Varieties of Religious Experience by William James - 1st Printing 1902 - SIGNED Postcard

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This is a First American Printing of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature by William James. This is the popular book that is well known in the AA community as it was the book that Ebby T. brought to Bill W. in Towns Hospital in 1934. Bill had his spiritual experience in the hospital while reading this book. This book is also mentioned in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book.

This book also comes with a postcard that has been signed by William James. The postcard is a message written and signed by William James to a person at Harvard college. The date on the postage is not completely legible to identify exactly when this is from. The year 1876 is written on the back of the postcard.

The American First Edition First Printing Includes "First Edition June 1902" on the copyright page. With "Nietsche" misspelled at line 11 on page 38 - indicates the very first issue of the book.

This book is in fair to good condition. There is wear and fading to the cover and spine. Signs of splitting to the spine at the outside cover and inside the front cover with webbing exposed. There is writing on the first blank page of the book. There are some light pen markings on the margins of some pages in the book.

This is James' major work on religion, and also one of his most popular books containing the Gifford Lectures that he delivered in Edinburgh in 1901-1902. Originally designed as the psychological part of a more complete treatise on religion (which was never completed) it is an important study in both the psychology and philosophy of religion and also a critical source for the nature and further development of James's philosophy. James was primarily interested in direct religious experiences, considering theology and the organizational aspects of religion as completely secondary to his investigations. For him, religious experiences were simply human experiences: "Religious happiness is happiness. Religious trance is trance." He was only interested in the "experience", not the dogma or institutional structures of religion. While he did believe that religious experiences can have "morbid origins" in brain pathology and can even be irrational, he still believed they were largely positive in their overall effects. Using James' pragmatic method, the effectiveness of religious experences proves their truth, whatever their source. This is an important study in both the psychology and the philosophy of religion and soon after its publication, "Varieties" entered the Western canon for both of those diciplines and has remained in print for over a century.

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