Sunday, May 12, 2019

About William James

William James, brother of the more cinegenic Henry, in 1900, reflecting on his time spent in an idyllic middle-class settlement in western New York state:
Now for something primordial and savage, even though it were as bad as an Armenian massacre, to set the balance straight again. This order is too tame, this culture too second-rate, this goodness too uninspiring. This human drama without a villain or a pang; this community so refined that ice-cream soda-water is the utmost offering it can make to the brute animal in man; this city simmering in the tepid lakeside sun; this atrocious harmlessness of all things, I cannot abide with them.
I think I may deploy “this atrocious harmlessness” with unseemly abandon from now on.

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