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'Friend of my soul' : constructing spiritual friendship in the autobiography of Mary Fletcher
journal contributionposted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Joanna CruickshankJoanna Cruickshank
Mary Bosanquet Fletcher (1739-1815) was a leading early English Methodist, active throughout her adult life as a preacher, author, spiritual director and head of a large household. She was also part of a largely unexamined network of intense and intimate friendships between Methodist women across England. This article analyses the ways in which Fletcher represented friendship in her autobiography, a text that was widely published and read throughout the nineteenth century. Fletcher's autobiography shows how religious conviction could shape a distinctive construction of female friendship, at a time when such friendships had growing social and cultural significance.