Collections of letters tend to be dreary affairs, often mismarriages of faux-biography and social history. Constance Jones's The Love of Friends,
however, is a constant delight. Featuring more than a 100 correspondents--from Sappho to Lawrence of Arabia, Margaret Fuller to John Cheever--it chronicles a range of affection and passion that defines the breadth and depth of love. A marvel of research, The Love of Friends
consistently surprises with its wit and intelligent attention to detail. Jones's classification of "same-sex affection" is wide ranging and the collection contains letters from Robert Louis Stevenson, Amelia Earhart, and Isadora Duncan. Less a history than a celebration of devoted empathy and love, The Love of Friends
startles and moves us in unexpected ways.
From Library Journal
Claiming that "the confidential aspect of letter writing has made it an especially fertile medium for gay and lesbian relationships," Jones, an author and compiler of diverse reference works, has assembled hundreds of letters in roughly chronological order from Sappho (mid-seventh century B.C.E.) to John Cheever (1977). A very brief biographical statement introducing each correspondent inadequately attempts to describe the context in which the letters were written. Their selection from chiefly white upper-class literary male and female figures is admittedly "entirely subjective." Despite the editor's claim to a "thrilling sense of heritage," these letters, ranging from one short paragraph to over four pages, fail to illuminate much of anything, and the lack of sources impedes further study.?James Van Buskirk, San Francisco
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.