In the summer of 2014, I reprised my successful Sondheim Symposium birthday party of two years prior. In 2012, we watched Company and Passion and argued about romantic love. This year, we paired Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim’s musical that tracks the collapse of a friendship) with the “Philia/Friendship” chapter from C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves. (For extra credit, party attendees could also read Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rievaulx).
We ate thematically appropriate cake (see above) and settled down for discussion. I’ve collected my thoughts in the posts below.
- The Worm at the Heart of the Tower in Merrily – What goes wrong in the central friendship in Merrily?
- What’s Loyalty Got to Do with It? – When friends appeal to loyalty, the friendship is already on the rocks
- Patterning Friendship on Family – We adopt a friend by saying they’re closer than family, so if exalted friendship is on the wane, is something in family culture to blame?
- Missing Facets of a Friendship – What is lost when a mutual friend falls away? Why is serial monogamy exhausting?
- Three Models for Intentional Communities of Friends – Check out three different ways people have changed their living situations to make more room for friendship (plus, some of my own schemes)
- Coda: A Poisonous Portrait of Partnership – “You complete me” is a terrible thing to say to a lover