Five Hundred Years of Friendship: A BBC Radio 4 History
Date: November 2020
Duration: 3 hours 20 minutes
Friendships, for many of us, are at the very centre of our daily existence and identity. Yet it hasn't always been this way. Our modern view of what makes a friend is shaped by centuries of political and social upheaval. In this landmark study, Dr Thomas Dixon considers both the differences and similarities between friendships in history and those we experience today.
Now we tend to view friendships among children as a good thing, but did you know that in the 18th and 19th century they were seen as fraught with danger? Or that the Bible heavily influenced early companionship? Beginning with the social networks of the 16th century, Dr Dixon moves through history to examine the invention of the best friend, working class Friendly Societies, dogs as 'man's best friend', and the tragic impact of the First World War on male friendships. Finally, we look at how the old and the young are navigating friendships today, and how friendship might look in the technologically-enhanced future. This fascinating and surprising history provides a unique look at how human companionship has changed through the ages - and what comes next.