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 through the rediscovery of hundreds and hundreds of her letters and papers regarded as destroyed within the Sixties. Encompassing ecu commute, Civil struggle profiteering, suicide, a stormy courtship, s?ances, psychedelic mushrooms, the demise of a kid, and an everlasting love tale, Alice in Jamesland is a portrait of a nineteenth-century upper-middle-class marriage, instructed frequently via Alice’s personal letters and made the entire extra dynamic as a result of her position within the James kin. Susan E. Gunter positions Alice as a lens in which to view the relatives, as a perceptive observer aware about wisdom of relationships to which these open air the James family members 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 good heart for a hugely proficient yet eccentric relations. An idealistic, severe younger lady, Alice used to be uniquely suited for subscribe to this extended family, bringing mental soundness and unshakeable own conviction to her union with the Jameses. Her life’s tale offers a desirable view of 1 of America’s most crucial 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
Her diary and letters were published posthumously and reveal her to be a brilliant observer of life. She conducted significant work in a women’s correspondence school, found happiness with a lifelong partner, and maintained a keen interest in politics, all despite her bouts with depression and illness. When William first met his Alice, sister Alice lived at home with her parents. )* ^[bel[ic["^[bel[ic[dej William’s early history was worlds removed from Alice’s. He spent his childhood and youth traveling back and forth across the Atlantic, with repeated stops in New York, Newport, Boston, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and England.
All Weymouth gathered at Old North Church for the parade to North Weymouth Cemetery. 69 That same month nineteen-year-old Alice Gibbens, her mother, her two sisters, and a Webb relation, Helen Merrill, sailed for Europe. 1 Alice invited the writer to lunch and gleaned the address of a pastor in the village of Leihgestern who boarded lodgers and gave German lessons. Through a combination of charm and appeal to charity, Alice persuaded the woman to write to the pastor and arrange accommodations for all five women.
He resembles nothing so much as the hero — or maybe the dark villain — of one of the era’s sentimental novels. ,- William’s depression deepened; he even had thoughts of suicide. ”11 He suffered chronic back pain and intestinal ailments; his medical studies left him mentally exhausted. ,- he contemplated ending his life. Finally, William and his parents agreed that a European trip might alleviate his distress. ,- William took another leave from his studies and wandered through Germany, Switzerland, and France, seeking cures for his ailing back and spirits at his family’s expense.
Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James by Susan E. Gunter