By Susan E. Gunter
Alice in Jamesland, the 1st biography of Alice Howe Gibbens James—wife of the psychologist and thinker William James, and sister-in-law of novelist Henry James—was made attainable by means of the rediscovery of 1000s of her letters and papers regarded as destroyed within the Sixties. Encompassing eu shuttle, Civil struggle profiteering, suicide, a stormy courtship, s?ances, psychedelic mushrooms, the loss of life of a kid, and a permanent love tale, Alice in Jamesland is a portrait of a nineteenth-century upper-middle-class marriage, advised usually via Alice’s personal letters and made all of the extra dynamic due to her function within the James kin. Susan E. Gunter positions Alice as a lens during which to view the relations, as a perceptive observer aware about wisdom of relationships to which these open air the James kin weren't. She additionally portrays Alice because the cohesive issue that held the Jameses jointly, bridging the distance among brothers William and Henry and appearing because the reliable heart for a hugely proficient yet eccentric family members. An idealistic, critical younger girl, Alice was once uniquely suited for sign up for this extended family, bringing mental soundness and unshakeable own conviction to her union with the Jameses. Her life’s tale presents a desirable view of 1 of America’s most crucial highbrow dynasties and gives new insights into the lives of nineteenth-century girls. (20090611)
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Additional resources for Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James
9 Finally, Alice quartered her family in Dresden as paying guests in the home of the cosmopolitan Adolph von Nostitz und Jänckendorf. The women toured other cities from there as their funds permitted. -& Germany became involved in the Franco-Prussian War, while the Gibbenses endured expatriation and relative poverty. Their move to Dresden may, in fact, have been due to that war. Part of the Prussian army’s success came from its ability to mobilize quickly, and two army corps were headquartered at Mainz, quite close to Heidelberg, so that they could move quickly up and down the Rhine Valley.
Perhaps she even saw the Bronzino portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi, an oil painting of the glowing young woman with light red hair and white skin that plays a key role in Henry James’s '/&) novel J^[M_d]ie\j^[:el[. This time Alice studied music with the charismatic Luigi Vannuccini, acclaimed Italian singing master. Vannuccini had been an opera conductor and later a concert pianist. He was also a minor composer. 14 Alice’s lessons allowed her to focus on something other than her responsibilities, indulging herself before she wended her way back across the Atlantic.
Alice had a penchant for sobriety: she felt that she looked more natural when she assumed a grave expression. But despite her desire to appear a mature adult, she sometimes indulged in adolescent pranks with her sister Mary and her cousin Samuel Webb. 48 When her aunt Maria Gibbens taunted her with being “prim and old-fashioned,” Alice tried waltzing with a young gentleman from Harvard, though she hated waltzing. She did not hate all dancing or parties or Harvard students, but she felt shy with the opposite sex, perhaps because she spent so much time in the company of women.
Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James by Susan E. Gunter