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"A milestone in religious thought. . . . James combines a positive approach to religion with a non-dogmatic and thoroughly empirical approach to the religious life. The combination is not only rare but creative." -Reinhold Niebuhr
Philosopher and psychologist William James championed the value of individual experience with an eloquence and zeal that placed him beside Emerson and Whitman as a classic exponent of American democratic culture. In The Varieties of Religious Experience he takes on "the very inner citadel of human life" by focusing on intensely religious individuals from different cultures and eras, in order to explore from within how religion enriches human lives.
For almost thirty years, The Library of America has presented America's best and most significant writing in acclaimed hardcover editions. Now, a new series, Library of America Paperback Classics, offers attractive and affordable books that bring The Library of America's authoritative texts within easy reach of every reader. Each book features an introductory essay by one of a leading writer, as well as a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice and history of the text, and notes.
The contents of this Paperback Classic are drawn from William James: Writings 1902-1910, volume number 38 in the Library of America series. That volume is joined in the series by a companion volume, number 58, William James: Writings 1878-1899.
Older brother of novelist Henry James, William James (1842-1910) was a philosopher, psychologist, physiologist, and professor at Harvard. James has influenced such twentieth-century thinkers as Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermans, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva.