Monday, May 24, 2010

WILLIAM JAMES In the Maelstrom of American Modernism



Not so long ago I picked up this book, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.  Here is a review from the NY Times,

To trace the subtle reciprocities between philosophizing and living is the ambitious task that Robert D. Richardson sets himself in his absorbing, if also frustrating, biography “William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism.” James’s philosophical conclusions played themselves out in a life of such endearing originality as to lead Alfred North Whitehead to call him “that adorable genius,” and he has served as a hero in more than one novel, including my own “Dark Sister.” Richardson goes after the man with the gusto, indefatigability for detail, and, yes, adoration, that William James deserves.

5 comments:

  1. I was never a big reader of biography, but after joining up with you all at the Times I learned to enjoy them -- and I really learned a lot from reading them.

    I think I have this bio of James. Richardson is the writer I've been wanting to read. He wrote the bios of Emerson and Thoreau I mentioned earlier, and is supposed to be great. Apparently he reads everything the person he's writing about read and wrote to prepare for his biographies. Which is a fascinating approach.

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  2. James comes across as something of a fool in The Metaphysical Club. He was hopelessly indecisive.

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  3. I need to reread that book. I remember really liking it when I read it, but remember very little about it now. Not sure if that's the book, or just me....

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  4. The only books I remember are the ones I study.

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  5. I remember (some) novels more than non-fiction. But some books of history seem to have greater sticking power than others, although the general background seems to stay with me. I think I read this one with the NY Times reading group.

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