Reflections on the Principles of Psychology: William James after a Century

By Michael G. Johnson; Tracy B. Henley | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
William James
and His Principles

Rand B. Evans

University of Baltimore

Just 100 years ago William James published his monumental Principles of Psychology ( W. James, 1890). The Principles has remained in print ever since, a remarkable feat for its hesitant and self-deprecating author. So well known are the author and the book that they hardly need introduction. Still, the centenary of the publication of the Principles and the approaching 150th anniversary of James's birth is an appropriate time to stand back and consider the background of his remarkable book.

The Principles is certainly James's masterpiece and probably the most significant psychological treatise ever written in America. In its richness of descriptive detail into the varieties of mental life, in its boldness of explanation, and even in its leaps into speculative possibilities, it has no equal in American psychological literature. The Principles is also perhaps the best entree to any thorough understanding of James's thought ( McDermott, 1977, p. xxxiii).

A century ago, however, the Principles was just a huge stack of paper on William James's desk being prepared for shipment to Henry Holt for publication. James had reason to anticipate a positive reception for his book. Several of the chapters had already appeared as articles in periodicals and had been well received. When he submitted the manuscript to Henry Holt, however, James was quite self-effacing, calling himself "an incapable" and his manuscript "a loathsome, distended, tumefied, bloated, dropsical mass . . ." ( Perry, 1935, Vol. II, p. 48). To his brother Henry, however, James intimated that, "As 'psychologies' go, it is a good one . . ." ( H. James, 1920, Vol. I, p. 296).

James Principles was a very personal document. James's philosophy and his life history were tightly intertwined. His emphases of the themes of naturalism, will, and self in his Principles was clearly a product of major

-11-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reflections on the Principles of Psychology: William James after a Century
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 323

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.