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Joseph and His Friend: A Story of Pennsylvania is an 1870 novel by American author Bayard Taylor, a prolific writer in many genres. It presented a special attachment between two men and discussed the nature and significance of such a relationship, romantic but not sexual. Critics are divided in interpreting Taylor's novel as a political argument for gay relationships or an idealization of male spirituality.
The title page carries a quote from Shakespeare's sonnets, Number 144 "Two loves I have of comfort and despair"
The better angel is a man right fair;
The worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
Joseph Aster, a young farmer in his twenties, marries Julia Blessing, a wealthy woman. While returning from a visit to her father, he is involved in a train crash, and in consequence meets Philip Held, who becomes his somewhat older and more worldly friend. As the story progresses, Joseph comes to recognize his wife's manipulative nature and begins to develop a reciprocated romantic attachment to Philip. This is evidenced in Philip's profession of love and "a man's perfect friendship".