This first full biography of William James in nearly a generation brings us the man alive in all his complexity. Intellectual rebel, romantic pragmatist, aristocratic pluralist, James was both a towering figure of the nineteenth century and a springboard into the twentieth. Constitutionally opposed to the rigidity and stability of the nineteenth century, James guided his generation toward the ambivalence, unpredictability, and indeterminacy of the times that followed. His explorations of pluralism and pragmatism nurtured ideas that continue to shape our society. He laid the groundwork for modern psychology and recognized the possibility of multiple perspectives long before Cubism. "The word 'or'", he once wrote", names a genuine reality".Profiting from a rich range of sources, among them 1,500 letters written between James and his wife, Alice, acclaimed biographer Linda Simon (The Biography of Alice B. Toklas) creates an intimate portrait of this multifaceted and contradictory man. Exploring James in the context of his irrepressible family, his diverse and often quirky friends, and the cultural and political forces to which he so energetically responded, Simon weaves the many threads of William James's life into a genuine, and vibrant, reality.