By Susan E. Gunter
Alice in Jamesland, the 1st biography of Alice Howe Gibbens James—wife of the psychologist and thinker William James, and sister-in-law of novelist Henry James—was made attainable via the rediscovery of 1000's of her letters and papers regarded as destroyed within the Sixties. Encompassing eu go back and forth, Civil conflict profiteering, suicide, a stormy courtship, s?ances, psychedelic mushrooms, the dying of a kid, and a permanent love tale, Alice in Jamesland is a portrait of a nineteenth-century upper-middle-class marriage, advised usually via Alice’s personal letters and made all of the extra dynamic due to her function within the James kin. Susan E. Gunter positions Alice as a lens during which to view the family members, as a perceptive observer aware about wisdom of relationships to which these outdoor the James kinfolk weren't. She additionally portrays Alice because the cohesive issue that held the Jameses jointly, bridging the distance among brothers William and Henry and appearing because the solid middle for a hugely talented yet eccentric kin. An idealistic, severe younger lady, Alice was once uniquely fitted to subscribe to this extended family, bringing mental soundness and unshakeable own conviction to her union with the Jameses. Her life’s tale presents a desirable view of 1 of America’s most vital highbrow dynasties and gives new insights into the lives of nineteenth-century ladies. (20090611)
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Additional info for Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James
48 When her aunt Maria Gibbens taunted her with being “prim and old-fashioned,” Alice tried waltzing with a young gentleman from Harvard, though she hated waltzing. She did not hate all dancing or parties or Harvard students, but she felt shy with the opposite sex, perhaps because she spent so much time in the company of women. 49 “I dearly love to go where I can dance and hear music. ”50 By the time Alice was sixteen she had become interested in specific young men, and they were interested in her.
In search of adventure and an alternative career as a scientist, he signed on with the expedition to South America led by naturalist Louis Agassiz. Agassiz was a determined opponent of Charles Darwin. By collecting specimens he wanted to prove the theory of evolution wrong. He expected to find signs of divine creation by cataloging the discrete geographic distribution of animals and plants and show that a divine being had planned that distribution. The same month that Alice took full responsibility for her small family, William sailed to South America and explored up the Amazon in Brazil.
Backpedaling on that stance when he realized it might jeopardize his reputation, however, he voiced his support for marriage with the caveat that women were subservient to men. 2 Two decades later club members were curious to hear his current beliefs on the institution. The aging Henry Sr. claimed that through “woman’s superior spiritual quality” men could be transformed from their animal state, their urge to procreate, to a better spiritual existence. Now men should voluntarily refuse to demean women.
Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James by Susan E. Gunter