What Friends Were For

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A FriendThe Friend
by Alan Bray
University of Chicago Press
380 pages, $40.

 

 

THE FRIEND begins with the author’s dramatic discovery two decades ago at Christ’s College, Cambridge, of a monument marking a tomb in which two men are buried. Placed there in 1684, the monument, as Alan Bray describes it, “is likely to make even the casual visitor pause, for in the engraver’s arrangement, the helmets of the two men seem as if about to kiss. … The arrangement given to the arms of these two men is that of a married couple.” Bray later learned that one of the men, John Finch, routinely referred to his relationship with Thomas Baines as a “connubium” or marriage. Other examples of such friendships abound in The Friend.

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