Tag: Biography

Some William James Anecdotes

A Gift for Hellen Keller:
There were also field trips, such as the one James took in May 1892 with sixteen grad students to interview the twelve-year-old Helen Keller. Keller later recalled that James “brought me a beautiful ostrich feather. ‘I thought,’ he said, ‘you would like the feather, it is soft, light, and caressing.’”

Visit to His Late Sister’s Old Neighborhood:
James is edging up on a notion of immortality here. He was thinking of more than his own. The day before he started lecturing at Oxford, he had been at Leamington, where his sister Alice had lived, and where he had so memorably rushed up to see her nineteen years before. Though it was raining, James made a point of looking up her old lodgings. What of Alice James might remain at 9 Halliburton Terrace?

His Brother Bob Thanks Him for Sending a Copy of His Book:
In October The Meaning of Truth appeared. A grumpy thank-you note from brother Bob urged William, “For God’s sake stop your research for truth (pragmatic or otherwise) and try and enjoy life.”

William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism
Robert Richardson
(Highly recommended)

Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb

Turn Every Page explores the remarkable fifty-year relationship between two literary legends, writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb. Now 86, Caro is working to complete the final volume of his masterwork, The Years of Lyndon Johnson; Gottlieb, 91, waits to edit it. The task of finishing their life’s work looms before them. With humor and insight, this unique double portrait reveals the work habits, peculiarities and professional joys of these two ferocious intellects at the culmination of a journey that has consumed both their lives and impacted generations of politicians, activists, writers, and readers.

Marvin Gaye’s Impromptu Musical Convoy

“You should have been on the rest of the tour,” Big John told me, referring to Marvin’s last cross-country excursion before leaving America behind.

“We drove to Denver and Milwaukee and New York and Chicago—all over,” said Cammon. “Marvin could relax on the bus. It was his method of getting away. One time, I remember, he got on the CB and started talking, telling people that he was Marvin Gaye. When they asked him to prove it, he started singing. Well, they sure-enough believed him then, and soon we were leading a caravan of thirty cars and trucks. This went on for a hundred miles. Finally he had me pull over at a truck stop, and everyone stopped along with us. He broke open a half-dozen bottles of champagne, and we had a beautiful party.

Divided Soul: The Life Of Marvin Gaye
David Ritz