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 religionon 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 James’s 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.
…a magnificent biography, written with ease and panache, replete with quotation, careful exegesis and useful commentary and suffused with a well-judged admiration for its subject. Nonetheless, the reader will need to pay steady attention, for James's thought can be dense in places, and his style, while famously memorable and even aphoristic, can't always make transparent everything in his more scientific or speculative pages. Still, it's easy to understand why James, who coined such vivid phrases as "the bitch-goddess success," "the moral equivalent of war" and "the sick soul" was once described as writing philosophy as if it were fictionjust as his brother Henry often seemed to be writing fiction as if it were philosophy.