Tuesday, December 16, 2008

lovely disengagement

If one of the goals of a sabbatical is to work on one's big project, another is salutary disengagement from one's main pursuits. The success of James's year off can be gauged by the fact that among the slender sheaf of his writings for the year is a letter to a newspaper, in French, protesting the miserable, tomb-like conditions of French pigs, and a spirited letter to the editor attacking the new practice of binding periodicals with steel staples instead of the traditional stitching. He was not working on a book, and he turned out roughly a review a month, most of them quite short.
Robert D. Richardson, William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. New York: Houghton Miflin, 2006. 331

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