Vi segnaliamo inoltre la versione web della ricca e interessante mostra “Life is in the transitions”: William James, 1842-1910 tenutasi presso la Hougthon Library dell’Università di Harvard curata dalla Prof.ssa Linda Simon.
“The eight display cases in the exhibition reveal a complex, brilliant, lovable, fallible character searching for answers to life’s most pressing questions. They also show a man continually striving to be understood, to bring a bright clarity of thought and meaning to his ideas and work, and to find his place in the world. The show explores James’ eclectic mix of interests and intellectual pursuits: his early passion for art; his excursion to Brazil with the famed naturalist Louis Agassiz; his time at Harvard as a medical student and teacher; his interest in the metaphysical; his exploration of religion; and his great philosophical writings. […] Culling through the works, Simon chose to highlight the crossroads in James’ life that reveal how his changing interests, attitudes, emotions, and opportunities molded his personality and shaped his professional career and intellectual pursuits.[…] The first case reveals James’ desire to become an artist, much to the dismay of his father, who frowned on the prospect. In a letter written to his parents around 1860, James pleads with them to explain “the reasons why I should not be an artist.” The same display includes a series of sketches by the talented James. In one of his most famous drawings, which shadows his own struggles with depression, a man sits in a chair with his head bowed under the words “Here I And Sorrow Sit.” In another case, James’ diary offers up some of the scholar’s deepest feelings about his depression. A close inspection of the book reveals that some pages have been carefully cut out, perhaps by the family, in an effort to shield the most intimate side of the scholar from curious eyes. The exhibit includes information on James’ 34-year teaching career at Harvard, which encompassed subjects as diverse as anatomy and physiology, natural history, psychology and philosophy. Letters in the exhibition shed light on his family ties, his struggles to declare his love for his eventual wife Alice, his close connection to his brother Henry, and the loving but often professionally critical nature of their relationship. Early versions of his essays “Pragmatism” and “The Moral Equivalent of War” are also on view. The reworked manuscripts, replete with lines deleted, copious notes, and inserted words, offer important insights into “the way James’ mind was working.”