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William James

Robert D. Richarson

The intellectual life of man consists almost wholly in his substituting a conceptual order for the perceptual order in which his experience originally comes.
— William James

Richardson, following his incredibly biographies of Thoreau & Emerson, adds William James to his tally of subjects.

Following a eulogy for Emerson, James reports in a letter to his brother:

“I see now with absolute clearness, that greatly as I have been helped by my University business hitherto, the time ha come when the remnant of my life must be passed in a different manner, contemplatively namely, and with leisure and simplification for the one remaining thing, which is to report in one book, at least, such impressions as my own intellect has received from the universe.”

Richardson comments:

“What James most admired in Emerson was the ‘incorruptible way in which he followed his own vocation,’ and he vowed to do the same himself.”