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William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism

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William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The definitive biography of the fascinating William James, whose life and writing put an indelible stamp on psychology, philosophy, teaching, and religion — on modernism itself.

Pivotal member of the Metaphysical Club, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience, eldest sibling in the extraordinary James family, William emerges here as an immensely complex and curious man.

William James, ten years in the making, draws on a vast number of unpublished letters, journals, and family records to illuminate what James himself called the "buzzing blooming confusion" of his life. Richardson shows James struggling to achieve amid the domestic chaos and intellectual brilliance of his father, his brother Henry, and his sister Alice. There are portraits of James's early years as a student at the appallingly hidebound Harvard of the 1860s. And there are the harrowing suicidal episodes, after which James, still a young man, turns from depression to action with "a heave of will." Through impassioned scholarship, Richardson illuminates James's hugely influential works: the Varieties, Principles of Psychology, Talks to Teachers, and Pragmatism.

As a longtime professor James taught courage and risk-taking. He was W.E.B. Du Bois's adviser and teacher, and he told another of his students, Gertrude Stein, to reject nothing — that rejecting anything was the beginning of the end for an intellectual. One of the great figures in mysticism, James coined the phrase "stream of consciousness."

Review:

"A gripping and often inspiring story of intellectual and spiritual adventure." Justin Kaplan

Review:

"James accomplished much with his work, and the same can be said here of Richardson. An illuminating portrait." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Richardson presents no new interpretations of James's theories of pragmatism and pluralism. Nor does he attempt to critique them. But he has a knack for explaining complex ideas clearly and elegantly and for bringing to life a fascinating character." Boston Globe

Review:

"The whole book pulses with the energy and excitement of a constant exploration....But what it does most of all is show how America itself came of age, partly through the efforts and investigations of spirits like James." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"The grace with which Richardson handles the more daunting aspects of James' philosophy...makes this a very good book for anyone whose previous exposure to his thought has been limited to, say, The Varieties of Religious Experience." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

Pivotal member of the Metaphysical Club, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience, older brother of extraordinary siblings Henry and Alice, the remarkable William James put an indelible stamp on psychology, philosophy, teaching, and religion — on modernism itself. In this thought-provoking and moving biography, James emerges as an immensely complex and fascinating man. Through passionate scholarship, Robert D. Richardson illuminates Jamess life and hugely influential works: the Varieties, Principles of Psychology, Talks to Teachers, and Pragmatism. At last, in this definitive work William James is given his due as a man whose influence resonates in innumerable areas of modern life.

Synopsis:

The definitive biography of the fascinating William James, whose life and writing put an indelible stamp on psychology, philosophy, teaching, and religion — on modernism itself

Pivotal member of the Metaphysical Club, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience, eldest sibling in the extraordinary James family, William emerges here as an immensely complex and curious man.

William James, ten years in the making, draws on a vast number of unpublished letters, journals, and family records to illuminate what James himself called the "buzzing blooming confusion" of his life. Richardson shows James struggling to achieve amid the domestic chaos and intellectual brilliance of his father, his brother Henry, and his sister Alice. There are portraits of James's early years as a student at the appallingly hidebound Harvard of the 1860s. And there are the harrowing suicidal episodes, after which James, still a young man, turns from depression to action with "a heave of will." Through impassioned scholarship, Richardson illuminates James's hugely influential works: the Varieties, Principles of Psychology, Talks to Teachers, and Pragmatism.

As a longtime professor James taught courage and risk-taking. He was W.E.B. Du Bois's adviser and teacher, and he told another of his students, Gertrude Stein, to reject nothing — that rejecting anything was the beginning of the end for an intellectual. One of the great figures in mysticism, James coined the phrase "stream of consciousness."

About the Author

Robert D. Richardson, Jr., is author of Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind, which won the Melcher Prize in 1987, and of Emerson: Mind on Fire, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii Prologue 1

I . Growing Up Zigzag

1. Art Is My Vocation 11 2. Growing Up Zigzag 17 3. Newport and the Jameses 24 4. The Father 28 5. Newport and the Jameses, Continued 33 6. Harvard, 1861 41 7. Science and the Civil War 48 8. Comparative Anatomy and Medical School 56 9. The Gulls at the Mouth of the Amazon 65 10. Tea Squalls and a Life According to Nature 74 11. We Must Be Our Own Providence 81 12. A Dead and Drifting Life 85 13. Minnie Temple 94 14. William James, M.D. 101 15. Treading Water 104 16. The End of Youth 108

II . The Action of Consciousness

17. Hitting Bottom 117 18. The Turn to Physiology 123 19. The Metaphysical Club and Chauncey Wright 128 20. Charles Peirce 133 21. Cambridge and Harvard, 1872 139 22. Teaching 141 23. To Europe and Back 148 24. Emerson, Mill, and Blood 153 25. From Physiology to Physiological Psychology 161 26. Days of Rapture and Heartbreak 168 27. The Trouble with Herbert Spencer 176 28. The Action of Consciousness 183

III . The Principles of Psychology

29. Spaces 193 30. The Heart Wants Its Chance 199 31. The Feeling of Effort 203 32. Hegel in Cambridge 211 33. Death of a Mother 217 34. Goodbye, My Sacred Old Father 223 35. The Wonderful Stream of Our Consciousness 230 36. Not a Simple Temperament 236 37. What Is an Emotion? 240 38. The Literary Remains of Henry James Sr. 245 39. The Death of Herman 253 40. Mrs. Piper 257 41. My Only Absolutely Satisfying Companion 264 42. Hypnotism and Summers at Chocorua 268 43. Instinct and Will 275 44. Santayana at Harvard 283 45. The Psychology of Belief 287 46. Reunion with Alice: The Hidden Self 291

IV. The Varieties of Religious Experience

47. Response to Principles and the Moral Philosopher 301 48. Flooded by the Deep Life 310 49. The Death of Alice James 318 50. European Sabbatical 326 51. Abnormal Psych 1 332 52. Talks to Teachers 339 53. Abnormal Psych 2 344 54. Sarah, Rosina, and Pauline 349 55. Is Life Worth Living? 354 56. The Gospel of Relaxation 357 57. The Right to Believe 361 58. High Tide 366 59. Walpurgisnacht 372 60. California 376 61. A Certain Blindness 380 62. The Logic of the Absolute 385 63. Religion Is Real 389 64. The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness 394 65. The Sick Soul: Slouching Toward Edinburgh 398 66. The Twice-Born 402 67. Voluntary Poverty 407 68. The Mystical Center 412

V. The Philosopher

69. William James at Sixty 419 70. Bergson 424 71. The Ph.D. Octopus and Deweys New School 428 72. Emerson 432 73. The True Harvard 435 74. A Life of Interruptions 439 75. The Many and the One 444 76. The Modern Moment: Radical Empiricism 446 77. Schiller versus Bradley versus James 451 78. Royce: Pragmatic Stirrings 456 79. William and Henry 459 80. California Dreaming 468 81. Earthquake 474 82. A General Theory of Human Action 477 83. Pragmatism 484 84. The Energies of Men 489 85. The Harvard Elective System Applied to the Universe 491 86. The True Race of Prophets 497 87. A Pluralistic Universe 502 88. Psychical Researches Redux 506 89. The Meaning of Truth 510 90. Ever Not Quite 514

Epilogue 521 Chronology 525 James Family Genealogy 528 Notes 530 Principal Sources 586 Index 590

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618433254
Subtitle:
In the Maelstrom of American Modernism
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Author:
Richardson, Robert D.
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Social Scientists & Psychologists
Subject:
Philosophers
Subject:
James, William
Subject:
Philosophers -- United States.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
November 2006
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Two 8-page b/w photo sections
Pages:
656
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 2.04 lb

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism
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$ In Stock
Product details 656 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618433254 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A gripping and often inspiring story of intellectual and spiritual adventure."
"Review" by , "James accomplished much with his work, and the same can be said here of Richardson. An illuminating portrait."
"Review" by , "Richardson presents no new interpretations of James's theories of pragmatism and pluralism. Nor does he attempt to critique them. But he has a knack for explaining complex ideas clearly and elegantly and for bringing to life a fascinating character."
"Review" by , "The whole book pulses with the energy and excitement of a constant exploration....But what it does most of all is show how America itself came of age, partly through the efforts and investigations of spirits like James."
"Review" by , "The grace with which Richardson handles the more daunting aspects of James' philosophy...makes this a very good book for anyone whose previous exposure to his thought has been limited to, say, The Varieties of Religious Experience."
"Synopsis" by ,
Pivotal member of the Metaphysical Club, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience, older brother of extraordinary siblings Henry and Alice, the remarkable William James put an indelible stamp on psychology, philosophy, teaching, and religion — on modernism itself. In this thought-provoking and moving biography, James emerges as an immensely complex and fascinating man. Through passionate scholarship, Robert D. Richardson illuminates Jamess life and hugely influential works: the Varieties, Principles of Psychology, Talks to Teachers, and Pragmatism. At last, in this definitive work William James is given his due as a man whose influence resonates in innumerable areas of modern life.
"Synopsis" by ,
The definitive biography of the fascinating William James, whose life and writing put an indelible stamp on psychology, philosophy, teaching, and religion — on modernism itself

Pivotal member of the Metaphysical Club, author of The Varieties of Religious Experience, eldest sibling in the extraordinary James family, William emerges here as an immensely complex and curious man.

William James, ten years in the making, draws on a vast number of unpublished letters, journals, and family records to illuminate what James himself called the "buzzing blooming confusion" of his life. Richardson shows James struggling to achieve amid the domestic chaos and intellectual brilliance of his father, his brother Henry, and his sister Alice. There are portraits of James's early years as a student at the appallingly hidebound Harvard of the 1860s. And there are the harrowing suicidal episodes, after which James, still a young man, turns from depression to action with "a heave of will." Through impassioned scholarship, Richardson illuminates James's hugely influential works: the Varieties, Principles of Psychology, Talks to Teachers, and Pragmatism.

As a longtime professor James taught courage and risk-taking. He was W.E.B. Du Bois's adviser and teacher, and he told another of his students, Gertrude Stein, to reject nothing — that rejecting anything was the beginning of the end for an intellectual. One of the great figures in mysticism, James coined the phrase "stream of consciousness."

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