The Varieties of Religious Experience. William James.
The Varieties of Religious Experience
The Varieties of Religious Experience

The Varieties of Religious Experience. A Study In Human Nature

New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902. 1st US Edition. Large octavo, publisher's blue-green cloth, original paper spine label printed in red and black, top edge gilt, others uncut.

First US edition of James's examination of the psychological and philosophical aspects of religious experience, based on a series of lectures delivered at the University of Edinburgh in 1901-02. James trained as a doctor, but debilitating bouts of depression kept him from practicing, turning him instead towards a distinguished academic career at Harvard. Despite his renown as the father of philosophical pragmatism, he was a dedicated spiritualist, and a follower at various points in his life of the mystical teachings of Swedenborg and Madame Blavatsky, and of the famous medium Leonora Piper. In Varieties, he trains his great intellectual acuity on the lived experience of religion, foregoing any discussion of history and theology. Through considered analysis of numerous case histories, he creates a virtual taxonomy of the various states of religious consciousness, of "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine." By all accounts the UK edition, made up of American sheets issued under a separately printed title-page, preceded the US edition of the same year. (This US edition, meanwhile, features the statement "First Edition, June, 1902" on its copyright page, lacking in the UK edition.) First issue, with "Nietsche" for Nietzsche on p.38, though missing the editorial note on an inserted slip between pp. 126/127, as is often the case. Owner inkstamp to front free endpaper; loss of corner to same page. Faint marginal pencil notes throughout, as well as a few scattered small stains, also marginal. Spine-ends and corners lightly rubbed, with sunning to spine, which also has some staining. Usual wear to paper spine label, still quite legible. Very good. Item #330


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