William James: The Center of His Vision

William James: The Center of His Vision

William James: The Center of His Vision

William James: The Center of His Vision


A reconstruction of James' intellectual/creative life. A fine study that supplements and expands upon those of Allen, Feinstein, and Myers. For all collections in modern philosophy. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)


He saw things . . . with what I think of as a hungry eye for the line or form or movement that expressed a meaning. One striking quality of his writing is that it often expresses a lively pictorial sense. Here is further evidence of a natural faculty of seeing that he sharpened by practice with pencil and brush.

Henry James iii on his father's sketches

Late in June of 1855, the Collins liner ss Atlantic left New York harbor and after twelve days in rough sea docked at Liverpool. the crossing would become routine for young William James, who had already been whisked to Europe as a baby. the peripatetic James would travel to the Old World eight more times. One thing that made the 1855 trip noteworthy was its length: the Jameses would not return to America for almost three years. But what made it truly significant was the educational and cultural impact on a precocious, talented youngster who was just entering the turmoil and promise of adolescence. William was thirteen and a half when the James family left New York in June 1855, and he was nearly sixteen and a half when they returned in May 1858. He did not grow up in Europe; his prolonged adolescence continued through his late twenties. Yet he was clearly no longer a child. Europe made an impact on a forming, impressionable youngster which was just what Henry Sr. had wished -- in the beginning.

Although they have dutifully recorded the 1855-1858 stay in Europe, William's biographers have downplayed the sojourn inÚ

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