The University of Wisconsin Press
The Letters of William James and Theodore Flournoy
Edited by Robert C. Le Clair
With a Foreword by Gardner Murphy
A lucid and delightful correspondence spanned two decades and linked two continents between the highly cultivated, cosmopolitan American philosopher-psychologist, William James, and the gentle, reticent Swiss professor of psychology, Theodore Flournoy. They formed a warm and enduring friendship, which found expression in a series of personal letters, permeated with a mutual tenderness and solicitude, revealing the intimate details of family and university life, new intellectual discoveries, and professional interests. Over one hundred of these letters are printed here for the first time in their entirety.
The years from 1890 to 1910 were among the most productive in William James’s career, and through his letters to Flournoy his intellectual activities can be seen against the background of a rich and varied life, filled with interesting people, whom he sketched in candid and often amusing vignettes for his more retiring Swiss friend, Flournoy, who confessed little desire for leaving home. As the two men grew older, and James’s life in particular was overshadowed by an illness which he bore with unfailing personal courage, the bonds of sympathy between the two men deepened.
Robert C. Le Clair was, at the time of publication, professor of English at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.
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