Europe Through the Eyes of America: Boring, Flat and Unprofitable

Europe Through the Eyes of America: Boring, Flat and Unprofitable

Alice James (reclining) and her friend Katherine Loring, circa 1890.Wikipedia image

November 8, 1889

I must not let events pass by without recording them, for the summer has passed me by in a whirlwind. First of all, William (Alice’s brother, psychologist William James, so.) to Switzerland, but unexpectedly returned home from Paris; After only a few weeks, he was tired of Europe, which he found outdated and unprofitable. Since he had no other plan than to go home, the first message after he returned was of course full of plans for himself, his wife, and his children! It’s like a drop of mercury, you can’t pin it to anything.

(Alice’s brother, novelist Henry James, so.) And I laughed a lot at him and thought he looked a lot like my dad. However, the similarities seem to have different origins: Villiam is simply incapable of “persevering for the sake of persevering”, while Daddy, that wonderful big kid, can’t even be true to his own whims.

But on this point William told me all about Paris, where he was a delegate to the First International Congress of Psychology, with extraordinary success. The French were very polite and asked him to open the Congress. After some investigation, he said that other speakers had pointed it out again and again Mr. Will Yam has indicated.

Alice James (1848-1892), American writer. Brief excerpts from Diary of Alice James. Penguin, 1982.

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