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Self-Merging and Self-Definition: The Great Friendships in Literature

March 26, 2022 at 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm CET

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Inspired by Elena Ferrante’s formidable Neapolitan Quartet, Interintellect founder Anna Gát invites you to dive into the greatest friendships in world literature: Achilles and Patroclus, Romeo and Mercutio, Jayne Eyre and Helen Burns, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, and of course Ferrante’s Elena and Lila. What can we learn from these tumultuous literary bonds, often stronger than romantic love itself?

If human self-consciousness first arises in differentiation from another person, when we first learn that we are not in fact the other, nowhere does this tension between similarity and difference remain as present in our adult life as in our close friendships. Whether with a sibling or another peer, we learn and copy, aspire to be accepted and liked, and at the same time fiercely defend out boundaries: I am not you.

This interplay between mimesis and self-contour is always a crisis; the more alike we are through closeness, shared experiences, and affinity, the greater the perceived danger of losing ourselves. In this salon, we will look at the great friendships of literature — those who have read the Ferrante quartet are invited to share thoughts on its extraordinary duo of central characters! — to untangle our own feelings about friendship, self-development, and selfhood.

We hope you can join us.


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March 26, 2022
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm CET
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