Download Genuine Reality: A Life of William James by Linda Simon PDF

By Linda Simon

This primary complete biography of William James in approximately a new release brings us the guy alive in all his complexity. highbrow insurgent, romantic pragmatist, aristocratic pluralist, James used to be either a towering determine of the 19th century and a springboard into the 20th century. Constitutionally against the tension and balance of the 19th century, James guided his iteration towards the ambivalence, unpredictability, and indeterminacy of the days that undefined. His explorations of pluralism and pragmatism for contemporary psychology and famous the opportunity of a number of views lengthy prior to Cubism. "The be aware 'or'" he as soon as wrote, "names a real reality." making the most of a wealthy diversity of resources, between them 1,500 letters written among James and his spouse, Alice, acclaimed biographer Linda Simon creates an intimate portrait of this multifaceted and contradictory guy. Exploring James within the context of this irrepressible kinfolk, his assorted and sometimes quirky buddies, and the cultural and political forces to which he so energetically answered, Simon weaves the numerous threads of William James's lifestyles right into a actual, and colourful, truth.

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5 James brought with him to England a letter of introduction to Carlyle from, appropriately enough, Emerson himself. As soon as he settled his family in London, James presented him­ self to Carlyle, who, James hoped, might offer him the affirmation that he simply could not elicit from Emerson. The meeting was a disaster. Carlyle was wary of most Americans, and although he was willing to make an exception for a friend of Emerson, he still treated James with the same condescension that offended other visitors.

Even so benign a memory as having thrown snowballs at a younger brother seemed to him an unpardonable sin; "every dubious transaction I had been engaged in from my youth up, no matter how insignificant soever," he wrote, "crept forth from its oblivious slime to paralize my soul with threats of God's j udgment. "25 Convinced of his own evil, he was overwhelmed with self-hatred. His children, though, were pristine in their innocence. They had not yet confronted nor committed sin, and he desperately wished to protect them from the inevitable contamination that would make GENUINE REALITY them "odious to any human heart.

In December 1 8 3 2 , William James died of a stroke, leaving an estate of more than a mill ion dollars. But James had left an intricate trust that singled out Henry and his eldest brother, William, from re­ ceiving the same benefits as their siblings . Unlike his twin brother, Robert, William had rejected participation in the family business. His fath er saw this rejection in much larger terms: William did not share his values, recognize his power, or bow to his authority. Instead, William chose an intellectual life: he went to Princeton and then, apparently to his father's dismay, entered the Princeton Theological Seminary.

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