Thursday, August 26, 2010

R.I.P., WJ

On August 26, 1910 [in Chocorua, N.H.] at two-thirty in the afternoon, with Alice holding his head, William James died. At the end there had been, Alice noted, “no pain and no consciousness.” (Robert Richardson, William James)

But, Mr. Blood, remind us again:
There is no conclusion. What has been concluded, that we might conclude in regard to it? There are no fortunes to be told, and there is no advice to be given. — Farewell!

A century later, William James’s death was not his end. He remains vitally related to the wider life of the ages.

And what a terrific party we had in his honor in Chocorua (and Cambridge) week before last. He– his “wider self”– was there. (As were his great-grandsons Robertson and Henry.) 

His brother Henry was correct: William James “is a possession,” and not a few of us are “still living upon him.”

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