThingFriendship from the "Iliad" to the Internet$
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Gregory Jusdanis

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452840

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452840.001.0001

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Friends and Lovers

Friends and Lovers

(p.119) 4 Friends and Lovers
A Tremendous Thing

Gregory Jusdanis

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the specter of desire between the two comrades—another anxiety which runs through many treatments of friendship, both in literature and popular culture. From the ancient preoccupation over whether Achilles and Patroclus were lovers to the modern putdown “that's so gay,” we seem to be disturbed by the possibility that two male friends may be drawn to each other by erotic attraction. The introduction of the sexual seems to transform the relationship, blurring the boundary between friendship and sexuality, whether the two friends are of the same or a different gender. Yet in raising the possibility that a father, son, or husband is sensually drawn to his friend, writers destabilize the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Keywords:   sexuality, erotic attraction, homosexuality, heterosexuality, eroticization, friendship

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