Tuesday, October 19th, 2010...12:12 pm

“The Universe’s hash” Settled: The William James Lecture

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*2006M-44. William James. Notman Studio, photographer.The Houghton Library and the Harvard Divinity School join in commemorating the centenary of the death of Harvard psychologist and philosopher William James.  Linda Simon, biographer of William James, will deliver the annual William James Lecture on Wednesday, October 27th, at 5.15 P.M. in the Lamont Forum Room.

Simon’s talk, “William James’s Transitions,” looks at the last decade of James’s life, when he wrote his major philosophical works, but left unfinished the book he thought would stand as his greatest contribution: “another immortal work,” he told his brother the novelist Henry James, that he hoped would settle “the Universe’s hash.” Simon’s talk focuses on the questions that occupied James’s last years, as well as on the intellectual transitions that led him to his final project.

The lecture is in conjunction with the Houghton Library’s current exhibition, ‘Life is in the transitions’: William James, 1842-1910, on view in the Edison and Newman Room, Houghton Library, through 23 December 2010.  An expanded version of the physical exhibition is available online.

Admission is free and open to the public, and is followed by a reception in the Edison and Newman Room at Houghton Library.

The Forum Room is located on the third floor of Lamont Library. Lamont is within Harvard Yard, near the corner of Quincy Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Non-Harvard ID holders will be asked to show identification and sign in at the entrance desk, so please allow time for this before the lecture. For more information, contact the Modern Books and Manuscripts Department, Houghton Library, at 617.495.2449 or  Houghton_Modern at harvard.edu.

Linda Simon is Professor of English, Skidmore College, editor of William James Studies, and author of the biography Genuine Reality: A Life of William James, and Guest Curator of the current Houghton Library exhibition

Photo credit: William James.  Notman Studio, photographer.  Photograph, undated.  *2006M-44.  Purchase, Amy Lowell Trust. Louis J. Appell Jr. Fund for British Civilization in the Harvard College Library; James Duncan Phillips fund; and the Charles Warren fund.

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