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“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” — William James

The Principles of Psychology
William James (1842-1910)
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1890
First edition, first state

Rare Books is pleased to announce the anonymous donation of this first edition of William James’ The Principles of Psychology, a work emphasizing his experimental method and treatment of psychology as a natural science. A landmark in the history of philosophy, The Principles of Psychology includes a survey of literature on the localized functions of the brain, an extensive analysis of the self, and theories of habit, emotion, and association, among other topics. The phrase “stream of consciousness” comes from his writings.

William James came from a large, wealthy New York family. He is the brother of novelist Henry James. His godfather was Ralph Waldo Emerson. While teaching at Harvard, his students included Theodore Roosevelt, George Santayana, and Gertrude Stein. His writings influenced W. E. B. Du Bois and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He associated with Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud and many others. That’s a special bunch of people in the world of literature and scholarship.

We also have special friends, named and unnamed. Thank you!