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LEXINGTON BOOKS Published in the United States of America by Lexington Books A Member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706 PO Box 317 Oxford OX2 9RU, UK Copyright 0 2003 by Lexington Books AZl rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data William James in Russian culture / edited by Joan Delaney Grossman and Ruth Rischin. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-7391-0526-4 (alk. paper) - ISBN 0-7391-0527-2 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Russia-Intellectual life-1801-1917. 2. Russia (Federation)-Intellectual life1991- 3. James,William, 1842-1910-Influence. I. Grossman, Joan Delaney. 11. Rischin, Ruth, 1932DK189.2.W547 2003 1 9 1 d c 21 2002015280

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and the Perilous Journey to Conversion Robin Feuer Miller What Men Live By: Belief and the Individual in Leo Tolstoy and William James Donna Tussing Orwin “The Moral Equivalent of War”: Violence in the Later Fiction of Leo Tolstoy Andrew Wachtel Philosophers. Decadents. and Bibliographies Introduction Joan Delaney Grossman and Ruth Rischin William James: The European Connection Linda Simon Adventures in Time and Space: Dostoevsky. Translation.Contents Acknowledgments A Note on Transliteration. William James. and Mystics: James’s Russian Readers in the 1890s Joan Delaney Grossman James and Viacheslav Ivanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” Gennady Obatnin vii xi 1 15 33 59 81 93 113 -v- .

Plural David Joravsky William James Bibliography Index About the Contributors 131 159 169 189 21 1 225 243 247 257 . Poole 8 Lev Shestov’s James: “A Knight of Free Creativity” Brian Horowitz 9 James and Konovalov: The Varieties of Religious Experience and Russian Theology between Revolutions Alexander Etkind 10 Gorky and God-Building Barry P Scherr 11 James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality Edith W Clowes Afterword: William James in Contexts. Personalism Randall A. Pluralism.vi Contents 7 William James in the Moscow Psychological Society: Pragmatism.

we wish here to express special appreciation to the following: Serena Leigh Krombach. editorial director of Lexington Books. for her ready assistance and guidance in bringing this enterprise to fruition. Passages from The Correspondence of William James. we express profound gratitude to our contributors for their unflagging enthusiasm and cooperation in bringing the project to a satisfactory completion. Berkeley. Citations from the diaries of William James appear by permission of the Houghton Library. as well as offering warm encouragement to Ruth Rischin. who not only graciously translated from Russian the essays by Alexander Etkind and Gennady Obatnin. Collected Works 1971-1987 was granted by the publisher. -v11- . Harvard University. but gave us steadfast support throughout this whole endeavor. to Susan Harris. HE EDITORS OF THIS VOLUME T Grateful acknowledgment for permission to cite is made as follows. the Americanist who brought her tlan and expert knowledge of William James and his world to this volume. to our friends and colleagues Hugh McLean and Robert P. who conceptualized the project. to Linda Simon. 5-6. Finally. However. Permission to quote from the poems of Viacheslav Ivanov. Foyer Oriental Chretien. for generously supporting this work. accumulated as the work progressed-so many that not all can now be mentioned individually. for her generous encouragement and aid in difficult times.vols. Hughes. are reprinted with permission of the University Press of Virginia.Acknowledgments owe many debts of gratitude. We thank also the Committee on Research of the University of California.

Frederick Burkhardt. William James. Barry P. General Editor. Mass. Mass.200 WORDS). Frederick Burkhardt. Frederick Burkhardt. Textual Editor. Textual Editor. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Essays in Philosophy. Copyright 0 1982 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (150 WORDS). General Editor. and Fredson Bowers. Copyright 0 1975 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (50 WORDS). General Editor. and Reviews. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Essays in Psychical Research. Cambridge. Robert A. Copyright 0 1978 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (100 WORDS).. Mass. Cambridge.: Harvard University Press. Scherr and Andrew Barratt) was granted by the editors. and Fredson Bowers. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Pragmatism. Frederick Burkhardt.: Harvard University Press. Cambridge. and Fredson Bowers. Textual Editor. For citations from The Works of William James we thank Harvard University Press. and Fredson Bowers. and Fredson Bowers. and Fredson Bowers.: Harvard University Press. Maguire and Alan Timberlake). and the Perilous Journey to Conversion” by Robin Feuer Miller appeared in American Contributions to the Twelfth International Congress of Slavists (eds. Frederick Burkhardt. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: The Meaning of Truth. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Essays in Religion and Morality. Textual Editor. Copyright 0 1987 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (400 WORDS).: Harvard University Press. Copyright belongs to the author. Frederick Burkhardt. Cambridge. 31) 1998.. with modifications. Mass.: Harvard University Press.Vlll . Mass. Cambridge. Comments. Acknowledgments Permission to quote from Selected Letters of Maksim Gorky (eds. Cambridge. Mass. General Editor. in Russian in Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie (No. Textual Editor. Cambridge.: Harvard University Press. . General Editor.: Harvard University Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Essays in Psychology. Copyright 0 1986 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (200 WORDS). General Editor. Frederick Burkhardt. Mass. and Fredson Bowers. “James and Konovalov: The Varieties of Religious Experience and Russian Theology Between Revolutions” by Alexander Etkind appeared. Portions of “Adventures in Time and Space: Dostoevsky. Textual Editor. General Editor. Textual Editor. Copyright 0 1979 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (1. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Essays. Copyright 0 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (150 WORDS).

: Harvard University Press. General Editor. and Fredson Bowers. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Varieties of Religious Experience. Frederick Burkhardt. and Fredson Bowers. and Fredson Bowers. Mass. Cambridge. Mass. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Psychology: Briefer Course. Mass. and Fredson Bowers. Textual Editor. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: The Will to Believe. Textual Editor. Copyright 0 1977 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (100 WORDS). Copyright 0 1981 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (400 WORDS). Textual Editor. General Editor. Cambridge.: Harvard University Press.: Harvard University Press. . General Editor.Acknowledgments ix Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Principles of Psychology-Volumes Z-IZZ. General Editor. Frederick Burkhardt. Copyright 0 1985 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (1. Cambridge. Copyright 0 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (200 WORDS). Textual Editor.: Harvard University Press. Frederick Burkhardt. Mass.: Harvard University Press. Frederick Burkhardt.000 WORDS). Cambridge. Copyright 0 1984 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (250 WORDS). Textual Editor. Textual Editor. and Fredson Bowers.: Harvard University Press. Mass. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: Talks to Teachers on Psychology-and to Students on Some of Li$e’s Ideals. and Fredson Bowers. Frederick Burkhardt. Copyright 0 1979 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (200 WORDS). General Editor. Frederick Burkhardt. Reprinted by permission of the publisher from The Works of William James: A Pluralistic Universe. Cambridge. Cambridge. General Editor. Mass.

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243-44. appears on pp. Russian titles are translated into English in text and notes but appear in Russian. in the bibliographies following each chapter. with translation. R USSIAN NAMES AND OTHER WORDS appear in -xl- .A Note on Transliteration. and Bibliographies anglicized form in the text and notes. In the bibliographies they are given in Library of Congress transliteration. A bibliography of William James’s works. with standard abbreviations used in references throughout the text. Translation.

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admire. u A MAN’S VISION IS THE GREAT thing -1- . xviii). have found in the work of America’s preeminent philosopher and psychologist much to ponder. its vision of itself has undergone drastic change. James strides easily. James was very much of his own time and place. To many observers. if the course of Russian affairs has been dynamic and unpredictable since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. “Unlike many other nineteenthcentury intellectuals. buttoned into their stiff white collars. too. To our retrospective gaze William James stands out among thinkers of his time as a man strikingly at home in our day. In this process. the flux of Russia’s’recent spiritual history has proven a fascinating spectacle. and debate. begging to be explored: among them the early Russian attraction to William James. Russian readers. as Simon also shows in the opening essay of this volume. Unquestionably. an American intellectual of the pre-World War I era who brought his ideas and his fresh approach to European contemporaries. some intriguing Russian-Western connections have come to light. eager for exchange but always his own man. calcified in our collective memory. Yet. from the 1890sto the present day. urging us to notice him”: so his biographer Linda Simon pictures him in her recent work Genuine Reality (p.Introduction Joan Delaney Grossman and Ruth Rischin about him.punctuated as it has been by energetic efforts to reclaim the cultural and intellectual riches of its pre-Soviet past. into our own time. inquisitively. He continues to energize a varied audience now. at the start of the twenty-first.James’s own vision constantly evolved as he wrestled with problems that also profoundly stirred his contemporaries at the turn of the twentieth century.” wrote William James in A Pluralistic Universe(1909).

readers are rediscovering his “heuristic wealth of ideas” (Pavlova et al. and spiritual life. “William James is a figure who simply won’t go away. in Russia and elsewhere. Moreover. Aided by a few lucky finds and some determined digging. at different times. The reason for his renewed appeal in present circumstances. as for Socrates. artistic. there are important currents in contemporary Russian spiritual thinking to which James’sideas and insights offer strong support. the confrontation is revealing of both parties and may help us know both of them better. along with analyses of their impact on certain Russian writers and thinkers. 401). If this dialogue has often enough been at cross purposes. and Pragmatism have reappeared. p. as Edith Clowes demonstrates in her essay.” remarked Hilary Putnam in his elegant little book Pragmatism (p. James arrived in Russia originally at a propitious moment. James emerges as a fresh and penetrating voice that commands attention among thoughtful readers concerned with shaping a new identity for their country and uncovering treasures long hidden from sight. the central philosophical question is how to live” (p. The Will to Believe. The Varieties of Religious Experience.. denounced in the official press as a mere puppet of American capitalism and lampooned as the “Wall Street Pragmatist. may have been pinpointed by Hilary Putnam: the fact that “for James. was deeply rooted in his own traditions. grappled with similar intellectual and spiritual issues. It was . in some other ways not connected with its other parts” (PU.2 Introduction James believed that “each part of the world is in some way connected. despite his originality. peaked. Russian interest in James burgeoned in the early 1900s. and some shorter pieces have been translated for the first time. It is hardly news by now that the period 1890-1910 was a time of brilliant cultural productivity there. our authors reached a collective assurance that James and Russian culture have something to say to each other. 41).p. The James revival in Russia in the post-Soviet 1990s shows this to be true for Russians as well.” The Gorbachev years opened new perspectives. The present work examines the intriguing question: What happens when ideas of a thinker like James. and the breakup of the Soviet empire made the change in cultural climate irreversible. After the distorted and disfigured James of Soviet times. Arising at the turn of the century. It also reveals some striking parallels and convergences (and divergences) between his thought and that of Russian writers who. are refracted through a culture that draws in large part on a heritage profoundly different from his own? It includes studies of reception and interpretation of James’s major writings. During much of the Soviet period James was unacceptable. and then was largely forced underground with the rise of Stalin. 5). 22). Now that Russia is free to explore its past. who. The social and political turmoil of the 1890s and early 1900s was matched by ferment in the country’s intellectual.

textbook version of The Principles ofpsychology. It also established its author in Russia as a voice to be heeded. 245-246). Gorky described him as “a wonderful old man. the shorter. However. Aiming as it did to transform the “science of the soul” into an exact science (with loopholes left for metaphysics). he did have professional contacts with Russians as his international career was gathering momentum.” Head of the Moscow Psychological Society and editor of its journal Questions ofPhilosophy and Psychology. apparently no further contacts between the two developed: James’s exposure to a wider circle of Russian readers took place by other means. Among members of the committee he mentions “Grot of Moscow. including The Will to Believe (19041. Psychology carried a distinctive message to various and diverse audiences. James’spsychology went against the grain for some. unlike John Dewey. James’scollaboration on what would become the James-Lange theory of emotion was later of great interest to the psychologist and literary historian D. and . pp. 95). The fact that The Principles of Psychology was never translated into Russian may tell something about the contemporary state in Russia of what David Joravsky calls “the ‘problematic science’ of psychology. James was named America’s representative to the group’s permanent Committee of Organization. which engaged the interest of the Russian writer Maxim Gorky. In their respective reports on the congress he and James each noted the other’s active participation in the proceedings.Introduction 3 also an era of renewed activity in philosophy. And still others-like the poets and mystics treated in the Grossman and Obatnin essays below-found support in James’s text for altogether different lines of thought. Grot tried to interest Russian colleagues in the American’s work. (Meeting James during his American visit in 1906. William James. Ovsianiko-Kulikovsky in his writings on memory and feelings in the 1890s. A few more James writings were translated in the next several years. divided into warring camps from its earliest beginnings” (Joravsky.’ However.”) Barry Scherr’s account of “Gorky and God-Building’’ follows the parallels between the idiosyncratic and individual faith-states recorded and celebrated by James. never visited Russia in person. while others saw its author as the pioneer of a third way between positivism and idealism. For all his European travels. Nikolai Grot was part of the relatively large Russian delegation at the congress. N. set up to facilitate contacts between psychologists in different countries engaged in similar research (EPs.p. at the time of its first appearance in Russia. The first of James’s works to appear in Russia was Psychology. However. when resurgent idealism energetically challenged the positivist cult of scientific facts. At the Congress of Physiological Psychology in Paris in August 1889. his successor as the veritable embodiment of American thought. Returning from Paris.

Tolstoy’s greatest novels.” she writes. However. on “journeys to conversion. the narrators of his The Varieties of Religious Experience. was a leading vehicle for comment from many perspectives. this movement as- . Questions of Philosophy and Psychology.. Not only The Varieties of Religious Experience but Pragmatism appeared in Russian translation that year. that William James’s fame in Russia reached its high point.4 Introduction the “people-power’’ envisioned by Gorky in his novel A Confession and elsewhere as a phase in the communal transformation of society. It was in 1910. whom James regarded as the world’s consummate novelist. Leo Tolstoy. the dynamics of human psychology-. A major feature of the “Russian religious renaissance” that began after 1905. One of those perspectives proceeded from what could be called the religious “left”for its insistent demand for renewal in Russian Orthodoxy and its sometimes drastic reinterpretation of traditional religious thinking. Robin Feuer Miller’s essay explores the loss of inner faith and the consequent quest for unification that sets Dostoevsky’s heroes and James’s “gnawing. the same was not true of the “other” great Russian writer. religious figures.the year of James’s and Tolstoy’s deaths. If James never indicated acquaintance with Dostoevsky‘s writings.” Andrew Wachtel in his essay weighs the extent to which Tolstoy attempted to overcome an irrepressible glorification of war that informs his later fiction. “suggests that he saw in them a prescient imaging of his own ideas.” Moreover. Randall Poole’s essay in this volume features the Moscow Psychological Society (of which James was an honorary member) as a forum for these exchanges.” Along the way. War and Peace and Anna Karenina. illuminating a hitherto unexamined affinity between the author of The Brothers Karamazov and the subjects of the case studies compiled by James. most notably Hadji Murat. Dostoevsky’s crisis-ridden heroes test homeopathic medicine and various mind-cures. questioning” souls. and scientists. the appeal of which may have been enhanced by the contemporary revival of religious thought and feeling and the increasingly intense interest in the religious thinking of the novelist Dostoevsky. carking. Orwin finds much to probe in their common concern about “what men live by. appeared long before The Principles of Psychology.e. initiating intense debate and discussion among intellectuals. himself no stranger to alternative medicine. during the very years when he was writing the impassioned pacifist tracts that align the great novelist with William James. Its journal. philosophers. James’s religious philosophy had its real Russian introduction with the 1910 translation of The Varieties of Religious Experience. Indeed. as Miller demonstrates. Donna Orwin remarks in her essay that James had little to offer Tolstoy about the workings of the human psyche. “James’s wildly appreciative 1896 reaction to these novels as perfectly representative of life-i.

One of the chief serious journals. for whom all eclectic theories of truth. as Brian Horowitz points out.’’ Moreover.’ the life of will and feeling. 381). greeted it exuberantly: “Reading James’s book. Pragmatism elicited a particularly heated response from critics and commentators who offered widely varying interpretations. from Berkeley to Kant to Mach and company. That conservative churchmen took a radically divergent view from any of these philosophers is borne out in Alexander Etkind’s account of a dramatic theological clash that involved James’s psychological theories as well. “a knight of free creativity. Pave1 Yushkevich (1872-1945). .” followed by “A Debate about Pragmatism. Among James’s more restrained admirers was the religious philosopher Lev Shestov.” the transcript . by the epistemologies of Ernst Mach and Richard Avenarius. it was Yushkevich who came closest to exposing the performative or skaz element in the Pragmatism text as.” took a similarly enthusiastic view. . one feels that a stream of fresh air is entering the stuffy atmosphere of rationalist culture. and.Introduction 5 sured a receptive readership for Varieties. experience. the philosopher and “God-seeker” Nikolai Berdyayev. first. but with the construction of hypotheses that are accessible to continuous refinement. another prominent thinker whose intellectual and spiritual path took him from marxism to “Godseeking. its author was “a scholar of world renown [who] openly and categorically gave scientific sanction to this need” (“James’sPhilosophy of Religion. For Frank the appearance of The Varieties of Religious Experience marked an epoch. Their thought had been prepared in the early 1900s. second. opened the door to the idiosyncratic and the religious. Semyon Frank. Russian Thought. an outright game with the reader. by concepts from Einsteinian physics that called into question all philosophical systems relying on absolute certainties.”and that science therefore does not deal with the uncovering of abstract truths. 155-156). When it appeared in Russia. is of particular interest.”but found instead a thinker unable to overcome rationalism. the damnation of Lenin. as did James’s Pragmatism itself. One of the group’s leaders. The response to James on the part of a Russian thinker little known in the West. Among all of James’s Russian interpreters. Among them was a group of thinkers identified in these years with neopositivist orientations in philosophy and eclectic marxism in political theory. who sought in James. Mach and Avenarius held that knowledge of the world comes through immediate experience consisting of “neutral elements.” pp. . “Pragmatism as a Philosophical Doctrine. Yushkevich‘s theory of empirio-symbolism won him. widened into the mystical and religious sphere-there lie the riches released from under the yoke of rationalist experience” (“On the Broadening of Experience. embodying as it did “the deep need being felt everywhere for the renewal of religious life.” p. more than a mediation between schools of thought. The unconscious ‘I. devoted a large part of its May 1910 issue to an article by Semyon Frank.

at first gentlemanly. Nikolai Berdyayev elaborated the notion in his book The Russian Idea. with the question of Russia’s relation to the West playing a prominent role. Commenting on this revival of national self-examination. between Slavophiles and Westernizers. that question crystallized in the mid-nineteenth century in the debate. the goal of which. not simply the value and uniqueness.) Russia had been through this before. who represented a significant range of positions.6 Introduction of an extended discussion of Frank‘s article in a prestigious Moscow philosophical circle.” Much later. it was the subject of an important 1909 essay by poet and thinker Vyacheslav Ivanov. this was a time of redefinition on many levels-a process where encounter with outside forces and ideas tended to generate lively. he told his readers. the process of redefinition proceeds apace on all levels of society. since 1991 and the fall of Communism. urged the importance of considering James’s pragmatism in the total context of his work. through meditation on Russia’s history. Russian identity. Nor did James go unchallenged. “On the Russian Idea. found fault with Frank‘s severely critical analysis. 11). but the superiority of ‘Holy Russia’ over Western society and culture” (“Slavophilism. though most spoke in highly respectful tones of him as a thinker. or. put otherwise. later less so. to arrive at “the thought of the Creator about Russia” (p. Arising simultaneously with these periodic spasms has been one of the perennial “vexed questions” of Russian history: her position vis-a-vis the West. 45). 1). is. debate or worse. Interest in James developed at a moment of special openness among Russia’s educated classes to Western cultural trends and ideas. First raised long before the reign of Peter the Great. Among serious-minded readers efforts to pick up threads of past thought has led to reexamination and revival of the long-standing Slavophile-Westernizer debate. (A cold front advancing against a pool of warm stationary air may produce a similar turbulence. however. Some. More generally. called “an ill-concealed conviction of. This volume advances what James Scanlan. Most of the speakers. Early in the twentieth century the discussion centered around notions framed in the expression “the Russian idea. in . Once again. Not surprising in this context is the appearance of a book entitled The Rebirth of the Russian Idea (1991). The acquaintance with James’s work and with modern Western thought shown by many participants in the pragmatism debate points up an important fact.”p. the British historian Aileen Kelly recently formulated the “Russian idea” as follows: “This is the belief. that Russia’s distinctive religion and culture leave it destined to follow a path separate from the materialistic West and spiritually superior to it” ( N Y T p. even acrimonious. a leading specialist on Russian philosophy. However. first promoted by the czarist state in collaboration with Orthodox theologians.” A term with an illustrious genealogy going back to a lecture so titled by the philosopher Vladimir Solovyov in 1888 (published in 191I).

Asmus entitled “The Alogism of William James.~ His arguments here are those of a professional philosopher. The reception of William James throughout the entire Soviet period was closely linked with tectonic shifts in Soviet cultural politics.” Elimination of the religious element from this idea+r the substitution of dialectical materialism and the Communist regime-produced a curious parody. author of Dostoevsky and Antiquity (1922). . In the making was what might be called a “revisionist”version of the “Russian idea. Valentin Asmus was a prominent professor of philosophy at Moscow State Uni~ersity. Here. Asmus drew a straight line from Schopenhauer. Medieval clerics. 217).” Linking him closely with Bergson. the names of Maeterlinck and Rudolf Steiner occur) (pp. taking up a more distinctive stance. while writing from the Marxist standpoint. Asmus concluded “James’sphilosophy will long stand as a sad memorial of the decline of bourgeois theoretical thought” (p.” to James (along with Bergson. Then. 83). in his view James exceeded any of these by putting philosophy directly at the service of religion. some of these arguments resemble criticisms by James’s contemporaries. here again William James played a role. Asmus found himself in the paradoxical position of contrasting favorably the medieval scholastics constructing rational arguments for the existence of God with the anti-intellectualist bourgeois thinkers James and Bergson.* Within a few years that openness was stifled. 84). “first in the parade of philosophical decadents. V. The July-August 1927 number of the authoritative journal Under the Banner of Marxism carried an article by V. during his association with the Nevel-Vitebsk group around his good friend Mikhail Bakhtin. showed that “they understood far better than James the meaning of proof” (p. who in 1924-1925.” irrationalism. Among them was the literary critic L. standing at the feudal stage of development. Interestingly.” with debate centering on “the past and future role of the messianic tendency commonly known as the Russian Idea” (p. and the general prizing of intuition over logic. some of Russia’s most searching thinkers and writers hearkened to the promise and optimism of James’s writings.Introduction 7 her 1999 book Viewsfrorn the Other Shore. 78. The first major article on James after the 1917 Revolution appeared before the ideological tightening that marked Stalin’s consolidation of power. Asmus took James to task at length for “anti-intellectualism. brought into their conversations his earnest commentaries on the American philosopher. in the early 1920%in the relative freedom of cultural expression that characterized the years of the New Economic Policy. F. Pumpiansky (1891-1940). However. 81-82). defending the intellectualist position attacked by James and Bergson. Thus. Kelly finds the post-Soviet intelligentsia deeply split on the question of “self-image and values. with emphasis on Western-specifically American-moral inferiority.

The first edition (1926-1947) contained unsigned articles on “William James. their works sequestered. America’s bourgeois stage of development obviously was not.and thirdhand. and their works became generally inaccessible. is a masterful collation of the abusive clichts routinely applied to thinkers from capitalist countries.” in a volume published nine years later. Kvitko’s Sketches of ContemporaryAnglo-American Philosophy appeared in 1936. his works known to Soviet readers only second. extolled what he perceived as a native spirituality sustaining the Soviet educators whom he met during his visit. is much cruder and shorter. Both Dewey and James fell into this category. The James article. If James’s personal “Americanism” was a neutral. while not totally negative. 21. names of past or present writers construed as incompatible with Marxism-Leninism were often expunged from the public record. one of the founders of the anti-scientific philosophy pragmatism. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia’s second edition. in his “Impressions of Russia” (1928). Since politically correct information often reached the general public through publications like the multitome Great Soviet Encyclopedia. in this work in the 1930s.4 Some foreign writers were targeted as examples of decadent bourgeois culture. ideologue of the imperialist bourgeoisie.bristled with anti-American Cold War fervor. the GSE in its successive editions served as official barometer of James’s fortunes in the Soviet Union. 1940). from encyclopedia articles and philosophy . From the time of its first publication Pragmatism was seen by many in Europe and America as a peculiarly American philosophy. if at all. . defender of religion. The article on “Pragmatism. as we know. and propaganda took over. . Kvitko’s fourteen-year residence in the United States ( 1913-1927) presumably gave him authority based on firsthand experience. Even John Dewey. is critical. “American reactionary philosopher and psychologist. James fully justified the expansionist plans of the American bourgeoisie. The article on William James. spanning the 1950s. the standard Marxist interpretation of pragmatism is on its way to the formulaic phrases of subsequent writers. was subsequently subjected to the standard anti-American cant. the Stalinist party line was firmly in place and anti-American sentiment in full flower. or even a positive. When D. Incidentally.1931) and “Pragmatism” (vol. any sign of intellectual argument disappeared from treatments of James (as of many others). Now. During most of the Soviet period. . its fight against Socialism and the workers’ movement” (14: 219). Throughout the Stalin and Cold War years James routinely served as an exemplar of negative Western values.8 Introduction After the late twenties. their ideas and their careers shamelessly distorted. who. especially the United States. feature for Asmus. By 1940 portrayal of pragmatism simply as antiscientific and pro-religion was standard.” (vol. 46. capped by a quotation from Lenin.

Reading through the books and articles on James and pragmatism published in the Soviet Union from the thirties through the seventies and even into the eighties is a dreary task.”as were those of many others? The answer surely lies in the inviting target he made. The atmosphere lightened perceptibly between 1960 and 1970 as successive volumes of the five-volume Philosophical Encyclopedia appeared. The quintessential American reactionary capitalist bourgeois ideologue with a fondness for religion: Once the template was fashioned. Bogomolov’s Anglo-American Bourgeois Philosophy in the Epoch of Imperialism ( 1964). The question occurs: why were his name and ideas not simply “repressed. deploring especially “the monstrous dearth of theory and information” of that era (Sadovsky. as we then suspected and now know. but still carrying the obligatory ideological baggage was A. 30). The first. Volume followed volume as hitherto proscribed . a change in the political climate and a 1988 Communist Party Politburo decision led to a full-scale effort to reclaim the Russian philosophical tradition. and from there it was only a step to making him (in Soviet terms) the favorite of Nazism and fascism. The third edition of the GSE (1969-1981) carried a signed article on James (vol. in philosophy as in many other areas. quotes out of context. through it. The chapter on James opens with a question showing a strikingly personalized approach: “What was the social persona of James. 1972). American Pragmatism. marking him as a racist and convinced enemy of the human masses. More nuanced. Two books issuing from the Department of Philosophy at Moscow State University in 1957 and 1964. The resultant “James”was easily linked to Nietzsche. Again one reads of James’s“defense of the religious world view.Introduction 9 handbooks. 62). show James as he appeared in the days when. the ideologue of early American imperialism?” Citing cardinal points on which Jamesian notions clashed with Soviet orthodoxy. Thoroughly revised in style and tone. yet no surprise to anyone acquainted with the history of that time. James’s alleged popularity and influence in his native land served to characterize the decadence of American character and values. Melvil. was originally a course of lectures by philosophy professor Yuri K. the old stereotypes still served. respectively. 125). Post-Soviet accounts throw light on a dark time. S. cracks developed after Stalin. less vehement. and. Finally. the author freely misquotes. Such is the man who advances the philosophy of pragmatism” (p. mysticism. Lest the point be missed. of the social structure that uses religion as its ideological weapon” (p. defense of religion from the standpoint of pragmatism. Meanwhile. 8. and otherwise misconstrues (the text being unavailable to the general readership). p. the author summarizes: “Such are several views held by James. the Khrushchev thaw notwithstanding. it yet repeats the chief “objectionable” points found in the American philosopher: tendency toward individualism.

The same qualities may contribute to its attraction today. of all James’s works the one most continuously linked with . subject of controversy among prerevolutionary Russian intellectuals and of obloquy in Stalinist times. Pave1 Yushkevich. in 1997. Yet James’s name and ideas obviously were diffused by one means and another through several generations of actual or potential Russian readers. a volume edited by Gurevich offered The Will to Believe and Pragmatism (originally published in Russian in. the early-twentieth-century thinkers being so enthusiastically welcomed by present-day Russian readers were in large part “of a religious. James Scanlan observes:“What seemed moribund had in fact merely been dormant.” and “A World of Pure Experience. in 1910 James’s unconventional approach to religion attracted Frank and Berdyaev by its freshness and openness to all human experience. 1904 and 1910).) As has been seen. or in a state of suspended animation.” Moreover. and as such they have found a sympathetic audience in a society that is not only newly freed of restraints on religion but positively drawn toward it” (“Overview.5In addition. 6).. Peter Struve. Some voices have urged an even more inclusive view.” (The fourth. as James Scanlan reminds us. The first James work to be republished in toto in post-Soviet times was The Varieties of Religious Experience. in the current interest in mysticism Clowes sees “a continuing theme among leading Russian thinkers and writers concerned with questions of spirituality in a secular. .” This concern has led to intense-and highly justifiedinterest in Russia’s own religious-philosophical heritage.” p. Edith Clowes writes.” “The Pragmatic Account of Truth and Its Misunderstanders. As the debates over pragmatism that roiled the intellectual and religious scenes in 1910 and beyond resurface in the writings of Berdyaev. How did all this affect James? The name of an American thinker. 8). James has again becbme a presence to reckon with. In his afterword to the 1993 republication of Varieties. S.as “a welcome relief after decades of singleminded (Soviet) scientific thinkiog. “Does Consciousness Exist?’’ first appeared in Russian in 1913.Frank. it includes four articles. P. and others. which appeared in several formats in 1992 and 1993. scientific world. but it would hardly lay first claim to attention under those difficult circumstances. might pique the curiosity of independent thinkers. respectively. three of which appear in Russian translation for the first time: “The Energies of Men. Russian Orthodox cast of mind.”p. particularly from the turn of the last century. Nonetheless. This event came. Significantly. Four years later. Gurevich hailed Russians’ re-exposure to William James’s thought as a chance for them to reconnect with world mystical experience after decades of cultural isolation.10 Introduction works by Russian thinkers were reissued. and given the opportunity Russians returned to their philosophical heritage with alacrity” (“Overview.

These authors are careful to point out one particularly significant historical allusion that might otherwise pass unnoticed by many readers: the 1910 “Debate over Pragmatism. “In short. by implication. focuses the grumblings of the soul and assures the vitality (zhiznestoikost’) of religion itself” (p. 404). which included religious faith. the distinct suggestion of “religious message. A major part of the message James’s pragmatism brought to Russian thinkers in 1910 and. this is a deliberately bold reversal of values. The earlier (1993) reprinting of the chapter “What Pragmatism Means” in a serial publication of Moscow University’s Department of Philosophy was apparently intended to rehabilitate and redefine a term that for decades appeared only as a term of contempt. that debate showed that pragmatism “touched a tender spot in the tradition of Russian thought” (p. any more than he did for academic philosophy. which they characterize as a period of transition and clash of ideas. However. Moreover. Rorty and others”). is a message about philosophy itself. And he was concerned with the possibility of faith and religion coexisting in a world that has relegated them to a sphere apart from everyday affairs. 44). James held no brief for formal religion. in [James’s] opinion.” Given the sinister alliance of pragmatism with religion stressed throughout the Soviet era. Invoking the names of modern Western pragmatists (“R. they are at some pains also to underline parallels between the time when pragmatism emerged. they assert that “pragmatism has caught an essential philosophical tendency that will surely strengthen with time-namely.” As they shrewdly observe. it merely makes clear what is the practical sense of believing in God” (p.Introduction 11 his name in Russia is Pragmatism. the afterword is entitled “The Good News (Blagovestie) of Pragmatism”-a title that bears. the tendency to break with stereotypes. As James sums it up. 394). The cover and title page of the 1997 volume where Pragmatism appears mention only The Will to Believe. she widens the field of search for God” (p. which orients the individual toward achieving life success and purposeful behavior. in Russian even more than in English. As the afterword’s authors note: “[In] the debate over the existence of God pragmatism advances no readymade credo. the last third of that chapter deals with pragmatism’s potential “usefulness”in the area of religion. absolutes. Yet he wanted to bring philosophy close to living experience. “James saw the chief fault of philosophy as it hitherto . to their present-day heirs. And the aspect of that work most consistently singled out for attention. paradoxically leads to the recognition of mystical experience which. 408). 399). though to different effect in different eras.6 As may be remembered. and the present. ‘the spirit of solemnity’ and unbending righteousness” (p. has been pragmatism’s connection with religion. Finally they conclude: “The pragmatic point of view.



existed in its separation from life, in its failure to understand human beings” (p. 395). He wished to bring philosophy back to its human context. Or as one prominent participant in the 1910 debate Lev Lopatin put it: “Pragmatism returned thought to its proper channel. . . ,proposing an extremely simple attitude toward the eternal questions about the meaning of life, the moral order, and others” (quoted, “Good News,” p. 397). Now, at a time when, after long years of Communism, freedom of thought and belief has become an actuality, rediscovering the heritage of Russian thought, particularly the religious philosophers of the beginning of the twentieth century, has become a major enterprise. Moreover, the long-closed gates to Western ideas and modes of thinking are open, and the East-West relationship is again being energetically debated in Russia. In this context, William James speaks with particular poignancy to the post-atheist society of the former Soviet Union, to the culturologist Mikhail Epstein’s “poor believers,” whose “‘minimal belief’. . .appears to be as indivisible as spirit itself” (p. 363). We may ask is philosophical thought itself destined to receive a new lease on life? Is contact with the “other,” that well-known definer of positions, to function actively in this new environment? Some commentators would say that William James is at his active best in such situations. As Richard J. Bernstein writes in the introduction to A Pluralistic Universe: “James has the rare gift of transcending local restrictions of time and place and speaking directly and intimately to our own present philosophic situation” (p. xiii). The test of course comes when he addresses readers in a philosophic ambience and tradition very different from his own. David Joravsky in this volume’s concluding chapter calls attention to “the paradoxes that animate James’s writing, keeping it alive with different meanings for different audiences during a century of intellectual fragmentation, of frustration for seekers of coherent vision.” Clifford Geertz may be speaking for all James readers, Russian and others, when he says: “We need the sort of inquiry he pioneered, the sort of talents he possessed, and the sort of openness to the foreign and unfamiliar . . . he displayed” (p. 12).
1. “Scientists have argued greatly as to whether or not there is such a thing as the memory of a feeling,” he wrote, in “The Psychology of Thought and Feeling” (1909), in D. N. Ovsianiko-Kulikovskii, Literaturno-kriticheskie raboty v 2-x tomakh, vol. 1 (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1989), p. 37. 2. Information to Ruth Rischin from Caryl Emerson, 2 September 1999. See also M. M. Bakhtin kakfilosof; ed. L. A. Gogotshivili and P. S. Gurevich (Moscow: Nauka, 1992); Caryl Emerson, The First Hundred Years of Mikhail Bakhtin (Princeton, N.J.:



Princeton University Press, 1997), p. 234; Besedy K D. Duvakina s M. M. Bakhtinym (Moscow: Izdatel’skaia gruppa, Progress, 1996), p. 284. 3. Asmus is remembered variously. For a positive view, see N. V. Motroshilova, “In Memory of a Professor,” Soviet Studies in Philosophy, 28, no. 2 (fall 1989): 59-65. Another writer notes that “even one of the best professors” (i. e., Asmus) became tainted by the regime under which he worked (Sadovsky, p. 69). 4. Addressing a meeting of the Transnational Institute in Moscow in March 1993, Caryl Emerson perceptively analyzed the reception of American pragmatism in Russia. In her paper Emerson wrote: “In good American fashion, Dewey treats his impressions as well as his projections as empirical-and the Russian people themselves as inspired pragmatists” (“American Philosophers, Bakhtinian Perspectives: William James, George Herbert Mead, John Dewey, and Mikhail Bakhtin on a Philosophy of the Act,” unpublished paper, p. 8, n. 2). 5. The Will to Believe was published in 1904 in the translation of S. I. Tsereteli, and Pragmatism in 1910 in that of P. S. Yushkevich. 6. Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta, Series 7 (Philosophy), 1993, No. 3, pp. 82-9 1.

Works Cited
Asmus, V. “Alogizm U. Dzhemsa (W. James’s Alogism).” Pod znamenem marksizma nos. 7-8 (July-August, 1927): 53-84. Berdiaev, Nikolai. “0rasshirenii opyta (On the Widening of Experience).” Voprosy filosofii ipsikhologii 103 (1910): 380-383. . (Berdyaev). The Russian Idea. New York: Macmillan, 1948. Bernstein, Richard J. “Introduction.” In A Pluralistic Universe,by William James. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977, pp. xi-nix. Bogomolov, A. S. Anglo-amerikanskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia epokhi imperializma (Anglo-American Bourgeois Philosophy of the Epokh of Imperialism). Moscow: “Mysl,” 1964. Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia (Great Soviet Encyclopedia), 1st ed. Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 2d ed. Bol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, 3d ed. Epstein, Mikhail N. “Response: ‘Post’ and ‘Beyond.”’ Slavic and East European Journal 39, no. 3 (1995): 357-366. Frank, Semen. “Filosofiia religii V. Dzhemsa” (W. James’s Philosophy of Religion). Russkaia mysl’2 (1910): 155-164. . “Pragmatizm kak filosofskoe uchenie” (Pragmatism as a Philsophical Doctrine). Russkaia mysI’ 5 (1910): 90-120. Frank, Semen et al. “Spor o pragmatizme” (Debate about Pragmatism). Russkaia mysl’ 5 (1910): 121-156. Geertz, Clifford. “‘The Pinch of Destiny’: Religion as Experience, Meaning, Identity, Power.” Harvard Divinity Bulletin 27, no. 4 (1998): 7-12. Gurevich, P. S. “Roptanie dushi i misticheskii opyt: Fenomenologiia religii U. Dzheimsa” (Grumblings of the Soul and Mystical Experience). In Mnogoobrazie


Introduction religioznogo opyta (Varieties of Religious Experience), by William James, pp.

Joravsky, David. Russian Psychology: A Critical History. Cambridge, U.K.: Blackwell, Kelly, Aileen. “When Russians Look Inward.” New York Times, Sept. 6, 1998, p. E l 1. . Viewsfrom the Other Shore. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. Kvitko, D. Iu. Ocherki sovremennoi anglo-amerikanskoi filosofii (Essays in Contemporary Anglo-American Philosophy). Moscow-Leningrad: Gosudarstvennoe sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoe izdanie, 1936 Lenin, V. V. Win. Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. Critical Comment on a Reactionary Philosophy. Trans. A Fineberg, London, 1949. Mel’vil’, Iu. K. Amerikanskii prugmatizm (American Pragmatism). Moscow: Izd. Moskovskogo Universiteta, 1957. Pavlova, L. E., P. S. Gurevich, and M. L. Khor’kov. “Filosofskoe blagovestie pragmatizma” (The Philosophical Good News of Pragmatism). In Volia k vere i drugie ocherki populiarnoi filosofii (The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy), by William James. Putnam, Hilary. Pragmatism. Cambridge, U.K.: Blackwell, 1995. Sadovskii,V. N. “Philosophy in Moscow in the Fifties and Sixties,” Soviet Studies in Philosophy 33, no. 2 (fall 1994): 46-72 Scanlan, James P. “Interpretations and Uses of Slavophilism in Recent Russian Thought” and “Overview” (pp. 31-61, 3-10). In James P. Scanlan, ed., Russian Thought after Communism. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1994. Simon, Linda. Genuine Reality: A Life of William James. New York Harcourt Brace,
1998. 12 1-156. 1989.

41 1 4 2 4 .

.“Spor o pragmatizme” (A Debate about Pragmatism). Russkaia Mysl’ 5 (1910):

William James: The European Connection
Linda Simon

5, 1880, William James boarded the Britannic, bound for Liverpool, where he embarked upon a stay of nearly three months in Europe. At the age of thirty-eight, James was a veteran of European sojourns, but this trip was different: his purpose was not, as it usually was, to restore his physical and mental health, but to find intellectual affirmation and camaraderie. An assistant professor of philosophy at Harvard, where he had taught since 1872, James had just begun to publish professional articles and therefore to come to the attention of European philosophers. He wanted to meet some of these men, to widen his professional circle beyond Cambridge, Massachusetts, and, most important, to position himself intellectually among them. The trip in 1880 was the first of many: he traveled in Europe again in 1882-1883, attended an important conference on psychology in 1889, spent a sabbatical year abroad in 1892-1893, delivered the Gifford lectures in Edinburgh in 1901 (this trip, from 1899 to 1901, was prolonged because of his ill health), completed the Gifford lectures in 1902,vacationed in Europe in 1905, delivered the Hibbert lectures at Oxford University in 1908, and made his last trip in 1910. During each of these trips, James established new relationships, solidified some friendships, discussed his work with colleagues and discovered their responses to his ideas more directly than he could through publications or correspondence. By focusing.on a few of James’s more significant trips, we can map the trajectory of his reputation among European philosophers and consider their interest in and responses to his psychological and philosophical assertions.




Linda Simon

First Principles: 1880 By 1880, James had made considerable progress in shaping his identity as a philosopher. Without the European training shared by many of his colleagues, James had created for himself a personal curriculum in philosophy that can be seen as a reaction, in part, to the philosophical context in which he was raised: that is, to the teachings of his father, Henry James Sr., and the questions of authority and free will inherent in those teachings. Henry himself was self-taught, undergoing brief training at the Princeton Theological Seminary, and then, rejecting the intellectual narrowness that he found there, setting out on his own to find thinkers who could help liberate him from the Calvinism of his upbringing and from a deep conviction of his own worthlessness. For a while, he was infatuated with the Scottish theologian Robert Sandeman, a fierce protester against clerical authority; then, with the French social reformer Charles Fourier, who envisioned communities where an individual’s work, rather than merely serving the marketplace, would reflect his or her true nature. Yet these thinkers failed to provide Henry with the intellectual sustenance that he needed to affirm his own sense of authority and identity. After suffering a nervous breakdown in 1844, he finally found that thinker, Emanuel Swedenborg, who offered what he so fervently desired-an image of a personal and approving God, validation of his authority to understand and interpret biblical texts, and proof of his essential goodness. All men were good, Swedenborg asserted, because a divine spirit permeated them and shone through them. In a monistic universe, guided by a benign Creator, it became one’s duty and obligation to give oneself up to that divine spirit, to refuse to celebrate one’s individuality and assert one’s own identity. Extinction of egotism became Henry’s vocational goal, and he recommended it to, in fact demanded it from, his children as well. Selfextinction, though, was no easy task for his eldest son, William, who by nature was competitive, very bright, and, even as a child, eager for public acclaim. Yet Henry tried to convince William that the very qualities that society would applaud in him were qualities to be despised. Personal achievements did not impress Henry. Instead, he believed that each individual must find an outlet for the divine goodness within; this outlet-for him, was writing philosophical tracts and occasionally lecturing-would result in the individual’s living with moral integrity, in fulfilling what he called the “moral business.” In Jamesian terms, this “moral business” only partly referred to behaving ethically; more significantly, it meant behaving consistently with one’s true, divine nature. While his father demanded that his children simply “be,” William saw around him other young men who were busily engaged in becoming: physi-

writing abstract. he would have to pander to popular taste. None of these thinkers. predictably.” he wrote. however. and it alone.” In 1870. I tried to associate the feeling of moral degradation with failure. Now I must regard these useful ends only as occasions for my moral life to become active. which his father also championed. theoretical artist. as one unsuited to my innate aptitudes. making everything else merely stuff for it?” He decided to follow it. quasi-theological philosophy. had so exalted the idea of the artist-an ideal. hoping that the “moral interest” that he had never yet felt might become developed. to be sure.” he wrote in his diary. or shall I follow it. I finished the first part of Renouvier’s 2nd Essay. he entered in his diary a statement that appeared to signal an enormous change: I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life. who taught him that empiricism was a credible counter to his father’s monism. he lit upon art as a career. He was. James was drawn to thinkers who could help him to rebel against his father’s philosophy: Goethe and Carlyle. What was William to do? According to Henry. theoretical. largely because Henry. after a protracted vocational crisis during which William toyed with the idea of becoming a civil engineer. uneasy. William could do no better than to emulate his own life’s work. scientists. as long as a scientist did not do anything practical and so run the risk of becoming merely a technician.William James: The European Connection 17 cians. in his writings. so William turned to science. and to envision his future. lawyers. as he struggled to understand his identity. sustained him sufficiently against his father’s vigorous demand that he engage in the “moral business. on April 30. In the 1860s. “Hitherto. and add it to that of the loss of the wished for sensible good end-and the reverse of success. like one of his boyhood friends. “and perceive plainly that I must face the choice with open eyes: shall I frankly throw the moral business overboard. James’s struggle over this moral business led to what he called “a great dorsal collapse”: “Today I about touched bottom. non-practicing. But in all this I was cultivating the moral interest only as a means & more or less humbugging my self. 1870. for example (and Wordsworth and Browning) who exalted the capabilities of the individual and the potential of genius. He read Alexander Bain and John Stuart Mill. But Henry protested violently: if William became a practicing artist. to make sense of his father’s demands. I have tried to fire myself with the moral interest. and. At any rate I will assume for the present-until next . as an aid in the accomplishing of certain utilitarian ends of attaining certain difficult but salutary habits.’ Then. and saw no reason why his definition of free will-sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts-need be the definition of an illusion.

Although he stumbled into a teaching position at Harvard (his friend Henry Bowditch suggested that he take over a class in anatomy). including psychology. Renouvier. Inspired by Charles Renouvier.” James wrote. he had earned a medical degree at Harvard. the Metaphysical Club. and Nicholas St. then taught in the philosophy department. which British empiricism denies. John Greene. Renouvier offered James something more than the British positivists: “The knowable universe is for him. as for the school of Mill and Bain. and spontaneity of the universe. James promised that it would be completed in a year or two. Yet Harvard expanded his social circle: he began to meet men who shared his concerns and who helped him discover new philosophical directions. Scorning abstraction and idealism. James joined a small philosophical club whose members included mathematician Charles Peirce. shared the anxiety of many intellectuals about the possibility of religious faith in a scientific age. did not end James’svocational crisis. all in their late twenties or early thirties. or. they called their group. he did not see teaching as his future. Teaching. In 1869. proved more satisfying than he had anticipated. “a system of phenomena. Absolute beginnings. but during those twelve years James published much of . he had gained enough prestige in the Harvard community so that the publisher Henry Holt. In the early 1870s. Jr. He would will himself to refrain from brooding upon the defects of his personality and make sure that he read nothing that would compromise his new direction.. Harvard’s president Charles William Eliot offered James more challenging courses. and offered a system to guide their moral and ethical decisions.18 Linda Simon year-that (Houghton) it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will. By 1878. as important as he was in James’s life. and because of his success. in other words. of absolute beginnings. for example. Faced with mounting evidence of the plurality. of free-will’’(ECR. p. meant that he was not bound to a self inherited from his parents. they sought a philosophy that embraced science. ironically. These men. asked James to write that text. for James. wanting to add a psychology textbook to his list. and the lawyers Oliver Wendell Holmes. 266). determined by his physiology. but decided that he would not practice. it took twelve. moreover. James participated enthusiastically in their vigorous debates about Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. preserved their desire to believe in God. John Fiske. and metaphysic is an analysis or inventory of the elements. he could create and define a new and potentially liberating self. But among these elements he finds the possibility. James vowed to cultivate a new habit: a sense of moral freedom. an abdication of the watchfulness and self-criticism in which he formerly engaged. or prescribed by society. randomness.

survival was only one of many competing interests that influenced thought and behavior.William James: The European Connection 19 The Principles of Psychology as articles. and the British journal Mind. whose works James championed in America.” (Corr. the joy of moral self-approbation. Prior . and pluralism. “do you think it possible for any one to give us in England. the French Critique Philosophique.).” Robertson asked James. were “an all-essential factor which no writer pretending to give an account of mental evolution has a right to neglect” (Corr. in The Principles of Psychology and also served as preface to his later works on belief. looked to James both to explain Renouvier to British readers and to inform those readers about American philosophical interests. “From what you know of the state of things in America. pragmatism. but that he makes nothing of the glaring and patent fact of subjective interests which cooperate with the environment in moulding intelligence.” (C0rr.V 1In. These interests form a true spontaneity and justify the refusal of a priori schools to admit that mind was pure. for James. to H. established by Alexander Bain and edited by George Croom Robertson. that I shall call my text-book “Psychology. November 22 [ 18781) For James. . mainly in three journals: the American Journal of Speculative Philosophy. all the various forms of play. was more intent on arguing against the Spencerians and Hegelians among his “people” and in conveying his own ideas: his early essays introduced material he would include. in one article. at the time. Other interests included “social affections. My quarrel with Spencer is not that he makes much of the environment.” and have already in the introduction explained that the constitution of our mind is incomprehensible without reference to the external circumstances in the midst of which it grew up. These intellectual threads converged in his first signed article. the charm of fancy and of wit . James. . “Remarks on Spencer’s Definition of Mind as Correspondence. edited by the Hegelian William Torrey Harris. . These interests.H). familiar with James’swork in Critique Philosophique and the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. the delights of philosophic contemplation.” which appeared in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy in January 1878. as a Natural Science. James’s initial enthusiasm for Spencer-he had assigned Spencer’s Principles of Psychology in his courses-had quickly waned. V 12-13. V 7). Spencer’s assertion that survival was the only motivation for an individual’s behavior seemed to him dangerously simplistic. edited by Charles Renouvier. a fair notion of what is being done in the way of philosophical study & work among your people?” (Corr. passive receptivity. So far am I from leaving out the environment. the rest of religious emotion.V: 24-25. the thrilling intimations of art. Robertson. . to H. . He explained his position to his publisher Henry Holt: I think you have somewhat misapprehended the scope of my criticism of Spencer.H. often with little revision.

June 27. he asked philosophers to articulate what they saw as the consequences. for themselves as human beings. Hardly a fool. our Art. and his respect for Renouvier. with James clarifying for Hodgson the ideas about effort and will that he expounded upon in “The Feeling of Effort. his sense of the inadequacy of psychological research that began and ended in the laboratory. of their philosophical interests and affinities. The most fertile relationship that James established during this trip was with Shadworth Hodgson.” James was delighted to learn that. he had expected Hodgson to be both physically and intellectually intimidating. survival of our tribe. and our Hopes that they are dupes. our new Good. . and “The Sentiment of Rationality” in Mind.” The two men discussed their current work. In short. our craving for personal recognition at the heart of things is flatly contradicted by our persuasion that we none of us possess any independent personality at all.20 Linda Simon to his 1880 trip to Europe. Writing to his wife Alice. is the one thing certain to perish with our planet. as he apparently feared he would be considered. “The Spatial Quale” in Journal of Speculative Philosophy. becomes an intellectual sensuality. he was respected and applauded by his European colleagues. Locating philosophy in individual interests and needs was.1880). with whom James had been corresponding.V 108-109. “to have this evidence that I have not been a fool in sticking so to R” (C0rr. energized and affirmed in his philosophical inclinations. What he found was far different. (ECR 357-358) James expressed his concern about this crisis to his European colleagues and discovered that many-many more than he anticipated-shared his impatience with Spencer. a way to resolve what he saw as the current crisis in philosophy: Now our Science tells our Faith that she is shameful. James also published “Are We Automata?”in Mind. which expressed ideas similar to those in his piece on Spencer. revealing no secrets but those of our nervous systems. our Reverence for truth leads to conclusions that make a l l reverence a falsehood. even though Hodgson claimed to reject Renouvier’s tenets about the finiteness of the world and free will.” James wrote to Alice. our Freedom annuls our opportunities for lofty deeds.” James asked philosophers to question their own motivation for and interest in constructing one philosophical system over another. James described Hodgson as “that bashful & amiable philosopher charming in the extreme . still he believed Renouvier “the most important philosophical writer of our time-you can’t think how it pleaseth me.[and] very modest about his opinions. . In “The Sentiment of Rationality. . Like several other eminent thinkers whom James met (including Bain and Spencer). James returned home at the end of August 1880. for James. instead of intimating divine secrets. our Equality with our brethren quenches all tendency to be proud of their brotherhood.

even though no result could possibly be effected by this effort. Besides serving as one of James’searliest expositions on the will. called the article “un petit chef d’oeuvre” (Corr. Despite his warm feelings toward Mach. and has an absolute simplicity of manner and winningness of smile when his face lights up that are charming” (Corr. “I don’t think any one ever gave me so strong an impression of pure intellectual genius. he said. Great Thoughts and the Environment. Despite James’s initial feeling of awe toward his European colleagues.V 315. Of the articles he sent for. had a single important purpose: to enable him to make significant progress on his Principles ofPsychology. James asserted that the feeling of effort was not limited to muscular exertion but applied as well to attention and will. 285-286. As he wrote later in “On Some Omissions of Introspective .” which had appeared in the Unitarian Review. was identical to the effort felt by one executing a motor task. the essay helped James to position himself among psychologists who looked primarily to laboratory results to understand the workings of the mind. among them Ewald Hering.” he wrote to Alice (Corr. he came away from long hours of conversations with them feeling self-affirmed: “I found that I had a more cosmopolitan knowledge of modern philosophic literature than any of them. and shall on the whole feel much less intimidated by the thought of their like than hitherto. 1882.1882). he arrived in Prague to confer with colleagues. to AHJ. “Swapping one’s articles is the great way to get things early & surely from other men. and with whom. The effort felt by one making a decision. according to James. need not have any resultant movement in order to be felt as effort.” he wrote to his wife.V. “The Sentiment of Rationality”. and the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. Renouvier. who taught physiology in Leipzig. “Great Men.William James: The European Connection 21 British Circles: 1882-1883 The trip that James began on September 1. In November. with whom James spent four hours walking and dining. “He apparently has read everything & thought about everything. for one. The feeling of volition. To prepare for what he saw as intense work. December 3 [ 18821). he spent the first part of his trip relaxing in Germany and Austria. In this essay. November 2. it was German psychologist Carl Stumpf with whom James spent most of his time. He immediately asked Alice to forward to him copies of “The Feeling of Effort”.” he told Alice. Here. he said. “The Feeling of Effort” was especially important to James and to his European readers. such as lifting an object or walking across a room. V: 286). then several years overdue. It was also the great way to get one’s ideas disseminated. he gave the example of an amputee who testified to the intense feeling of effort felt by trying to lift the lost limb. he was likely to keep up a correspondence.” which he had published in the Atlantic Monthly and “Reflex Action and Theism.

in his estimation. James needed no persuasion to support their efforts. notably Leslie Stephen. professor of moral philosophy at Cambridge. . and Leslie Stephen. “immense tracts of our inner life . and he exulted. in Edmund Gurney. some of which were conducted in his own laboratory. cabinet skances. Robertson and Hodgson continued to be his closest British colleagues. whose administrative experience as vice president perhaps served him later as prime minister of Britain. to AHJ. Although this interest in psychical research later became a source of . James published the results of his investigations in several articles in the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research: reports on hypnotism and mediumistic phenomena ( 1886). voice. The Society for Psychical Research sought to bring to experiments in psychical research the same rigorous control that others brought to experiments currently underway in psychology laboratories throughout Europe. “one of the first rate minds of the time . experiments in automatic writing. who came to his attention in 1885. the better to participate in their conversations. “The Consciousness of Lost Limbs” (1887). newly established. . and boasting a roster of eminent members. While he found the circle stimulating. he felt little affinity to some of the members. too. . habitually overlooked and falsified by our most approved psychological authorities” (EPs. Moreover. 248). including some prominent academics (Henry Sidgwick. p. Shadworth Hodgson. a monthly convocation of eight British intellectuals. there were. including Arthur Balfour.“Reaction-Time in Hypnotic Trace” (1887). 248).and “A Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance. and examinations of patients exhibiting mental pathologies.p. James was invited to attend a meeting of the Scratch Eight. including George Croom Robertson. and his own experiments in hypnotism conducted on willing students and colleagues. especially one Leonora Piper. for example) and political figures. & general air of distinction about him. In December 1882.22 Linda Simon Psychology” ( 1884). December 16. “Notes on Automatic Writing” (l889). he also regretted the time he had to spend in reading the members’ works.” chronicling his sessions with Piper (1890) (all found in EPR). . James became one of the founding members of the American Society for Psychical Research. after William Barrett staged a successful tour of America in 1884. and physicist William Barrett. demonstrations by hypnotists. V: 332. Edmund Gurney. 1882). with an extremely handsome face. Gurney served as bridge to another important group of intellectuals who took James up in the 1880s: the London Society for Psychical Research.” he wrote in “The Hidden Self” (EP5. Such irregular phenomena included mediums. In fact. altogether the exact opposite of the classical idea of a philosopher” (Corr. “Anyone will renovate his science who will steadily look after the irregular phenomena.

even if not a dog’s. 216).p.” he added. And we believe this because the percepts of each one of us seem to be changed in consequence of changes in the percepts of someone else” ( M T . to Thomas Davidson. Doing Philosophy: 1889 By the spring of 1889. a decade later he confessed that he preferred a more philosophical context for asking psychological questions. Yet communication about reality is possible. Between external reality and one’s perception of that reality lies the interference of both subjective experiences and language. Although in The Principles James gave due attention to the work of laboratory psychologists. If in 1878 he enthusiastically had embraced the field of psychology. 24). For James. . translated for Renouvier’s Critique Philosophique the same year and incorporated into The Principles. angry because we strike etc.”he noted (EP5. pointing to them and turning them over in various ways. his consideration of instinct and habit. James argued. In “On the Function of Cognition. “this is a thing of which we are never theoretically sure” ( M T . because “we believe our PERCEPTS are possessed by us in common. “and thereupon we hope and trust that all of our several feelings resemble the reality and each other. instead of vice versa” (Corr. “We see each other looking at the same objects. the complex emotional and intellectual context of each individual. including the scientist. His readers.”a talk James gave before the Aristotelian Society late in 1884 and published in Mind in 1885. French. December 20. An individual’s necessarily subjective perceptions served as the basis for inferences about the perceptions of others. but he had published many of his most significant discussions from the manuscript. V: 475.p. James again underscored his dissatisfaction with the methodology and focus of “the new Psychology”: “To know how to handle a chronograph or a Bunsen cell. when James left home to attend the first International Congress of Physiological Psychology in Paris. was a crucial factor in shaping perception. 30). and Swiss colleagues. he found continued support among British.by 1889 his readers also were aware of his doubts about scientific objectivity. James pointed to the limits of generalizing from laboratory data. But. are beginning to be held as important requisites in a professor of mental science. They were not important requisites in his estimation. In “What the Will Effects. therefore. and to dissect out a frog’s sciatic nerve. he still had not completed his Principles.” he explained. The International Congress drew many philosophers who shared his predilection. p. were familiar with his notion of the stream of thought.” published in Scribner’s Magazine in 1888.William James: The European Connection 23 contention for James in America. and even his odd theory of the emotions: “we are sorry because we cry. 1883).

twenty-six-year-old Munsterberg was committed to experimental psychology. when I think of the use that has been made of him in history and philosophy as a starting point. a task that James found burdensome and irrelevant to his own interests. James convinced Harvard’s president Eliot to recruit Miinsterberg to oversee the college’s psychology laboratory. November 3. I find myself less and less able to do without him. But as an Ideal to attain and make probable. A few years after their meeting. James maintained that his goal was to “do philosophy all the same” (Corr. for want of university facilities. or premiss for grounding deductions. disseminating. Unlike Flournoy. and publicizing his work. I simply refuse to accept the notion of there being no purpose in the objective world. V 194-195.1882) . the meeting had a broader agenda. the strongest. for James. to AHJ.24 Linda Simon Despite its proclaimed focus on physiological psychology. as members of the congress considered hypnotic phenomena. In saying “God exists” alI I imply is that my purposes are cared for by a mind so powerful as on the whole to control the drift of the Universe. January 1. He became a lifelong friend and correspondent of James’s. telepathy. such as his father had posited.VI: 1283. (Corr. I can sympathize perfectly with the most rabid hater of him and the idea of him. . such an Ideal need not be the Creator of a monistic uni- All I mean is that there must be some subjective unity in the Universe which has purposes commensurable with my own and which is at the same time large enough to be. Doing philosophy. foremost among these men were Swiss psychologist Theodore Flournoy and the young German researcher Hugo Munsterberg. and philosophy-he was so enthusiastic about the potential for experimental psychology that. among all the powers that may be there. Psychical matters proved to be an important focus. physiological psychology. verse. As Harvard’s first professor of psychology. As in his earlier trip. This is as much polytheism as monotheism. Although he had followed a career path similar to James’s-medical studies. however. James found the conference especially important because it enabled him to meet philosophers and psychologists with whom he felt a kindred intellectual bond. meant turning his attention to religious and moral questions-those questions that had so unwaveringly occupied his father. shared James’s complaints about experimental psychology and also his interest in psychical research. he set up a laboratory in his home. . defending. 1889). and hallucination. Flournoy. “It is a curious thing this matter of God!” James wrote to his friend Thomas Davidson. For James. . who taught psychology at the University of Geneva.

that some individuals. James eventually would escape from Royce’s idealism. February 6. reality. His audiences grew from lecture to lecture. a book that James praised effusively in letters to friends and in an enthusiastic review in the Atlantic Monthly (1885). that was “one of the few big original suggestions of recent philosophical writing. 1901). quoting letter to Charles Eliot Norton. and that the defining criteria for . Royce posited the idea of one infinite. does some transcendent Thought exist in the universe? In response to those questions. 387). were James’s as well: Does our thought of something represent the thing itself? Can two knowers know the same thing? Does reality exist apart from one’s thought of reality? And. According to James. most pressingly. he found his listeners generally interested and appreciative (VRE. but I frankly confess that I am unable to overthrow it” (Letters I: 265. once again. Religious Experiences: 1901 An invitation to deliver the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1901 gave James the chance to expand upon the arguments he presented in his essay “The Will to Believe” and to reflect. but his enthusiasm in 1885 points to his abiding concern over the threat of science to the faith that he deeply wanted to revive within himself.” An argument. an argument based on the possibility of truth and error in knowledge. 544. Those lectures. because of a subliminal openness.William James: The European Connection 25 This “matter of God” and its implications for knowledge. far more than he had expected. June 26. Royce’s struck him as “suggestive of springtime” in its originality (ECR. were more receptive than others to mystical experiences. reflected James’s goal of providing a compendium of material to support his assertion that the expression of faith is widely diverse. Royce’s questions. p. Royce acknowledged these conversations in his introduction to The Religious Aspect of Philosophy. I still suspect it of inconclusiveness. Although James felt that the audience brought considerable “Christian prejudices” to his talks. and morality had for many years been subjects of intense discussions between James and his Harvard colleague Josiah Royce. 1887). p. James added. after all. I have vainly tried to escape from it. on the relationship between faith and pragmatism. Although James easily rejected idealisms posited by other philosophers. all-encompassing Thought that knows all truth. Royce offered a “new argument for monistic idealism. that faith can be experienced idiosyncratically. to Carl Stumpf. published in 1902 as The Varieties of Religious Experience. until he was speaking before some three hundred scholars and students. outside of an institutional community of organized religion.

James received warm assessments of his book from many of his colleagues. and a Russian one in 1910. As in his other works. and possibility. p. he drew upon a huge cache of data amassed by one of his students. and of the modern psychology of the subliminal self” to persuade adherents of their “inlet to the divine” (VRE. including Carl Stumpf and. James said. James created for himself a special position as a “piecemeal supernaturalist” who felt no intellectual contradiction in accepting the reality of mystical or supernatural occurrences (VRE. The first step in transcending fear. any path to the subconscious offered a possible opportunity for the generation of faith. for example. who arranged for its translation into French. resulting in meliorism-the conviction that life would and must get better-and. was not to defend religion by scientific proof but to argue against naturalists. James mined his own life and experiences for anecdotes and conclusions. was published in Paris in 1906. ways of thinking that preceded the separation of science from its . consequently. L’Expkrience religieuse: Essai de psychologie descriptive. A Danish translation followed later in 1906. world. pp. however. but for many others-the readers who bought ten thousand copies of the book in its first year of publication-James offered a liberating definition of religion and faith. 410). that is.93). For James. for a research project of his own. from Flournoy. of transcendental idealism. Such readers were offended by the sheer exuberance of James’s stance. had circulated throughout the Harvard community a questionnaire about religious practices. In both the (‘healthy-minded and in what James called the congenitally pessimistic “sick soul:’ mind cure practitioners drew upon religious rhetoric and practices to change their clients’ perception of self. not surprisingly. and philosophers whom James called (‘refined supernaturalists:’ on the other. and worry was self-surrender: Surrender. pessimism. Mind cure movements. Abroad. of vedantism. James’s goal. it seemed that James was willing to call any intense personal revelation a religious experience and to embrace the abnormal or the paranormal within his definition of religion. on the one hand. in physical well-being. The Problem of Pragmatism: 1908 Pragmatism. 88. was nothing more than a new name for old ways of thinking. who. a German translation in 1908. to the idea that there existed a higher consciousness able to infiltrate and influence subliminal mental states. The sheer weight of these sources gave the book an appearance of scientific objectivity. translated by Frank Abauzit. incorporated “traces of Christian mysticism. supplementing this material. To some readers.26 Linda Simon whether or not an experience was religious was its effect on the psychological or emotional well-being of the individual.

James suggested that individuals consider their personal stake in the answer to that question: what difference would it make if God were one Absolute? How would one’s daily life. in a talk he delivered at the Philosophical Union in Berkeley. This inapplicability of philosophy to the many social and political problems of late-nineteenth-century America seemed to James regrettable. That personal impetus gave philosophy an immediate connection to an individual‘s everyday life. and that transcendent abstractions do not suffice in describing reality. Pragmatism invested each individual with the authority to determine truths. and linked philosophical decisions to moral actions. James first used the term pragmatism rather late in his career. notably Pragmatism and The Meaning of Truth. California. who. privileged what James called percepts over abstract concepts. that philosophical affinity was influenced by an individual’s temperament: a person’s needs and interests inspired attention to one philosophical question.James proposed a distinction between tough-minded and tender-minded thinkers. essentially rely on the same methods: observing. and sense of well-being change? As he considered this issue in his works. or to one theory. and the tender-minded being rationalistic . But philosophy. Beliefs must make a difference and have perceptible consequences. or the consequences for community in terms of cohesiveness and stability. or they are not worth arguing over. also could help one consider the most compelling unresolved philosophical problem: God’s existence first of all. and the question of whether God were One or Many. and formulating hypotheses. Second.” James made two important points: first. the tough-minded being empiricist and pluralistic. For James. coined the term pragmatism as early as the 1870s. or not. according to James. Although James called for “civic courage” in the face of concrete social problems. in the face of moral dilemmas. In “Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results. the consequences for the individual in terms of a feeling of well-being or satisfaction. in 1898. This attempt to ensure the status of philosophy by drawing it closer to its scientific origins was shared by other philosophers. for at least three hundred years. these men saw. notably Charles Peirce. but pessimistic and fatalistic. had been focused on developing systems of thought that increasingly divorced it from the exigencies of real life. Pragmatism holds that the truth of an idea is inextricably connected to the consequences of that idea. one’s philosophy determined how one made ethical decisions and affirmed a sense of authority to take action. as he saw it. behavior.William James: The European Connection 27 origins in philosophy. that the personality and context of a thinker is inextricably connected to what is thought. comparing. classifymg. the consequences of an idea meant the practical effects of holding that idea. pragmatism. Philosophy and science. rather than another.

Oxonian Ferdinand Canning Schiller. as much as James wanted to. and George Moore (Scott 465 [January 1. Besides Schiller. he went to the conference hall to register. One cause of objection was the term pragmatism itself. as much as they debated about the impact of pragmatism versus humanism.” he told Alice. “the lady who was taking them almost fainted. But when his fellow pragmatist. talks that he repeated at Columbia University the following year. That term. who. and he became discouraged by what he considered a persistent misunderstanding of his work. considerable doubts had surfaced about pragmatism as a theory of truth and as a justification of religious belief. yet optimistic and “free-willist. Even as he worked on his Lowell lectures. 1905). James found few wholehearted supporters. “and when I gave my name. 1/2 scoundrel” by such critics as Arthur 0. April 25.” His effusive admirer called in one of the officers of the congress.28 Linda Simon and idealistic.James received a welcome boost during a three-month‘s trip to Europe in the spring of 1905. was too historically embedded in theological discussions and did not imply. was threatened by James. James balked. At the end of April. urging James to push forward. By insisting that any individual. too easily confused with practicality or mere expediency. and every individual. saying that all Italy loved me. He was tired. The ideas presented in “Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results” were elaborated upon and extended in 1906. the elite status that they conferred upon themselves. he condensed-and speedily translated into French-his recently published “Does ‘Consciousness’ Exist?”’ Responding to the prevalent . suggested the more widely accepted humanism. and radical empiricism. he believed. In the last decades of James’s life. “of being treated as 1/2 idiot. For his talk. As James worked to clarify his own ideas on pragmatism. or words to that effect. 19081). he once admitted to Schiller. James knew that among his colleagues in America and abroad. pluralism. John McTaggart. despite criticism from his colleagues. in Rome for the Fifth International Congress of Psychology. James and Schiller believed themselves allies in a war against intellectualism. Still. a focus on concrete consequences. implored James to give a talk at one of the general meetings (Houghton. Lovejoy. Schiller understood that critics were upset that their own authority as philosophers. just as impressed. Schiller served as his most reliable and zealous supporter. James undermined the very profession of philosophy. when James delivered a series of Lowell lectures in Boston. Schiller served as sympathetic respondent.”James posited pragmatism as a method of justifying religious belief no matter which perspective one took. had the authority to recognize reality and identify truth.

It is like a corridor in a hotel.” “thing” and “thought. interests. James recognized an iconoclast who believed. ” ~ James found many of his European listeners as puzzled by such assertions as his American audience. Switzerland. He thought especially fruitful Papini’s definition of pragmatism as “a collection of attitudes and methods” that took a position of “armed neutrality in the midst of doctrines. to hail and herald: a group of Italian philosophers. that “succeed one another. James believed that he could and must clarify his ideas for a larger audience. When he returned home. diaphanous. he set to work on explaining the . or as pure activity. we have the continuity of adjacents. or people. James spent the rest of his European holiday in Greece. is a great corridor-theory” (EPh. in another a desk at which sits some one eager to destroy all metaphysics. called James their mentor. and all must pass there. “self-transcendency is everywhere denied. and performing the same function. events. The knower and the known were inseparable components of any e~perience. Distinguishing between “subject” and “object. as he did. The group published a monthly journal. But the corridor belongs to all. and France. seemed to James just what was needed to communicate his own ideas. memories. James argued that consciousness “as it is commonly represented. devoid of content of its own. p. in short” was nothing more than “pure fancy.” James said. and Henri Bergson.William James: The European Connection 29 notions of mind-body dualism that he had questioned in The Principles. either as an entity. In one you may see a man on his knees praying to regain his faith. where he met with other men who encouraged his ideas: Schiller. with writing that James found so clear and accessible that he wished American philosophers could use it as a model.” therefore. It is clear that too much attention cannot be brought to bear upon this n ~ t i o n . according to James. were “pure experiences” of objects. Pragmatism.~ “In my view. In Papini.” What did exist. needs. and these relations are themselves essential parts of the web of experiences.” That consciousness of experience is shaped by each individual’s past experiences. especially his talent with adjectives and metaphors. in a third a laboratory with an investigator looking for new footholds by which to advance upon the future. in short. that philosophy should liberate the imagination. from which a hundred doors open into a hundred chambers. Instead of it. Yet as much as he was energized by conversations with these philosophers. But one small contingent seemed to understand him fully-and not only to understand.46). England. but directly self-knowing-spiritual. they enter into infinitely varied relations. Flournoy. Leonardo. Papini and his compatriots had succeeded in countering James’s despondency about his potential contribution to philosophy. led by twenty-four-year-old Giovanni Papini. therefore. was not philosophically useful. but in any case as being fluid. Papini’s literary skill. unextended.

The excerpt seems an appropriate last word for this introduction to James’s thought: James’s poignant. James’s last philosophical effort. reflecting on the questions of free will. cannot consistently mean that so far as it actually was rendered. This implies that something different was possible in their place. James wrote to Renouvier. was published posthumously in 1911. But it seems to me that History decides sufficiently clearly between the two: Quietistic fatalistic optimism leads to antinomianism of one sort or an other and some sink of corruption always lies practically at the end. must be accepted as a postulate in justification of our moral judgment that certain things already done might have been better done. . if accepted at all. that evil. in what concerns the past. and I feel strongly the attractiveness of it myself. Hence an absolute justification of all past fact. statement of what he consistently willed to believe as his essential precepts: I believe more and more that free will. and Some Problems of Philosophy. in it at that particular place and time. somewhat wistful. Oxford in 1908-1909) was published in 1909. So. and consequently an absolute indifferentism to all future fact. In 1882. pluralism. September 28. It is in fact the religious view. (as distinguished from limited or moral) optimism.V 260. (Corr. .-I wish you would examine more closely than you have done the relations of deterministic rationality with optimism. Both falsity & evil are for him. and that consequently may be treated according to the law of the past. and morality that occupied so much of their ongoing conversation. For as long as languages contain a future-perfect tense. A Pluralistic Universe (containing lectures that James delivered at Manchester College. a truer judgment could have been in its place.1882) . . for entirely practical reasons. it will be possible for men in looking towards the future. The determinist. in fact. and radical empiricism that so thwarted his readers’ understanding. and the enervating practical fruits of every absolute. authority.) lies the essence of their meaning. I hold that we are justified in believing that both falsehood and evil to some degree need not have been. the work as a whole is the richer and better for having had that error. who calls this judgment false. The Meaning of Truth reprinted articles from James’s career that helped to define and explain pragmatism and radical empiricism.30 Linda Simon principles of pragmatism. Religion and morality. to think of it as something that shall have been. seem essentially opposed. Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking was published in 1907. when radically treated. entirely separated from that mental connexion with “what might have been” in which (to our ordinary consciousness. The only way in which he can save the rationality of the world to his own mind is by taking refuge in an absolute optimistic faith which says.

February 1. 1904): 477491. 320. . pp.”:Translation. Houghton Library (MS Am 1092. 1870. and Scientific Methods (September 1. 3.William James: The European Connection 31 Notes 1. 261-271. William James. “La Notion de Conscience. Journal of Philosophy. ERE. Hereafter designated in the text as “Houghton. 4. Diary. Harvard University. Psychology.” 2. Manuscript Lectures: p.9 [4550]).

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33 - . The road. for “Dostoevsky” (that self. PARTIAL CONVERSIONS. from the Crystal Palace to the damp. Some of Dostoevsky‘s characters (most notably Zosima and Alyosha) at their journey’s end eventually take on the qualities of saints. Dostoevsky criticism now constitutes a combination atlas and guidebook. the threshold. In “The Sick Soul. Virtually all of them partake. of the motif of the journey.” the sixth and seventh of the Gifford lectures (1901-1902). the back alley. William James. the short cut. James writes eloquently and at length of Tolstoy’s account in A Confession (1884) of the loss and recovery of personal faith that assailed the great Russian writer in the last decades of his life. for in it the movement toward God threatens. semi-autobiographical. spider-ridden bathhouse.2 Adventures in Time and Space: Dostoevsky. the detour. the crossroads. in which the travels and the stopping points of Dostoevsky‘s travelers have been logged. from Petersburg’s Izmaylovsky Bridge to the Siberian steppe. Throughout Dostoevsky‘s fiction the experience of conversion is a frighteningly perilous one. the public square-these are the common locales of the Dostoevskian conversion. semi-fictional hero who appears in the story “Peasant Marei”) and his characters undergo experiences that resemble those of many of the mystics in James’s case studies. as described by James. at virtually ONVERSIONS. yet The Varieties of Religious Experience offers a means of understanding the Dostoevskian journey to conversion even more profoundly than it does the Tolstoyan one. and the Perilous Journey to Conversion Robin Feuer Miller counter conversions. The road maps for these thoroughfares and byways have been charted by at least five generations of critics. the bridge. in some way. He never mentions Dostoevsky. deconversions abound in Dostoevsky‘s fiction. C .

I use here William James’s definition of conversion as “the process. It is by now a commonplace to discern in Dostoevsky‘s work frequent moments of the fantastic-the fantastic as defined by Tzvetan Todorov-which the reader (and the character) experience temporally as a period of hesitation before exiting into an interpretation of the text as realistic or marvelous.this theme of “contact with other worlds” no longer resonated covertly. become conversion. and consciously wrong.34 Robin Feuer Miller every moment. then. which occurs during a conversion. may begin to elude them. inferior and unhappy. if you will-that is. 157). to change direction. a relationship of like to like rather than one based on difference. X can resemble nothing so much as XI. when he wrote The Brothers Kararnazov. Not surprisingly.” By 1880. “The consciousness of life is higher than life. Rather than the polarity between conversion and perversion that one might expect to find.is toxic. p. partakes of an uncanny journey through time and space. The brush with the essential. In these pages I shall be examining Dostoevsky’s ongoing fascination with those inward conversion journeys in which the paradigmatic and necessary shift of the locus of being from the head to the heart is effected by a process of transformation which. in consequence of its firmer hold upon religious realities” (VRE. Conversion hovers at the edge of perversion.” p. This journey may be simultaneously a journey from the known to the unknown and from the unknown to the known. For Dostoevsky the conversion experience includes another dimension as well. by which a self hitherto divided. while perversion may. Dostoevsky’s ongoing exploration of the dreadful tension between God-man and Man-god-the Shatov/Kirillov dichotomy-embodies a homeopathic rather than an allopathic relationship.but XI. to classify. its essence. the knowledge of happiness is higher than happiness-that is what we have to fight against” (“The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. superior and happy. But the journey to conversion may result in a perversion of such experience. It is from this perspective that the ridiculous man speaks when he proclaims. (For example. in one form or another. the experience of conversion embodies a metaphysical apprehension of the fantastic. gradual or sudden. 738). by an infinitesimal shift of the kaleidoscope.to collapse into its opposite. while X is life-giving.) . there exists a troubling mutuality or symbiosis between them-a homeopathic rather than an allopathic relationship. but instead was a full-bodied presence that announced itself repeatedly and with many variations. a fleeting but unforgettable sensation of “contact with other worlds. by a minute rearrangement of identical elements. their experience. But reader and character alike can become fruitlessly enmeshed in the attempt to decide whether “what happened” was real or hallucinatory. A character’s journey to conversion may result in a genuine spiritual awakening. if they focus solely on trying to name. becomes unified and consciously right. eludes classification. its authenticity. and moreover.

” “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. They have known no measure. February 1876) offers a paradigm for the experience of conversion in Dostoevsky. in The Idiot. heard voices. As early as 1868.*These conditions prevail just as neatly in “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man” and in Alyosha’s vision of Cana of Galilee. we encounter in this work a quintessential example of conversion literature. religious leaders have been subject to abnormal psychical visitations. Subsequently.” a title worthy of Rakitin or of Ivan Karamazov. but such conversion journeys become particularly prevalent in his work from 1876 on. My texts are “Peasant Marei. whereas their presence is. . Dostoevsky had demonstrated a sustained interest in representing the experience of conversion as a fantastic journey. 15) Indeed. been liable to obsessions and fured ideas. In James’s first lecture in Varieties. and [have] had melancholy during a part of their career. in James’s view the “two main phenomena of religion are melancholy and conversion. James’s description reads like Dostoevsky’s notebook sketches for his heroes and anti-heroes alike: Even more perhaps than other kinds of geniuses. as defined by William James in his “still unsurpassed” (according to Frank) The Varieties of Religious Experience: “The sense that all is well with one. experienced only fleetingly and partially by Ivan. at best. . James breaks down the notion of melancholy into two key components that characterize the preconversion state. [and] an appearance of newness [that] beautifies every object” (Frank. in discussing Tolstoy’s Confession. . and presented all sorts of peculiarities which are ordinarily classed as pathological. . “Peasant Marei” (TheDiary o f a Writer. p. p. ( VRE. . and frequently they have fallen into trances. even though the outer conditions should remain the same .l Whether we follow Joseph Frank and see in this work a profound visionary expression of Dostoevsky‘s turning to the people. he enumerates the qualities of a typical “religious leader” before he has undergone a conversion.the sense of perceiving truths not known before . The attack of melancholy that can lead to religious .” Ivan Karamazov’s nightmare encounter with the devil. . seen visions.Adventures in Time and Space 35 The four key journeys to conversion in Dostoevsky‘s work that I consider here are accounts ranging from autobiography transmitted through the lens of fiction to fiction passed on through the lens of autobiography. or whether we follow Robert Louis Jackson and see a three-tiered recollection of a recollection expressing a religious profession de foi. and Alyosha Karamazov’s vision of Cana of Galilee.” and the successful conversion in Dostoevsky’s scheme also involves a journey from one state to the other. . Often they have led a discordant inner life. “Religion and Neurology. 116). Invariably they have been creatures of an exalted emotional sensibility. Frank explicates Dostoevsky’s conversion experience and finds present in it the three key ingredients of the archetypal conversion.

This journey defamiliarizes the known.36 Robin Feuer Miller conversion.which lead a parasitic existence. at its very heart. memory-both that which is consciously remembered and that which is subliminal. The crucial element in James’s understanding of religious conversion is the fact that evil is not destroyed. carking questioning” ( VRE. in James’s view. Here. “Recent psychology has found great use for the word ‘threshold’ as a symbolic designation for the point at which one state of mind passes into another” (VRE. the ridiculous man. Second. Writes James: “The older medicine used to speak of two ways.4James points out that these subliminal memories are far closer to the conscious mind than the material present in the unconscious. literally beneath the threshold of memory-plays a key role.” The sense of estrangement and the “gnawing questioning” of the Dostoevskian hero find expression (and relief) in the otherworldly journey to conversion. Stavrogin. Those memories. miraculously. lysis and crisis. He then classes Tolstoy and Bunyan as examples of “the gradual way. tend to experience conversion through crisis. 51).. Dostoevsky‘s characters often exhibit a Jamesian anhedonia. he uses the motif of the journey. That moment of crisis.” uttered by Raskolnikov. in which the process of conversion may seem so rapid as to be instantaneous. the other abrupt. or rendered impotent. in the desire for “philosophic relief. “nothing makes any difference. in which inner unification may occur” (VRE. Indeed. that reveal “whole systems of underground life . of lysis. the other sudden. and Ivan. pains. Ippolit. this melancholy casts the world in “an altered and estranged aspect” which eventually. is really the result. that is. however. to designate that threshold point of spiritual conversion where subliminal memory intersects with present despair. The frequent tag phrase. 191). present material sensations (VRE. states James. the power of ‘remoter’facts. one gradual. reflects nothing so much as an acute “loss of appetite for life’s values. undone. he seems to prefigure Bakhtinian ideas and even language when he observes. p. in James’s view. puts his characters into supernatural. but it is incorporated. an event composed of subliminal material. pp. p. exists as a paradoxical response . James observes that “the memory of an insult may make us angrier than the insult did when we received it”-that is. from which one might recover from a bodily disease. 115). often exerts greater force on our actions and beliefs than do actual.into a sense of divine harmony. 126). p. one gradual. that marker of existential despair. In all of Dostoevsky’s conversion scenes. convulsions” (p. the experience of conversion. and mystical relations with time and space.” stimulates a “gnawing. a journey brought about by melancholy and the desire to cast it off. Dostoevsky. on the other hand. first of all.” irrupt into consciousness with “hallucinations. consists.3Interestingly enough. In the spiritual realm there are also two ways. 152-153). . fantastic. of anhedoniaa passive loss of appetite for life’s values.” Dostoevsky‘s characters.

the sufferer is not always “saved. a deeper kind of conscious being than he could enjoy before” (VRE.” Suddenly. in fact. potentially. “simultaneously” he remembers (ital. One evening “without any warning” he experienced “a horrible fear of [his] own existence. . and the sufferer. “When disillusionment has gone as far as this. and the happiness of Eden never comes again. p. Dostoevsky‘s visionary work is chiseled out of memory in all its formsconscious. the process can work the other way: “The normal process of life contains moments as bad as any of those which insane melancholy is filled with. . . Dostoevsky describes how. the minus instead of the plus. Jackson makes three observations that can offer rich veins for the exploration of other moments of conversion in Dostoevsky‘s fiction.” In fact. .5 “Peasant Marei” With this Jamesian model for conversion in mind. and above all. Like Ivan Karamazov. but finding natural evil no such stumbling block and terror because it now sees it swallowed up in supernatural good. 134). That shape am I. vision. when saved. .” he writes. 131). After this the universe was changed for me altogether. there is seldom a restitio ad integrum. The process is one of redemption. By finding in “Peasant Marei” a three-tiered structure of experience. This mental state accords with an example of counter conversion or perversion that James claims to have translated from the French but which is. is saved by what seems to him a second birth. motionless epileptic he had seen in an asylum. but something vastly more complex. liminal. p. James carefully underscores the perilousness of this processthat “happiness” may not come. given this veiled autobiographical account. mine) a terrifymg. James experiences a demonic negative revelation.I became a mass of quivering fear. The lunatic’s visions of horror are all drawn from the material of daily fact. James’s own work. subliminal. one about the stunning economy of the power of dream language. . including natural evil as one of its elements. .Adventures in Time and Space 37 to the problem of evil. . Jackson calls attention to three crucial matters: one about memory. one about conversion itself. One has tasted of the fruit of the tree. is not the simple ignorance of ill. when any does come .” In his compelling analysis of this work. not of mere reversion to natural health. artistically transformed. and recollection of a recollection. . “This image and my fear entered into a species of combination with each other. let us return to “Peasant Marei. a moving account of a devastating experience that took him unawares in April 1870. itself expresses a profoundly moving longing for the kind of positive religious experience he describes in others.It was like a revelation” (VRE. as a convict “[he] used to analyze these impressions. I felt. The happiness that comes.

or for Alyosha.when Dostoevsky “recollected the recollection” (Jackson.. 28). one that is fully consonant with Freudian dream interpretation. . all the hatred and anger completely vanished from my heart” (p. Time becomes double time: a bright day at the end of August 1830 coalesces with the second day of Easter week in 1850. 30911). volk. “When did the miracle take place?” In the summer of 1830. 207). at the time of the childhood hallucination. p. The “child Dostoevsky”journeys out of the ravine and into the bushes and hears a cry of “wolf!” The “convict Dostoevsky” is in the midst of his painful Siberian sojourn. the hazier the borders of this event become. in the fact that the Russian word for wolf. [the memory of the wolf and the peasant Marei] came to my mind at the needed time” or in 1876. and-what is more important-[he] used to correct. It is a question which touches upon a constant paradox of conversion. one which James illustrates through a quotation of the words of the American philosopher Xenos Clark. this question of “precisely when” becomes a central one for the ridiculous man. .for “the people” (Jackson. The child Dostoevsky ran in terror from the imaginary wolf to the motherly arms of the peasant Marei. 25). for the ridiculous man. when “without any effort of my will . who observed. “The truth is that we travel on a journey that was accomplished before we set out” (VRE. as early as 1918. The convict Dostoevsky‘s memory welled up in response to his horror of his fellow convicts. The “great writer Dostoevsky” (the voice narrating the 1876 account) mentally journeys back to both times at once. He journeys to a newly remembered. the closer one tries to look at it. for Ivan. Dostoevsky‘s profession of faith. 210). As he recalls. p. the Freudian psychoanalyst Alfred . Although a conversion experience tends to be regarded as a discrete event after which one’s life is changed. for Ivan. shaven and branded peasant. p. in Easter week of 1850. thus hinges upon a radical semantic conversion: the terrifying “volk” somehow is reincarnated into the redeemed “ Volk. is the German word. The glaring concrete present time of 1850 imperceptibly assumes the shimmer of the fantastic by containing within it a day from childhood in 1830: “This intoxicated. but Dostoevsky felt that “by some miracle. why. he may be the very same Marei” (p. the “convict Dostoevsky” enters a trance-like state (like that described by James) where present misery is unexpectedly overtaken by memory. p. We cannot locate with certainty the actual moment of conversion for Dostoevsky. we can only witness their journeys and watch their subsequent efforts to transmit their experience to others. Jackson discovers a compelling link between the two. his intimate account of his turning to the people. long-forgotten past. Curiously.38 Robin Feuer Miller adding new touches to things long ago outlived. continually correct them” (Diary of a Writer. Indeed. and for Alyosha as well. . Volk. Jackson goes on to ask a crucial question. 210).” Nothing in everyday reality changes.

a rhyme of sorts. at the core of “Peasant Marei” one finds a frightened child. of course. his heart filled with anger and loathing of the peasant brutality around him. Ivan. the mutuality. Rice. the journey to conversion. the important thing here is the wolf. all is changed. is located within a frame.” The story ends with Dostoevsky’s second encounter with the Pole and a repetition of the French phrase. He rushes instead into the arms of a figure who himself embodies both polarities.” Rozenblium cites a manuscript passage for “Peasant Marei” that clearly derives from Raskolnikov’s dream of the horse in Crime and Punishment. This framing recurs. “He has moments of inward impatience. However. of good and evil is endlessly problematic. for the ridiculous man. Third. The despairing convict Dostoevsky rushes out of his cell. that terrifying yolk lurks within the iconic one-within Marei himself. This is the typical terror of the nightmare into which any ecstatic dream can instantaneously collapse. at whatever locale in time or space one decides to say it occurred.6 But that wolf that drives Dostoevsky back to man exists within all men. p. but evident too in the ridiculous . transpose. p. ~ in Dostoevsky‘s presentation of it. “This reminiscence is generally interpreted as if it characterized Dostoevsky’s bond with the peasantry. 416. with variations. discovers that immediately below the surface of the tender. the convict Dostoevsky’s visions “used to begin with some speck. and the Tatar within him bursts forth. The child Dostoevsky does not rush from the imaginary wolf to the welcoming embrace of the peasant. Second. and p ~ n d e r First. the figure of safety toward whom the terrified child runs. and Alyosha at their critical moments as well. Ivan. Marei himself becomes a disturbingly liminal figure. but now.” We have here a suggestion of the trance-like state. of course. He then hears the words of the Polish convict. James Rice. 287).” I would like to suggest certain nodules in the text which seem to possess a tangle of meaning that Dostoevsky would continue to rework. The proximity. “Je hays ces brigands. The suffering of a child also poses fundamental questions for the ridiculous man. following the lead of the Soviet scholar L. the nine-year-old Dostoevsky. Did Dostoevsky remove this passage because he believed his readers would reject his profession de foi if it were included? Or does this excerpt offer us the very crux of the matter? Before leaving “Peasant Marei.’ across her eyes with his knout when she is stuck in the mud with the cart” (Zilbershtein and Rozenblium. the wolf that drives the writer back to man” (Adler. motherly Marei himself lurks “peasant brutality and the potential for abrupt violence. p. 258).Adventures in Time and Space 39 Adler had stumbled upon the psychological importance of this elusive wolf and had lectured on his findings. . even within Marei himself. and Alyosha. In these manuscript pages. M. and he starts beating his little mare. Rozenblium. most prominent in Stavrogin. his ‘nurse and provider.

The frame. in that it provokes strong disagreement among its readers over the question of whether the ridiculous man’s experience was one of conversion or of perversion. yet hauntingly original and vexing. p. Dostoevsky carefully gives the precise time of year when these important events occurred: the time of the auditory childhood hallucination is August. “Je hays ces brigands:’ framed the tale. Fourth. or voyages imaginaires. in that despite its laconism. then he comforts him with assurances that it has been a dream.” is a stunning and vexing tale-stunning.” and its remarkable “artistic and philosophical laconism. robinsonades (Crusoe stories). Dostoevsky knew f u l l well that the title would immediately carry these utopian associations to any of his educated contemporary readers. although we can find echoes of some of Poe’s stories in “The Dream” as well. 207). Bakhtin links this story to “the dream satire” and to “fantastic journeys” containing a utopian element (Bakhtin.Thus. making mysterious contact with one another. Yet Dostoevsky‘s title and its utopian or dystopian connotations can easily deflect the reader from the story’s most authentic genealogical tie. 6 ) . for “The Dream’s’’ most intimate kinship lies with the conversion tale or the tale of visionary experience. The Ridiculous Man and DeQuincey’s Opium-Eater “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. “a dry and clear day. In fact. 209). by the different meaning they took on at the end. high- . utopian works were most frequently called rtves (dreams). Its structure and thematics particularly duplicate A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.” a short story that impressed Mikhail Bakhtin by virtue of its “maximal universality. 147): In the eighteenth-century French tradition. the needy child. the precise description of the day on which the conversion occurs.40 Robin Feuer Miller man. The memory remains hidden in Dostoevsky‘s soul. and then. the trance. then gently reenters the world of delusion and assures him that “I shall not surrender thee to the wolf?” (p. and. in one form or another. and even Alyosha. the subliminal memories which re-surface “at the needed time”-all these elements function as mysterious talismans that.” “maximal terseness. though somewhat chilly and windy” (p. the end of summer. Marei for an instant almost believes the frightened child. comes to the fore “at the needed time” during Easter week. almost as if Dostoevsky‘s individual stories and novels were themselves separate worlds. In “Peasant Marei” the words of the Polish convict. it teems with sources. codes. one nineteenth-century French dictionary actually defined utopie as chimtre (Manuel. without any intellectual effort. Ivan. resurface in subsequent conversion scenes. p.

Adventures in Time and Space 41 lighted the Jamesian concept that after a conversion. which punctuates the ridiculous man’s journey through time and space. has been my heaviest affliction” (pp. death. disappeared forever. calls to mind another visionary work that Dostoevsky knew well. The ridiculous man rejects her plea for help at the beginning. the realization that he has “always cut a ridiculous figure. But the little girl. and the adult. I have never heard a syllable about her. his unwilled pity for her-his discovery that he still. vulnerable to injury.. They are all dear to me now” (p. If in “Peasant Marei” Dostoevsky. . has the capacity to feel-inspires his dream journey. Ann.Often. De Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Before his dream journey. At the beginning. such features are invested with new and radiant meaning. Likewise. but he finds the child (“And I did find that little girl. 723). This. figures at the heart of the matter and at the center of his subsequent j ~ u r n e y . the ridiculous man tells how he did not help the child. . . amongst such troubles as most men meet in this life. Central to Dostoevsky‘s conversion accounts is the fear.I shed tears. But that does not make me angry any more.. this ridiculousness has become precious to him: “They still regard me as being as ridiculous as ever. but “the little girl.brings him to the brink of suicide. De Quincey’s experience with the child prostitute.” [p. he assures us that he has found her at the end.” the child acts as the second key part of the frame for the ridiculous man’s journey through space and time. in fact had saved me” (p. or violation of a child. 717). is not dissimilar. despite his melancholy and solipsism. His encounter with the little girl and his subsequent musings before falling asleep also underscore the difficulty of determining the precise moment when his conversion occurs. . . and during the succeeding years searches repeatedly for her. 51). . lost and then found.stretched out a saving hand to me” (p.But to this hour. when I walk at this time in Oxford Street by dreamy lamp-light .64). although outward circumstances may remain the same. 7231) who has. . that my poor orphan companion . At the outset of his account. “Then it was. the gaslight afflicts the heart of the ridiculous man. He knows that others find him ridiculous both before and after his conversion journey. however. at this crisis of my fate. He then loses her in the dreary expanse of London. . journeyed back and forth through space and time so that he could exist in the story simultaneously as the child. His anhedonia (to use James’s term for “the sick soul”) is acute. In “The Dream” the narrator’s knowledge of his own ridiculousness functions as a partial frame to the story.” along with his solipsistic belief that nothing makes any difference. 52-53. After his conversion journey. . in “The Dream. ~ This frame of the little girl. as the ridiculous man himself knows well. through the agency of memory. for De Quincey. suffering. capable of reconciliation. wishing desperately to send her “an authentic message of peace and forgiveness.

He longs for martyrdom and is expelled. where he admires. . I was worshipped. . . . were both powerfully affected” (p. most important. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. the sense of time. 112). .” and in his dream he is once more “by lamp-light in Oxford Street. “Like a horrible trichina. becomes both the would-be deity and the victim on his visionary travels. when you leap over space and time and the laws of nature and reason and only pause at the points which are especially dear to your heart” (p. when the lamplight fell upon her face. loves. . 103). nor can I give you reason of the time. For both men this passage of time. He travels to that other earth. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed. 726). her lost image-for a moment recovered in the dream-hovers at the end of his confession. He then dreams of the lost Ann. not by the head but by the heart” (p. and in the end. they said. that prelapsarian repetition of our own. space and time. sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that time” (p. 109). even as he is the cause of their Fall. . “I was the idol. 733). each man’s flight through time and space occurs. it all happened as it always does in dreams. which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. while others you leap across as though entirely unaware of. “I cannot remember how long we were flying. this journey is impossible to describe clearly. 103). not by a religious candle. I was sacrificed. and. The ridiculous man dreams that he dies and is buried. Over every form. De Quincey’s Confessions ofan Opium Eater prefigure this burial. but by a dreary urban lamplight: He remembers a time “seventeen years ago. They plant in him the seed of love and redemption. for instance. by crocodiles. . like the germ of the plague infecting whole kingdoms. this journey through space and time. brooded a sense of eternity and infinity that drove me into an oppression of madness” (p. Like the little girl whom the ridiculous man meets. He then flies with an unknown being on a flight whose stopping points are charted by desire. De Quincey.42 Robin Feuer Miller In between these encounters with a child. the mystical experiences produced by opium and anesthetics seemed to some to offer a legitimate and . His experiences are “wholly incommunicable by words. too. I was the priest. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia. Dreams seem to be induced not by reason but by desire. De Quincey describes the effects of opium: “I sometimes seemed to have lived for seventy or one hundred years in one night. The ridiculous man describes how certain details in dreams appear with “uncanny vividness . . Ann becomes an icon of redemption illuminated. nay. Expanse exists. walking again with Ann” (p. and eventually corrupts the innocent inhabitants of that other Greek archipelago. but time cannot be the indicator of its measure. . I was kissed with cancerous kisses. . The sense of space. . 724). so did I infect with myself all that happy earth” (p. .

Both nights are wet.” to locate his dream at a particular point in time: “I learnt the truth last November. . . Golyadkin likewise is abroad on “a dreadful night. I understood for a moment things I have now forgotten. and snowy. on the third of November. to be precise” (“The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. he is. . and is present in as early a work as The Double. at the same time. . . Dostoevsky. like De Quincey. The result-an uncanny intersection between time and timelessness. including each little meaningless piece of distress.” (p. misty. and I was one of them. rainy. In that moment the whole of my life passed before me.1° Indeed. my first feeling was. like the ridiculous man. 38-39). . and I understood them . . . .” p. . on waking. . It was raining and snowing all in one. extremely careful. He enters a trancelike state and begins to stare fixedly into the canal’s black waters. a real November night. . the preoccupation with the angles and pathways in space in James’s source also resembles Ivan’s interest in such details. as is Dostoevsky in “Peasant Marei. throughout the entire span of his literary career. I saw. who have made their spatial and temporal boundary crossings with the help of opium and ether. . Then I saw that what he had been trying to do with all his might was to change his course. Golyadkin. . it was his pathway. The lightning was made entirely of the spirits of innumerable people . In fact. and cold. One of these bears a particularly striking resemblance to the ridiculous man’s dream: A great Being or Power was traveling through the sky. The angle was an obtuse angle. dank. dismal. . In his chapter on “Mysticism”in Varieties James cites numerous reports that reached him of such experiences. . . ‘‘Domine non sum digna. . and [draws] him off his path and out of his mind” ( pp. wanders in Petersburg near the Fontanka on another November night. l 1 . 718). . .” The dreadful weather “[cuts] into him from all sides . . It is in this atmosphere that he encounters his double. Even as the ridiculous man conveys to us the miraculous leaping through time and space that is his dream.between a specific place and a known but unreachable place-generates Dostoevsky‘s idiosyncratic mode of the fantastic. 31In) The ridiculous man’s journey through time and space is drug free. . He moved in a straight line. the ridiculous man remembers “a rain with a distinct animosity towards people” (p. was always careful to locate that experience of a journey that occurs outside of everyday time and beyond the boundaries of known space within precise temporal and spatial markers. to bend the line of lightning. hurting me more than I had ever been hurt . He bended me. . his foot was on a kind of lightning.Adventures in Time and Space 43 productive avenue for investigation of transrational experience. and it came with tears. . yet its closest analogues lie in the visionary experiences of those. 719). as a wheel is on a rail. . and at the acutest point of this .

the narrator chronicler tells us precisely. Moreover. who each appear twice in their respective stories. 486). He. Ivan’s uncompleted journey to conversion-the night on which he makes his third and final visit to Smerdyakov and on which we witness his encounter with the devil-occurs. as he had done earlier in “Peasant Marei” and in “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.’* This day has extended through books X and XI. too. or before it. the gloomy night dredges up a doubling of his own ideas in a physical form that is alien and other: a devil. although it bears a strong resemblance both to the Polish convict who utters “Je hays ces brigands” and to the little girl. and for Alyosha in his vision.” and “a dry and sharp wind was lifting and blowing the bits of snow about” (p. but he does. In “The Dream” it is impossible to say whether or not the ridiculous man’s actual conversion occurred after his journey through space and time. like the ridiculous man.44 Robin Feuer Miller The Brothers Karamazov and the Journey to Conversion The intersection of time with timelessness fittingly envelopes the uncanny aspects of the journey to conversion for Dostoevsky in “Peasant Marei“ and for the ridiculous man on his excursion. Each man encounters something that is simultaneously familiar and unknown. It did not lie on the ground. irrevocable change. Ivan encounters long-forgotten fragments of his own past thoughts. we cannot speak of a full-blown conversion or of a sharply defined journey. but was whirled about by the wind” (p.” The ridiculous man visits a replica of our unfallen earth. and in chapter VIII. when he felt the first stab of pity for the little girl. the narrator refers to the morning weather which he had described a hundred pages previously. “the keen dry wind that had been blowing early that morning rose again. at “the beginning of November. as Ivan approaches Smerdyakov’s house. The date and the weather thus strongly recall the night on which the ridiculous man had had his dream. In The Brothers Karamazov. In Ivan’s case. sometime in the course of that windy.” But now this frame is more curiously displaced. Ivan had earlier told Alyosha that he wished to send back his “entrance ticket” because he had rejected any universal system founded upon the unjustified tears of a child. and a fine. There had been a hard frost. Like the ridiculous man. wet night at the beginning of November. during it. thick dry snow began falling heavily. it figures importantly for Ivan in his encounter with the devil. he possesses a theory that al- . undergo a profound. 486). Dostoevsky “remembers” a long-forgotten occurrence at the “needed time. has an encounter with a being outside of everyday space and time. Alyosha’s vision combines recent events and memories with a personal experience of the biblical past. Dostoevsky once again demarcates a character’s spiritual change through the use of a frame.

even as he has almost obsessively portrayed . Dostoevsky offers up a kind of worst case scenario: Ivan encounters a disgusting. Instead. their essence has changed for Ivan. a child. drunken little peasant. already occurred for Ivan. hypothesizes that “Ivan was unable to accept the harmony of God’s universe because he understands the mystery of time-time being the ‘fourth dimension’ from which his three-dimension Euclidean mind barred him” (Knapp. a figure much closer to Dostoevsky‘s fellow convicts in his repulsiveness. this little frame tale of the drunken peasant underscores a failed conversion. Dostoevsky. a perversion of sorts. He saves the peasant.13Knapp shows convincingly that we may “crack the riddle” of Ivan through taking into account Dostoevsky’s excellent knowledge of mathematics and physics and his understanding of current theories about the potential relativity of time. a full conversion has occurred. He goes home instead. 601). Liza Knapp. 601). My interest in Ivan’s relation to time and space is less scientific and more linked to the many possible “varieties of religious experience” as explored by William James. When he leaves Smerdyakov. at some indefinable point. instead of demarcating the boundaries in which.” Ivan feels a dreadful loathing and hatred for the peasant whom he meets on the way to his third and final interview with Smerdyakov. his eyes fasten “on one point. in a pattern typical of the conversion experience.Adventures in Time and Space 45 lows him to reject God. after having just sung his uncanny ditty. But to underscore the change that is about to occurhis partial new acceptance of his membership in precisely such a universe where good and evil are mysteriously entwined-Dostoevsky does not have him meet a child on that cold November night. almost all his gladness and self-satisfaction passed in one instant” (p. “He will freeze” (p. The frame is familiar-a repeated meeting. “Something like joy was springing up in his heart” (p. after the latter’s confession of murder. Ivan himself thinks he recognizes in his altruistic “frame” act a symbol of his regeneration. yet he simultaneously puts off going to the prosecutor to give him the money and to confess his role and Smerdyakov’s. Ivan’s mysterious relations with time and space manifest themselves most strikingly. a spiritual regeneration has. He returns home. Although exterior circumstances remain the same. 588). Ivan pushes him down on the frozen ground and thinks to himself. and “strange to say.” and the devil appears (p. sometime. p. He then stumbles again against the freezing peasant. a counter conversion. 108). Like the Dostoevsky of “Peasant Marei. In his interview with the devil. Thus. When the peasant lurches against Ivan. somewhere. who has explored the scientific aspects of this relationship. whether with a Pole. 600). Certainly. Dostoevsky‘s use of time through his literary career has been consistently problematic. or a drunken peasant. encapsulates a religious transformation-but the use to which Dostoevsky will put it is vastly different.

but his devil does. Yet.when the inner significance of a moment is equal to a ‘billion years. after his death was sentenced to walk a quadrillion kilometers “in the dark. Most important. in Crime and Punishment. Knapp. its momentary glimpses of some higher harmony could be accepted. along with Ivan. Svidrigaylov similarly had mused about ghosts.”whether its lessons. . Bakhtin has remarked upon Dostoevsky‘s avoidance of the more usual forms of chronotope.” Instead. The point of departure and point of return to more limited apprehensions of time and space are as crucial to Dostoevsky‘s overall vision as are the uncanny journeys away. is close to Svidrigaylov in suggesting that perhaps illness brings with it a broader awareness of other realms. in fact. evinced an “allergy toward epic time. This journey fable offers a prophetic key to the fact and the ultimate results of Ivan’s own visionary experience. 149). p. Nevertheless. as Jacques Catteau aptly observed. if they were merely the results of illness. 100).I4 If so. The devil may simply be a hallucination. of strictly epic time [. Dostoevsky tends to demarcate these spatial and temporal leaps into the beyond by the use of frames that are strictly. The devil’s telling of Ivan’s own story also brings Ivan into intimate contact with the nu- . Even earlier. in journeys through space and time. he “sees and thinks about the world primarily in space rather than in time” (Catteau.” Once this trek was completed. James. who having rejected everything. when the moment loses its temporal restrictiveness. the traveler becomes an epic hero of sorts. as we have seen. And these journeys do come to possess a kind of epic quality.46 Robin Feuer Miller particular moments in time. he reiterates an old concern of Dostoevsky‘s. p. his characters tend to experience their key moments of spiritual epiphany in terms of journeys-journeys to Siberia. and. to try to classify the nature of this experience..” the story of the philosopher. for upon their completion. the devil tells to Ivan Ivan’s own “legend about Paradise. . James also had considered this question. most markedly in the later stages of Dostoevsky‘sliterary career. In essence he leaps over space as well” (p. he even catches cold along the way. In The Idiot. especially to the past.but] concentrates action on points of crisis . the product of Ivan’s deepening symptoms of brain fever. The devil’s appearance before Ivan necessarily forces the reader. that is. ready to transmit an emblematic message to his people. Myshkin wondered whether visionary experience that was the result of illness could still “count. but he dismissed it with the conclusion that all that matters is the unshakeable sense one has of having undergone an authentic experience. the Gates of Heaven were to open to him. . to Europe and back. has. “In his works Dostoevsky makes almost no use of relatively uninterrupted historical or biographical time.’ that is. so the story goes. rigidly rooted in the very time and space that are then briefly transcended. 52.I5 Ivan himself makes no journey through space and time.

The devil slyly urges Ivan toward an irrational acceptance of this other kind of time. The story somehow has leapt over an infinity of time and space. observes that the philosopher’s decision to embark upon this journey is irrelevant. to Zosima’s exhortations. In The Idiot. The philosopher’s quadrillion-kilometer walk in the dark thus becomes a nearly perfect expression of the numinous. Herzenstube’s pound of nuts. 611). 424). the modus operandi. and while Zosima in The Brothers Kuramazov. Dostoevsky invites us to consider whether or not the devil is working to bring about Ivan’s salvation or his damnation. But the devil is a mysterious practitioner of homeopathy. more difficult. which you perhaps have forgotten.” writes Rudolf Otto. I haven’t got a pencil and paper. he thus tries to reduce him to the status of a hallucination. mine) a thousand years. he has a vision. 62-63).” replies the devil. the philosopher gets up and starts to walk. equally powerful. Confess that you have faith even to the ten-thousandth of a grain” (p.” “But. Instead.17 The point of the devil’s narrative and of Ivan’s long-forgotten anecdote is that. desperately embracing the framework of Euclidean time. the sublime of the horizontal” (Varnado. verse 24. or I could work it out. In reply to the devil. after lying there almost (ital. But he got there long ago and that’s where the story begins” (p. there is a curious mutuality between the ways in which good and evil work in the world. of each in disturbingly similar terms. of . to Alyosha’s actions throughout. 612). as it were. This idea is congruent with the central motif governing The Brothers Karamazov. Homeopathic doses perhaps are the strongest.Adventures in Time and Space 47 minous. to Iliusha’s death.16 The numinous is most readily expressed in literature by images of darkness. The devil replies. But. can optimistically echo the novel’s epigraph and himself cite John xii. “Empty distance. Dostoevsky describes the power. and empty distance. Ivan. Ivan insists to the devil that he has not the “hundredth part of a grain of faith in [him]. “remote vacancy is. “you have a thousandth of a grain. silence. “Much more than that. for it would take a billion years to travel such a distance. to Dr. “the seed” of Ippolit’s last conviction-the desire to commit suicide-also takes hardy root.” and “all the seeds planted by you. This mutuality is expressed earlier on in The Idiot by Ippolit. and more important to answer than whether or not the devil is a hallucination. By discovering the devil’s plagiarism. and its real beginning occurs only after this cosmic leap. evil travels in the same way. unfortunately. Ivan suddenly recalls that he himself had made up this anecdote at the age of seventeen. this novel is about the way in which goodness and grace journey through the world. pp. It is here that we come up against a question more fundamental. will take root and grow” (p. He describes how one can plant the “seed of a good deed. From its epigraph from John. Throughout Dostoevsky‘s writings.

p. whether he is a hallucinatory or a truly demonic double. Both possibilities exist. when the devil makes use of seed imagery for his own purpose. a greater trophy than a mere atheist (“we have our arithmetic” [p. 299). 612).48 Robin Feuer Miller how evil seeds can also bear fruit. I. I lead you to belief and disbelief by turns. “Mephistopheles declared to Faust that he desired evil. Well. Ivan by recoiling from this toxic doubling of himself. he intensifies this disturbing symbiosis between good and evil. which is “allopathic. to evil seeds as well as to good.but what grows lives and is alive only through the feelings of its contact with other mysterious worlds”(p. when Zosima goes on to say that “God took seeds from different worlds and sowed them on this earth . 612). For what purpose. spiteful word on a child. claims to work in the service of God’s greater good. Thus the devil’s practice of homeopathy upon Ivan may be understood as an attempt to “cure” his disease of atheism. Its motto was: “Similiu similibus curentur (Let likes be cured with likes)” (Cummings and Ullman. The devil. the devil suggests that he might be a variation of Faust’s Mephistopheles. according to the principles of homeopathy. maintained that illness was best cured by giving medicines that mimicked rather than masked the symptoms of disease. . doubts. begin to heal himself. by believing Ivan’s eventual fall. Homeopathy is directly opposed to mainstream medicine. and I have my motive in it. sir” (p. albeit indirectly. but rather evidence of the body’s attempt to cure itself. by sowing a grain of faith in Ivan. Can we call his approach the devil’s variety of religious experience?“Knowing that you are inclined to believe in me.ls As James has observed. . true to our view of him as wily and full of sophistry. he can say what he likes. according to homeopathic wisdom. ideas. saintly view includes evil in its overview. . lays out both possibilities. . it’s quite the opposite with me. for they are not part of the disease itself. On the other hand. 298). Thus. On the one hand. I know that at the end of all things I shall be recovered. the mystical. “[Ylou may have sown an evil seed in him and it may grow” (p. too. 614). What is perhaps most interesting is that the devil claims to practice metaphysical homeopathy. I am perhaps the one man in all creation who loves the truth and genuinely desires good . homeopathically duplicates the symptoms of Ivan’s disease. he would gain. He wants to sow in Ivan a “tiny grain of faith” that “will grow into an oak tree” (p. 6131). he may be referring. might. he mimics and mocks Ivan’s own words. it cannot reduce or banish it. . whether to convert or to subvert. Thus.”Allopathic medicine makes use of remedies that produce effects different from those of the disease being treated. we ask. He warns of the effect of a passing. 8). The symptoms of illness should be stimulated. shall walk my quadrillion” (p. It’s the new method. The devil. but did only good. I administered some disbelief by telling you that anecdote. The science of homeopathy. Thus. both popular and discredited in the nineteenth century. one who.

The internal parts improve first. are now worse than ever. when they failed. just before he set off to engineering school. p. Shortly after this episode.Adventures in Time and Space 49 The most controversial aspect of homeopathy is its fundamental belief that the most minute dosesralled the higher potencies. “probably belladonna. does it work? According to the predictions of the science of homeopathy. Dostoevsky‘s father had tried conventional remedies upon him. and a few months after his mother’s death. Although the homeopathic remedy he used was a popular one. their very worsening is supposed to be a sign of improvement. A homeopathic cure takes time. for it involved administering a slight dose of a toxic substance. as a patient. the journey toward belief? Certainly Ivan’s statement to the court possessed the most telling earmarks of an authentic Dostoevskian confession: Ivan utters his words publicly. but is. and no one takes them at their face value. after his third meeting with Smerdyakov. certainly by the end of the novel. gotten up “from the road” and begun. we would probably have to argue yes. felt a transient surge of healing joy. since his homeopathic encounter with the devil. the symptoms of that “brain fever” which had been encroaching for so long. In fact. all the initial physical symptoms greatly worsen before they improve. for the homeopathic cure works from the inside out. which are. still in progress. Rice points out that this was “the only known therapeutic exchange” between Dr. just such a miniscule dose of faith that the devil seeks to administer to Ivan by imitating Ivan’s own “symptoms” of disbelief. he had contracted a throat ailment that reduced his voice to a whisper. p. 50). In 1837. Nevertheless. while the exterior parts are supposed to worsen temporarily. This may be the case with Ivan. although by the end of the novel Ivan’s “cure” as yet is not finished. in October 1838. rather.” The treatment failed and “Dostoevsky never recovered the normal use of his voice” (Rice. a report presented to the Society of Russian Physicians concluded that homeopathy was unsound. it was also controversial. It is. he practiced. Dostoevsky‘s . “Most scientists believe that no medicine diluted to more than a 12c potency would have any biochemical effect. “against his own strictly allopathic professional convictions” a popular homeopathic technique on him (Rice. 17). Yet it is precisely these miniscule doses that homeopathy claims are most effective. it continued to remain a popular form of treatment. 50). The question is. like his philosopher. in the dark. he had briefly. Dostoevsky himself had. a firsthand experience with homeopathy. the most capable of curing. In fact. in fact the must diluted-are the most powerful. Yet. moreover. p. Has the devil’s small dose of highly toxic words stimulated the beginning of a more permanent healing process? Does Ivan’s confession in the courtroom indicate that he has already. since it is improbable that any molecules of the original substance remain” (Cummings and Ullman. Dostoevsky and his son. he lies unconscious.

the notebook pages outlining the early plans for Ivan’s encounter with the devil are more peculiarly crammed with references to the devil’s medical problems than is the final text. Seeing this. such events. Ivan realizes that he himself has never thought of this misquotation before. myself only with a different mug. There is also the curiously homeopathic statement: “Alyosha believed a little drop” (Notebooks. Ivan. . If so. Ivan believes in the devil. For him. in the notes Ivan emphasizes the devil’s resemblance to him.” and it is left for the reader to decide whether the devil’s rendition of Ivan’s “legend about Paradise” operates to bring Ivan to belief or to drag him away from it. . to his cough. .” The devil agrees that he. In the text of the novel. and honey with salt. for they innoculate against a particular disease by dosing the patient with a small amount of it. or. in dreams and especially in nightmares. woven into such a plot. A little seed-oak. Exactly like me . this realism is epitomized in the pleasures of superstition and of “being doctored. and for a moment. Moreover. such complex and real actuality. a man sometimes sees such artistic visions. pp. 222). “You believe a small drop. Dostoevsky reduces the number of medical references. . In Dostoevsky’s jottings.” Thus. it could be an indication to us that the devil’s treatment won’t work. what to my mind is less likely. An oak grows up . Ivan accuses the devil of being “myself. p. 606). I am looking at my portrait. . Dostoevsky makes repeated reference to the devil’s wart. even a whole world of events. He also mentions sulfuric hydrogen gas. according to homeopathic wisdom. 2 19-225). the devil repeats several times that he has been vaccinated twice (Notebooks. In fact. He then offers up a striking misquotation from Terence.50 Robin Feuer Miller early personal experience with homeopathy may well have informed this critical scene from the end of his literary career. with such unexpected details from the most exalted matters to the last button on a cuff. 605). Vaccinations could certainly be considered to be equivalent to homeopathic provings. as I swear Leo Tolstoy could not create . . That’s to convert me” (Notebooks. like Ivan “suffers from the fantastic. 222). to innoculate Ivan against belief. He is stupid like me.” He tells Ivan how he has been vaccinated for smallpox. from indigestion or anything. “The knife cuts both ways. I am only your nightmare. Hoffmann’s malt liquor. Ivan quickly realizes that the devil is dragging him . although they continue to play a role consonant with homeopathy. like is treated with like. the devil immediately bursts out with a cynical dismissal of visionary experience: “Listen. these notes suggest that Dostoevsky may have planned for the devil to innoculate Ivan through his words against atheism. “He’s terribly stupid. Homeopathic. A miniscule toxic dose is thus used for curative purposes. Could the devil be giving Ivan an onion?19 At any rate. to his catarrh of the respiratory canal. nothing more” (p. p. and so I love the realism of earth” (p. and how he suffers from rheumatism.

” He chalks these “artistic visions” up to indigestion. On the advice of a German doctor he rubs himself with honey and salt. in his efforts to cure the cold he caught flying through space in an evening suit.” the one in Vienna who “will cure your left nostril. William James’srecent biographer recounts. James had himself injected with a compound prepared from the organs of a goatlymph from the thoracic ducts. again from the sun it becomes earth-and the same sequence may have been repeated endlessly” (611). But the devil shares the ridiculous man’s belief that our earth can be. broken to bits. it took it away completely. which had long been in disrepute in Russia. Indeed. Simon reminds us. I made up my mind to write to the papers to thank him” (p. he resorts to what seems to be homeopathy. together with extracts from the lymphatic . To treat his bad heart. cracked. in some unfathomable way. The devil thus ridicules the kind of visionary journey that the ridiculous man took in “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. galvanism. and I was ready to dance. “He sent me a book and some drops. drank a bottle and a half of it. What are you to do? I fell back on popular remedies” (p. . and when that fails to cure him. Why.” That special method is homeopathy. various kinds of folk healing and alternative medicine. 608). He writes to Count Mattei in Milan. been frozen. James. it offers us a further link between the visionary experience of Ivan and the ridiculous man. again ‘the water above the firmament’. The devil’s gleeful foray outside accepted medical practice into the realm of popular remedies and drops from a Count in Milan suggest an antiestablishment resort to homeopathic practices.” may have been one of Dostoevsky‘s preoccupations (Terras.but they’ve no idea how to cure you.20Certainly. then again a comet. they can diagnose beautifully. bless him.Victor Terras suspects that this idea of “eternal palingenesis. As Linda Simon.Adventures in Time and Space 51 back and forth between belief and disbelief. In reply. The devil’s experimentation in homeopathic medicine has an interesting parallel in the alternative medical procedures that William James continued to seek in curing his own ailments.” He makes fun of fancy European specialists-the one in Paris “who can only cure your right nostril. it’s become extinct. repeated elsewhere in time and space. not only sought out the services of a “mind-cure ‘doctress. He lambasts the establishment Russian doctors-“I’ve tried all the medical faculty. again a sun. Hoff‘s malt extract cured me! I bought it by accident. but had nevertheless remained so popular. . and only fancy. 608). p. disintegrated into its elements. 392).”’but tried hallucinatory drugs. the devil practically tells us that he himself has resorted to homeopathic medicine. in his own efforts to cure himself of depression and numerous physical ailments. “[0] ur present earth may have been repeated a billion times. the devil promises to explain later the “special method” he has adopted “for today.

but Alyosha. Again. p. who calls him “dear one. 341). He reenters Zosima’s cell and is overwhelmed by joy. he rushes outside for relief. Rakitin taunts Alyosha as they return to the monastery. James in his derision of establishment medicine and his attraction to what might be called crackpots and those who ventured into hallucinating states via drugs shares the irreverence of Dostoevsky‘s devil for conventional medicine and its fancy practitioners. as we have seen. Dostoevsky has carefully located a conversion-which involved a journey out of everyday . like the convict Dostoevsky with the Pole at the end of “Peasant Marei. In his grief and doubt he lies “face downwards on the ground under a tree” (p. occurs toward the end of August. “‘Someone visited my soul in that hour. Rakitin. 349).” “gentle one. 21 1). 319). Alyosha leaves the body of the decaying elder Zosima. The frame of the Polish convict and his ‘‘Je hays ces brigands” finds an echo in Alyosha’s conversations with Rakitin. it is possible that the fundamental shift to conversion has taken place even before the “conversion journey” through time and space begins. Alyosha awakens and rushes outside to water the earth with his tears. Something has already taken place. like the child Dostoevsky in “Peasant Marei. Alyosha lies on the earth amidst “the gorgeous autumn flowers” (p. and Zosima comforts him. Later in the novel. Alyosha. This event. He finds himself with Christ at Cana of Galilee. where he and Grushenka enact their mutual “onion-giving.’ he used to say afterwards” (p. “So you see the miracles you were looking out for just now have come to pass!” (p. at the close of a bright day.52 Robin Fetter Miller glands and brains (Simon. but the actual moment of his conversion is impossible to locate. the moral equivalent of the Polish convict.” expresses his fear. Alyosha then goes with Rakitin to Grushenka.’’ The meeting between Alyosha and Grushenka possesses the same suggestion of preconversion conversion that occurs in “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. appears. llke the nine-year-old Dostoevsky‘s encounter with Marei.” where the main protagonist is somehow saved by the little girl even before he undertakes his fantastic conversion journey.” In all three cases. He raises Alyosha by the hand. Alyosha returns to Zosima’s cell where he will find himself on a visionary journey to the biblical past. 336). Some of the conversion rhythms of “Peasant Marei” recapitulate here in a major key. he never forgets that moment. Ivan’s lowest point-his third visit to Smerdyakov-had ended with his feeling “something like joy. too. Zosima is there.” finds himself no longer vulnerable to Rakitin’s cynicism and hatred. Zosima. “Something firm and unshakable” had entered his soul.” “my kind boy.” treats him with a motherly affection reminiscent of Marei (p. In despair. 339).21 I shall close with a brief look at Alyosha Karamazov’s moment of crisis and the fantastic journey which embodies his conversion-his vision of Cana of Galilee. Like the convict Dostoevsky. but particularly in Alyosha’s.

they must each now travel on the road of everyday reality. Whether Ivan journeys to conversion or to perversion remains a mystery. above all.”“The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.” the ridiculous man who loses the knack for words but becomes a preacher anyway. “he got there long ago”? Notes 1. p. interpose a veil between our present consciousness . “ [W] ith their extravagance of human tenderness.” and Ivan’s encounter with the devil. moreover. pp. Ivan is still writhing under the effects-potentially lethal. I feel assured. another student of religious and mystical experience (and a writer. argues James. To some degree. When we last see him he remains in that uncloven darkness that Dostoevsky and James knew so well. See VRE. each has taken on the qualities of a saint. living past-within a definite frame of setting and time: a monk’s cell and a garden at nine o’clock on an evening in late August. This is not to say they have become emblems or stock characters. Note James’s use of the word. 46-49. knowing full well they will probably not be believed. Their journeys now change direction. or that they lose their individuality. “Dostoevsky.” At the end of The Brothers Karamazov. potentially redemptive-of the devil’s homeopathic experiment. the subliminal becomes immanent. recent events and memories converge with time long past. see Joseph Frank. Instead of journeying inwardly through time and space to an infinitely precious.” 3. like his philosopher. asserted “of this. Indeed. fully living past. conversion occurs. that there is no such thing asforgettingpossibleto the mind. 4. from which they emerge with tears of joy to embrace an unchanged. 128-131 and 153-156. but newly beautiful world. [they] are the great torch bearers of [the belief in the essential sacredness of every person]. James Rice. Or can we assume that perhaps. and Alyosha who rises up from the earth “a resolute champion” have each completed a journey of conversion. As in “Peasant Marei. at least. the saint is. and will. 20-33. the tip of the wedge. They now transmit their message to others. 116-127. “estranged. for James’s discussion of Tolstoy’s spiritual crisis. pp. as he portrayed it in “Peasant Marei. 285). the champion of the individual. Frank has made an extraordinarily happy choice in the discovery of James’s Varieties as a model for describing the hallmarks of Dostoevsky‘s conversion experience. Some years earlier Thomas De Quincey.the Peasants and Problems of Representation.”as applied to Tolstoy in 1902. For extended analyses.Adventures in Time and Space 53 time to a precious. The Dostoevsky of 1876 who wrote “Peasant Marei.long before it was used by the Russian Formalists. pp. a thousand accidents may.” 2. whose work Dostoevsky knew).pp. and Robin Feuer Miller. the cleavers of the darkness” (VRE. Robert Louis Jackson.

hold fast to the body struggling in despair of some fated living victim” (p. 283). . 137). and as I have said already. he rushed to tell others of his vision: “--After breakfast I went round to converse with my neighbors on religion. p. Dostoevsky obscures the reference to the date by giving it much earlier. Rousseau asserted that the fundamental occasion for hi5 confession was the harm he had caused years earlier to a young girl. It is well known that to prepare the description of Ivan’s encounter with the devil. 11. the Peasants and Problems of Representation. 5. p. 6.” 9. “The Boys. Like Ivan. stares fixedly into the black water. 602). 10. See Robin Feuer Miller. .” 8. “There is no image so often occurring in his work as that of a boundary” (Adler. Compare Ivan’s refusal of a civilization founded upon the unjustified tears of a child to the James citation above. like the ridiculous man. the inscription remains forever” (De Quincey.” Nevertheless. 14. 13. Derfliegende Wandersmann nach dem Monde. 12. whether veiled or unveiled. 160). looking persistently at some object on the sofa against the opposite wall” (p. Yet. For an analysis of the close structural connection between “Peasant Marei” and a section of The Idiot. James refers to the “geological cataclysm.” Golyadkin. Bradley who underwent a similar experience on November 2. as well. and I now defy all the Deists and Atheists in the world to shake my faith in Christ” (VRE. to the menippea of Grimmelshausen. I am grateful to Lewis S. p. foggy morning. .Yet there is no tooth in any of those museum-skulls that did not . Adler also makes an observation that could have come verbatim from the pen of Bakhtin. given Dostoevsky’s account of how as a convict his reveries used to begin with “some speck. The Idiot. Knapp has tackled with great success perhaps the most difficult moment in time to be found anywhere in Dostoevsky‘s canon. Adler’s essay teems with insights. which I could not have been hired to have done before this . 7. Feuer for bringing this obscure article to my attention. Hence. accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil. also curiously. and to that of Voltaire’s Micromegas. one cannot help but think the consultation with a doctor perhaps was superfluous. but alike. as the two main characters approach Petersburg by train. Dostoevsky consulted with a doctor about the details of hallucinations and of brain fever. . James describes one Stephen H. as early as 1846.” He states: “To believe in the carnivorous reptiles of geologic times is hard for our imagination.written earlier. Bakhtin connects this work to Cyrano de Bergerac’s Histoire comique des ttats et empires de la Lune (1647-1650). . see Robin Feuer Miller. We know of Dostoevsky‘s ongoing obsession with Rousseau’s Confessions. the same use of a precise location in time and place to encapsulate its opposite prevails. the narrator chronicler’s near-clinical description: “And so he was sitting almost conscious himself of his delirium. the novel of Dostoevsky which is perhaps most preoccupied with the meaning of visionary experience.54 Robin Feuer Miller and the secret inscriptions on the mind.. “Dostoevsky. . opens on a wet. after which. late in November. “Dostoevsky‘s‘Dream of a Ridiculous Man’: Unsealing the Generic Envelope. 1829. at the beginning of Book X. . We can also discover in this work ties to Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and to Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality. 104).

N. particularly the notion of God taking seeds from different gardens. of course. 18. wonder and delight (Varnado. and the otherworldly. not William. 405). 20. pp. trans. M. an avid Swedenborgian explicator.”’ in E M . might be explored. pp. Thus can the critic Jack Sullivan write that whether or not a ghost exists is unimportant. “his eyes fixed on a point in the corner by the chest of drawers” ( T h e Possessed. a display of selfishness at the last moment cancels the good deed. alone. and. “Suddenly I whipped out my watch. The term “numinous” describes a feeling that is closely connected to the intellect. But time reenters with a jolt. pp.” he says. “what counts is the authenticity of the experience” (See Jack Sullivan.” in Messent [pp. and critic alike. Miller. “Dostoevsky and the Homeopathic Dose” for an earlier version of this discussion about The Brothers Karamazov. Quoting Rudolf Otto The Idea ofthe Holy. Aksakov (see Milosz. R. Twenty minutes pass. 19. “Introduction. can observe in 1927. John W. using an oddly Bakhtinian turn of phrase. is to the episode in the novel where Grushenka tells Alyosha the story of a wicked woman who is almost admitted to heaven because she once gave an onion from her garden to an old beggar woman. the ghostly.Adventures in Time and Space 55 Stavrogin can spend a sleepless night.) As readers. “Introduction to ‘The Literary Remains of the Late Henry James. but I would say. Milosz shows that Dostoevsky‘s ideas about ghosts. Terras also points out that many echoes of this idea of palingenesis occur in the Notebooks for ‘2Raw Youth. may show the influence of Emanuel Swedenborg. 129-144). ‘“Green Tea’: The Archetypal Ghost Story. or to dismiss such fantastic material we may sheepishly crave “contact with other worlds. It is here that an interesting triangulation of Dostoevsky. first published in 1917. For the duration of our reading we may become jelly in the hands of the poet. 11-29). The reference. Harvey (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 15. “It is not amiss sometimes to leave a loophole for natural explanation. 84-86. vi.” 16. 52). James discusses this very point in “Religion and Neurology. all. to give Matryosha more time to complete her dreadful act. a nonrational sense of supernatural fear. Or. we repeatedly return to the fantastic journey. 424-425). This view tends to be echoed by those who want to engage serious discussion of visionary journeys and unearthly beings.” See M. the words of Coleridge’sAncient Mariner. See also. p. 121-1241).. Indeed. to categorize. he waits another fifteen minutes. 68-69. p. pp. “Alone. alone. It seems there is little a doctor could tell Dostoevsky about hallucinations and trances. whose works Dostoevsky read in the translations of A. This word was coined by Rudolf Otto in The Idea of the Holy. However. pp. but Henry James Sr. See William James. The Brothers Karamazov: Worlds of the Novel.” the opening chapter of Varieties (pp. R. Czeslaw Milosz points out that Dostoevsky‘s use of seed imagery. or he can describe how he lost count of the time while “looking at a tiny red spider on the leaf of a geranium” ( T h e Possessed. James. Swedenborg. 3-63.” . 17. all.” crystallize the feeling of the numinous. Even as we seek to name. For Varnado. 1958). For a fuller discussion see Miller.” in Messent (p. the fascination with that state between dreaming and wakefulness and particularly his interest in visionary travels to other worlds could all have been reinforced by his reading of Swedenborg. let the loophole be so narrow as not to be quite practicable. novelist. James.

London. . Dostoevsky: The Years of Ordeal. too. p. and adopted by credulity as the rule of life” (quoted in Simon. in The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology. F.” Translated by David Magarshack. Princeton. MacAndrew. 21 1). The Notebooks for The Brothers Karamazov. DeQuincey. Mikhail. 1984. 1969. Translated and edited by Edward Wasiolek. 1962. They help to break the edge of the general reign of hardness and are slow leavens of a better order” (VRE. Translated by P. Edited and translated by Caryl Emerson. Robert Louis. or Why Ivan Karamazov’s Devil Does Not Carry a Watch. Pp. p. New York New American Library. James goes on to link the figure of the saint to the nineteenth-century utopian socialist. . “The Fourth Dimension of the Non-Euclidean Mind Time in The Brothers Karamazov. Thomas. Works Cited Adler. Norton. Writes James in 1885: “Words cannot express my contempt for much of the medical legislation that is current. “In this respect the Utopian dreams of social justice in which many contemporary socialists and anarchists indulge are . The Diary o f a Writer. 1918. England Penguin Books. 1-144. New Haven. Edited by Alethea Hayter. 1983. . 22.” Dostoevsky Studies 8 (1987). Edited by Ralph E. 1979. Dostoevsky. The Idiot. The Possessed.” Lecture delivered in Zurich Town Hall. In Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Fridlender. 1976.56 Robin Feuer Miller 21. . grafted on an insufficiently observed fact. 3.J. 1968. Salt Lake City: Gibbs M. . Dostoevsky. Jacques. Conn. “Prostranstvo i vremia v romanakh Dostoevskogo. Leningrad Nauka.“The Double. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Frank. Translated by Constance Garnett. Vol. The Brothers Karamazov. Translated by Boris Brasol. 1923.” In The Art of Dostoevsky: Deliriums and Nocturnes. Confessions of an English Opium Eater. Bakhtin. Joseph.: Yale University Press. “The Triple Vision: The Peasant Marei. . 287). New York New American Library. 1978. promulgated by love of dominion. based as it is on a theoretic surmise. M. In Great Short Works of Fyodor Dostoevsky. “Dostoevsky. New York W. Translated by Henry and Olga Carlisle.analogous to the saint’s belief in an existent kingdom of heaven. W.” Translated by George Bird. New York Harper & Row. Alfred. Middlesex. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. N. generalised by pedantry. .” In Dostoevskii: Materialy issledovaniia. 1850-1859. 1985. Jackson. “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. Knapp. Matlaw. Pp. . 1971. was fascinated by that borderline generated between the saint and the utopian dreamer. 1981. Translated by Andrew R. Radin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Catteau. Smith. M. . edited by G. Introduction by Joseph Frank. Liza. 715-738.: Princeton University Press.

Maguire and Alan Timberlake. Rozenblium. 1977. Sullivan. 1992. Zil’bershtein.: Harvard University Press. Berkeley: University of California Press. . N. Ind: Slavica Publishers. N. 1995. Utopian Thought in the Western World. Dostoevsky and the Healing Art: An Essay in Literary and Medical History. Ann Arbor. Evanston. Terras.” Literaturnoe nasledstvo 83 (1971). 198 1. L. Eds. Linda. Cambridge. 1981. Genuine Reality: A Life of William James. edited by Elizabeth Cheresh M e n and Gary Saul Morson. and M. . Frank E. 1998. 1981.: Prentice Hall.“Dostoevsky‘s‘Dream of a Ridiculous Man’: Unsealing the Generic Envelope. S. S. Victor. Pp. Mich. Knut Andreas Grimstad and Ingunn Lund.” In American Contributions to the 12th International Congress of Slavists: Literature. 120-144. . Englewood Cliffs. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.” In Celebrating Creativity:Essays in Honour of JosteinBortnes. Literature of the Occult:A Collection of Critical Essays.” In Freedom and Responsibility in Russian Literature. 86-104. edited by Robert A. Linguistics. “Dostoevsky and the Homeopathic Dose. Varnado.: Prentice Hall.. Czeslaw. Bloomington.” In Literature of the Occult. 1997. A Karamazov Companion: Commentary on the Genesis. Ill. Miller. Bergen: University of Bergen Press. the Peasants and Problems of Representation. Englewood Cliffs. Rice. “Dostoevsky. 1985. Language and Styleof Dostoevsky’s Narrative. Mass. Messent. Simon. Literature of the Occult:A Collection of Critical Essays.: Northwestern University Press.: Ardis. “Neizdannyi Dostoevskii. Jack. Milosz.”In Emperor of the Earth: Modes of Eccentricvision.Adventures in Time and Space 57 Manuel. and Fritzie P. 1979. . “The Idea of the Numinous in Gothic Literature.J.J. 1998.. The Brothers Karamazov: Worlds of the Novel. 1981. New York Harcourt Brace. Englewood Cliffs. Pp. I. Poetics. J. James. New York: Twayne Masterworks. Peter B. ed. N.: Prentice Hall. Zapisnye knizhki i tetradi 1860-1881. “Dostoevsky and Swedenborg. eds. Robin Feuer.

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showed little overt interest in James. James’s wildly appreciative 1896 reaction to these novels as perfectly representative of lifethat is. 42). Tolstoy.3 What Men Live By: Belief and the Individual in Leo Tolstoy and William James Donna Tussing Orwin summer of 1896. Kuzina and K. may be polemical (Kuzina. Tiunkin (p. the famous passage at the end of part I of Resurrection comparing individuals to rivers may refer to James’s idea (first expressed in The Principles of Psychology) of a stream of consciousness. both as a novelist and as a religious thinker cited extensively in The Varieties of Religious Experience. he declared them to be “perfection in the representation of human life” (Letters. however. too “scientific. Tolstoy viewed James as too intellectual. as L. And in fact. and affects our perceptions of reality.’ In any case. changes. p. True. while Psychology: Briefer Course (the one-volume abridgement of The Principles ofPsychology) itself was published in Russian in 1896. Tiunkin. if it is that. James’sand Tolstoy’s psychology have common roots in transcendental philosophy as it affected both American and Russian culture. Tolstoy subsequently became one of James’s favorite authors (Myers. the dynamics of human psychology-suggests that he saw in them a prescient imaging of his own ideas. could not have been unaware of James. the author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina had little to learn from James about the way consciousness flows. 73-88). pp. 2: 48). who closely followed debates about psychology in the journal Questions of Philosophy and Psychology in the 1890s. Tolstoy. by contrast.”The only two references to James in Tolstoy’s diary refer acidly -59- W HEN WILLIAM JAMES READ WAR AND PEACE and Anna Karenina in the .Tolstoy’s borrowing. Age alone does not explain the enthusiasm of the younger man and the seeming indifference of the older one. as I shall argue in this chapter. 82) plausibly argue.

based upon the understanding and the senses alone. In what follows. James confesses this failing at the beginning of his lectures on “mysticalstates” in The Varieties of Religious Experience: “[Mly own constitution shuts me out from their enjoyment almost entirely. 301).~ Tolstoy preferred the father’s religious disposition to the son’s science. (p. too. in which. James’s father. In Tolstoy James found psychologizing as rigorous as his own. and a capacity for mystical experience that he himself lacked. Today. They open out the possibility of other orders of truth.e. analyzing individual consciousness. Swedenborgian and idealist Henry James Sr. is it ever scientific!” (December 14. Ironically.” Although others need not accept them uncritically. and it is Tolstoy whom he quotes (from the title of a story written in 1881)as saying that “faith . so far as anything in us vitally responds to them. concluded that human beings rely for moral guidance on beliefs that cannot be justified rationally.60 Donna Tussing Orwin to James’s depiction of Tolstoy in The Varieties of Religious Experience2 and then to Tolstoy’s impression of the book “An inaccurate relation to the subject [i. 57:188).” are “absolutely authoritative over the individuals to whom they come. They show it to be only one kind of consciousness. we may freely continue to have faith. 335) Both Tolstoy and Jameswere psychologists and moralists. and offer a comparison of the two.. when many scientists question the authority of “rationalisticconsciousness. I will discuss the role of belief in the writings of the two men. enlarge upon the significance of Tolstoy for James. religion]-scientific [ nauchnoe] . whom Tolstoy read in March 1891. 336).”and the religion of progress through science has many fewer adherents than in the nineteenth century? the arguments of James and Tolstoy about the necessity of religious faith deserve a fresh look. then. “Mystical states. it was partly Tolstoy’s religiosity that drew William to him.. Yet James believes that religion is essential.. So. p.evoked a much more positive re~ponse. they cannot simply be discounted either.”which James identifies in Varieties as “twice-bornness and supernaturality and pantheism. a yearning for belief as perfervid. PSS.Oh. 1909. [Mystical states] break down the authority of the non-mystical or rationalistic consciousness. The Necessity of Belief in Tolstoy Tolstoy first explores the psychology of belief in otvochestvo (Boyhood 1853). do their agreements and disagreements. and I can speak of them only at second hand” (p. The philosophizing adolescent arrives at a “skepticism”so complete that “be- . . who. is that by which men live” (VRE.

and immediately. I wanted to apply these thoughts to life. philosophizing should always be directed toward good practices. This passage from Youth is typical: Those virtuous ideas that I would work over in conversations with my adored friend Dmitrii . 216). never seriously doubted. . as Tolstoy believed.” The Russian proverb neatly captures Tolstoy’s distinction between inadequate human reason-the “pitiful. while moral ideas guide our actions even though our minds may not wholly grasp them. (Emphasis mine) The difference between moral ideas and the “convictions” that Tolstoy despised lies in their origins. but nature is more . “How did I dare to think that one could know the ways of Providence. . but not to feeling. then skepticism is unsustainable because it destroys the possibility of any practice.. but my relation to them exists” (PSS 2:57). with a firm resolve never to betray them (PSS 2: 79). Boris Eikhenbaum distinguished the “moral instincts” by which Tolstoy lived from the “convictions” [ ubezhdeniia] which he despised (Lev Tolstoy. . meager spring of moral activity. I concurred with Schelling in the conviction that not objects. Tolstoy calls it “skepticism” because in the process of analyzing the world the overactive logical mind of his adolescent dismantles it until nothing is left. They are both feelings and ideas at the same time. But the time came when these thoughts with such fresh power of moral discovery came into my mind that I would panic. the mind of man”-and divine Reason as the organizing principle of an external reality the existence of which he. Nikolenka doubts the objective existence not only of the physical. thinking of how much time I had lost to no purpose. It is the source of reason. . that very same second. like James. Convictions are products of individual minds. These instincts are moral ideas that are thought as well as felt. . In Youth moral ideas do not actually take hold in Nikolenka’s mind until they “come into” it with “fresh power of moral discovery”: the grammatical construction expresses the passivity of the individual in relation to these formative ideas.”: thus did Tolstoy as a young soldier in the Caucasus in 1851 formulate his relation to higher reason embodied in Providence (PSS 46: 61).were still pleasing only to my mind. p. and as such are both subjective and superficial. . Christian tradition remains a repository of moral belief. but of the moral world. In Youth. . The mind loses itself in these abysses of wisdom.What Men Live By 61 sides myself I imagined no one and nothing existed in the whole world. . and reason wants to comprehend it . In a word. Extreme subjectivism is the intellectual expression of the self-centered world of adolescence. not even reason itself: “mind left reason behind [ urn za razurn zakhodill. If. He gives up old beliefs“which for the happiness of my life I ought never have dared to touch”-for new philosophic theories.

and lesser peaks and valleys throughout. Nikolai elects to “do [his] duty. The mason Bazdeev revivifies Pierre by supplying him with a new set of ideas which will guide him until they too fail the test of reality. then renewed belief and renewed action-became the “plot” around which he built the novel.” These conventional ideals crumble after Pierre actually wounds Dolokhov in an afaire d’honneur.” The structure of Youth. No intellectual. crisis. Each major character in the novel follows this pattern. not linear. To this extent. 2: 273). Tolstoy retains the more “open” form of Youth which critics have praised as more lifelike and blamed as less artistically satisfying. In both works. the other in science. the one in art. Nikolai Rostov’s failure to get charges against his beloved Denisov dismissed. but he will later resign his commission to take up the life of a gentleman farmer.6 There the cycle of belief-action based on belief. In Psychology: Briefer Course. and ends. and equality of citizenship. chapter IS). defended the ultimate worth of the individual against rational abstractions that devalued particularity. There Nikolenka communes with sources of belief not directly available to the mind. is “what men live by. however. undermines his faith in the justice of the government. for instance. significantly. By this he meant that Tolstoy’s writing lends credence to the essential assumptions of the individual about himself. with its peak of lyric intensity before the end (at “Youth”). The rest of Youth chronicles the struggle in Nikolenka’s soul over conflicting impulses. with another “moral surge” and a promise to the reader to depict its consequences “in the next. is meant to imitate the psychological process more closely than traditional novels built on linear plots.” The Necessity of Belief in James James praised Tolstoy as a “[witness] testifymg to the worth of life as revealed to an emancipated sympathy”(Perry. emancipation from prejudices. happier half of youth. Tolstoy and James.62 Donna Tussing Orwin compelling. James insists that “no psychology . a metaphor for Eden. Pierre is immobilized by the ensuing crisis of belief: he is obsessed with political injustices that his previous beliefs had rationalized. The education that characters undergo is cyclical. for instance.7 Pierre Bezukhov. to fight and not to think” (book 5. belief in but not wholly of the mind.5 In War and Peace Tolstoy took a different approach. Chapter 32 (“Youth”) returns Nikolenka to his boyhood home Petrovskoe and especially to its garden. begins as an enthusiastic advocate of assassination if it is for the sake of “the rights of man. War and Peace is a bildungsrornan with a difference. so that Pierre and Nikolai are poised at the end of the novel to slip out of their peaceful equilibrium into warlike states which will resurrect old passions in them.

can question the existence of personal selves. . including the science of psychology. is “unrealizable. as for Tolstoy. which as such “involve[s] conduct on our part. psychology can assume determinism. In early philosophical jottings from the late 1840s. furthermore. could not by itself validate this understanding8 For James. “relates solely to the amount of effort of attention which we can at any time p u t forth” (PBC. as a science. What is conscience and the perception of right and wrong in actions that follows from the consciousness of freedom? That is a question for ethics. If this is determined solely by internal instinct or by the object under consideration (rather than by a self capable of choice). and in any case. For James. and he quotes J. ethics requires something more than just freedom: “Man’s actions proceed from his innate character and the motives acting upon him. . Science strives instead to be neutral.” It is therefore absurd to hold dogmatically that “our inner interests [namely. in James’s formulation “an aggregate of tendencies to act in a firm and prompt and definite way upon all the principal emergencies of life” (p. is a subject for philosophy. James calls for education to create habits and routines that will free “our higher powers of mind . For both writers.What Men Live By 63 . a posture which. The worst a psychology can do is so to interpret the nature of these selves as to rob them of their worth” (p. 136). They defined free will accordingly.”1° There has to be a good to choose. we are not free. Will. Free will.” To do this. Our sense of our “connectedness” and our worth depends upon freedom of the will.” or “reasonable” will. If Tolstoy and James seem modern in their advocacy of individuality and freedom. As Tolstoy affirms in the Second Epilogue of War and Peace. one has to have a strong will. according to James. We cannot take ourselves seriously if we believe ourselves to be slaves either to impulse or to predetermined ideas. like the existence of the self. as earlier for Tolstoy. this worth depended first and foremost on our understanding of ourselves as moral beings and both agreed that science. James retorts. 391). . our desire to be . Thoughts connected as we feel them to be connected are what we mean by personal selves. S. let alone rules to govern human conduct.“emancipated sympathy” therefore led beyond science to metaphysics.unlike the lower wills of body and feeling9 In Psychology: Briefer Course. free will means specifically the “higher. not science.. 141).” science cannot provide its own raison d’etre.”because doubt as well as belief is a living attitude. James argues that in restricting itself to “facts that are actually tangible. and science cannot supply this good any more than freedom can. Mill that “a character is a completely fashioned will. p. Psychology cannot measure the extent of our freedom. they seem old-fashioned in their insistence on the existence of moral will and a moral order. Tolstoy wrote of the “reasonable will”(razumnaia volia) as free (svobodnaia).” that is.for their own proper work.

. Good deeds. 50-51). necessarily also forbids us to act as we should if we did believe it to be true. he who forbids us to believe religion to be true. form the background for all our facts. pp. beauty.” The “religious hypothesis” would be a “superfluity” if it were without consequences for action. Tolstoy’s fictional representation of the psychological role of belief . these adjectives and adverbs and predicates and heads of classification and conception (VRE. In the nineteenth century.’ as we call it.” WB. p. for they are bodiless and featureless and footless. the fountain-head of all the possibilities we conceive of. 53-54). . They give its ‘nature.” Even science has advanced due to “an imperious inner demand on our part for ideal logical and mathematical harmonies” (“Is Life Worth Living?” WB.” but moral ideas of “abstract and essential goodness. 32. Tolstoy was useful in James’s attempt to reconcile the need for religious belief with the imperatives of science as he understood it. and others equally abstract. Tolstoy’s Place in James’s Thought Whether or not he was acquainted with Tolstoy’s writings before he read War and Peace and Anna Karenina in the summer of 1896. to every special thing. Everything we know is ‘what’ it is by sharing in the nature of one of these abstractions. depend upon ideas without sense-content and hence inaccessible to the very mind that embraces them. as James explains in The Varieties of Religious Experience. 4). pp. To appreciate the significance of these allusions. strength. it must be defended (“The Will to Believe. We can never look directly at them. and in handling the real world we should be stricken with helplessness in just so far forth as we might lose these mental objects. n. James did not emphasize their importance for him until then. which imply the existence of an ideal world to which science has no access.” “Since belief is measured by action. These James equates with personal religion as the necessary preconditions of conscience or morality. Along with certain other thinkers.Such ideas. the chief criterion for saintliness is “social righteousness. but since belief alone makes morality possible. it is necessary to move beyond them to the larger Jamesian drama in which they play a small but important role. and our sense of the moral significance of life-dwell within us as beliefs. James explains elsewhere.64 Donna Tussing Orwin worthy by being good] can have no real connection with the forces that the hidden world may contain. justice. but we grasp all other things by their means. Our most important moral ideas-including the existence of the self and free will. His actual allusions to Tolstoy’s writings are infrequent. These include not only the Kantian “Ideas of pure Reason. significance..

Tolstoy’s narrator will often speak from the perspective of unconditional truth. within an ordered universe. According to his friend Theodore Flournoy. and will invent one if one be not given him” (“The Psychology of Belief. . James’s avowed belief in universal order. . 138-141)-and leaves him open to charges of philosophic inconsistency. Letters. What differentiates Tolstoy’s style from James’s is Tolstoy’s seeming moral certainty. brilliantly represented on the one hand by the Hegelian or absolutist school of Oxford (Green. The man is infallible-and the anaesthetic revelation plays a part as in no writer. as a young man James rejected the two monisms dominant in his time: “the evolutionary naturalism of Herbert Spencer. 1053). reflected in what Morson has called his “absolute language”(Hidden in Plain View. p. 39-40). Bradley). both of them contributed to his defense of belief against atheistic science and philosophy. 1896. as we shall see. for I know it will speak to your very gizzard. August 30. and pantheistic idealism. . 40) It is no coincidence that James recommended Tolstoy specifically to Blood. James’s language is conciliatory: He writes in the tone of a man who knows that he can never achieve absolute certainty on even the most pressing metaphysical questions. p. James argues that no philosophy that is simply fatalistic can satisfy man. Flournoy. suggests a reason for James’s attraction to Tolstoyan certainty as he understood it. chapter 1). James therefore questions Tolstoyan “fatalism” even as he embraces the “infallible veracity” of his prose (letter to Th. In this way metaphysical idealism can be as deterministic as materialism and just as deadening. On this issue. If science threatens the individual by denying the existence of a self. 48). nor are the terms of his recommendation arbitrary. (Letters. If you haven’t. Given his emphasis on free choice. Man needs a rule for his will. Instead of fatalism he adopts pluralism as a metaphysical theory that allows for the existence of chance.” p. . because “to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. James recognized a kinship between Blood and Tolstoy and. the Cairds. pp.What Men Live By 65 strikingly anticipates James’s theories. You have very likely read it. Tolstoy’s brand of fatalism based on moral “instinct” may have appealed to him as less deterministic than most.” is striking-he combines the two openly in “The Dilemma of Determinism” (WB. It is undoubtedlythe greatest novel ever written-also insipid with veracity. and even in “Providence. James’s tone may reflect his ambivalence toward philosophical justifications of the individual. sell all you have and buy the book. an important figure in James’s life. and on the other hand by Royce and others in the United States” (pp. A letter to Benjamin Paul Blood. so too the “intangible ideas” that confirm selfhood and morality may threaten him by impinging upon his freedom. By contrast. and therefore moral choice. Have you read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”? I am just about finishing it.

In his review of The Anaesthetic Revelation. James underwent a lengthy crisis of passage.” . James praises it both for its explanation of the insufficiency of philosophy “to comprehend or in any way state the All.” Thus does Gerald Myers summarize James’s understanding of his predicament at the time. pp. At any rate. and overlooked by knowledge” (ECR. Beginning in the early 1860s. because there is no sense in holding that we ought to do what we cannot do. he flirted with suicide. His final essay for publication. . James himself inhaled nitrous gas. . James stepped back from suicide in 1870 with the help of the essays of the French philosopher Charles Renouvier. 287). but they cannot be real if there is no free will. one can gain access to metaphysical truths unavailable to the mind.” once called Blood’s pamphlet “one of the cornerstones or landmarks of my own subsequent thinking” (ECR. James corresponded with Blood for the rest of his life. My first act of free w i l l shall be to believe in free will. the intoxication of moral volition” which possesses “a million times better credentials” (ECR. interspersed with some passing commentary by James” (John J.pp. Although he continued to suffer from nervous complaints. 1870: I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life. ECR. “A Pluralistic Mystic. first aired in the pamphlet The Anaesthetic Revelation and the Gist of Philosophy that. by taking nitrous oxide. reviewing The Anaesthetic Revelation in The Atlantic Monthly.” is “actually a collage of Blood’s writings. Afflicted with various mental and physical ailments. I finished the first part of Renouvier’s second Essais and see no reason why his definition of free will-“the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts”need be the definition of an illusion. in a passage ultimately omitted from “A Pluralistic Mystic. beneath the feet. The reference to will is of course significant. He attributed his depression to a pessimism that could be avoided only “if one’s moral interests are real rather than illusory.66 Donna Tussing Orwin The term “anaesthetic revelation” refers to Blood’s theory. pp. he hedges his praise with reservations. and he visited him in 1895. He contrasts “laughing-gas intoxication” which “blunts the mind and weakens the will” with “the faith that comes of willing. In 1874. xxxiv). Unwilling to neglect any possible avenue to metaphysical truth. 287-288). but at home. is not in the dark immensity beyond knowledge.” from which James’s “unlucky heart” barred him. after his failure to become an artist and before he started to teach at Harvard. McDermott. 228-229). Myers quotes from James’s diary of April 30.” and for its positive suggestion that the “secret of Being . however. Blood may have overestimated his influence on James when he claimed that his “anaesthetic revelation” contained “the secret of the world. p. this side. I will assume for the present-until next year-that it is no illusion. but James himself.

it decides which are the strongest” (Logue.What Men Live By 67 In Renouvier. began to fashion a silk purse out of a sow’s ear by treating the self-imposed narrow epistemological limits of positivism as a license to go beyond them in search of a new morality. This rejection of the personal self could not have sat well with James. but apparently without contracting a case of angst (Allen. presented with choices. It was around this time. in James’s case). being itself an irrational force. as positivism asserts. opens a window on Nirwana. p. though in his vulnerable state it may have troubled him. which “whether called by that name or not. James explicitly associated the concept of nirvana with Schopenhauer. James. James found a philosophical explanation of free will understood as intrinsically moral and connected to the reason. Blood‘s discovery. at least provisionally. has been conceived and represented as the consummation of life too often not to have some meaning” (“The Anaesthetic Revelation. he acquired The World as Will and Idea in a Parisian bookstore (Perry 1:721). to embrace the ones that lend dignity-worthto human life? When James writes of the “faith that comes of willing. fuels rather than controls. he is referring to the effect on him of Renouvier’s definition of free will as moral choice. however. a “horrible fear of my own existence” that . p. we cannot know any ultimate truths. to which the young James was clinging for dear life. In 1868.” in his review of The Anaesthetic Revelation four years later. Schopenhauer rejects any possibility of a moral will such as that found in Renouvier. contradict one another. In 1870. but of controlling them through the use of our reason. p. was reading the works of Arthur Schopenhauer (in German. that James experienced a panic attack. he resolved in his New Year’s diary to read Schopenhauer along with many other writers (Allen. which will. along with the rest of the educated public. Only with the death of desire can the compassion stemming from our common origin in one universal soul come into its own. l 2 James first encountered Schopenhauer in the winter of 1858-1859. Renouvierian free will “consists. perhaps under the influence of Schopenhauer. and indeed. As individuals. 287). Schopenhauer would have appealed to the young James because of both his emphasis on the will as the essence of each human being and his concern with compassion. 53). not of following our sentiments or our desires. p. 162). according to James. Far from yielding to the strongest motives. 95). less than a year after the review of Blood’s pamphlet appeared in The Atlantic Monthly (November 1874). The will is a regulating rather than a generating force for Renouvier. compassion and individual will. it can decide which to adopt. as his youthful crisis neared a crescendo. we are slaves to our own desires. following Renouvier. The spelling Nirwana alerts the reader that James. If. l 3 For Schopenhauer.” ECR. the intoxication of moral volition. why not choose.

James eventually came to hate Schopenhauer so much that in 1883 he refused to contribute money for a memorial to the German philosopher: “I really must decline to stir a finger for the glory of one who studiously lived for no other purpose than to spit upon the lives of the like of me and all those I care But for all that he never simply turned his back on Schopenhauerian pessimism.68 Donna Tussing Orwin he recalled thirty years later in a disguised autobiographical passage of TheVarieties of Religious Experien~e. but only as mysticallyrealized. In his final appreciation of Blood James sees him as teetering between Hegelian monism. While never rejecting free will. p. 288). this side. were written to Benjamin Paul Blood. and pluralism such as James himself came to advocate. the many change and pass. The one remains. as lived in experience. significantly enough. according to which “‘each is all. 163-164). Indeed James came to think that “no man is educated who has never dallied with the thought of suicide. he admitted that there was “a kernel of truth in Schopenhauer’s system”. He thankfully seized upon Renouvier but kept on looking for sturdier shelter against the moral chaos of life as envisaged by modern science and such doctrines as Spencer’s materialism and Schopenhauer’s pessimism. pp. Ideals were necessary as well (“What Makes a Life Significant?” TT. and not part of a system: and that it is useless to try to f i x it or develop it” (Perry 1: 722). James found himself bereft of the moral certainties needed to live a meaningful life. Even in the letter just cited. . With more assurance than James’s “unlucky heart” can muster. and in spite of his whole nature and environ- .’~ By 1873 he was attacking pessimism as not “logically legitimate.”because it asserts that “there is no good upshot to the whole. In search of something more substantial than free choice. in a letter from 1896 in which James recalls his suicidal despair in 1870. up to his tongue and brain. beneath the feet. so much so that he comments that Blood’s prose echoes that of Emerson. originally.” as “fatalism. and he cries. The first alternative James associates with transcendental idealism. Blood’s pluralistic side yields truth and reason. that the good empirically existing is accidental and desultory. suspecting alike the idealism of his father’s generation and the “monisms” of his own time. published only posthumously.” These words. and in Some Problems of Philosophy. however. he lauded Schopenhauer as the first philosopher to tell “the concrete truth about the ills of life” (quoted in Perry 1:721). comes a free and strong determination. and overlooked by knowledge” (“The Anaesthetic Revelation” ECR. Up from the breast of man. . and every one of us is the One that remains’”. he came in 1874 upon Blood’s physiological road back to metaphysical idealism “at home. . in God. he saw that the freedom to be moral could not by itself make life worth living. As a young man trying to find his own path.

185) As James seems to have sensed.“in mysteriously .” EPh. Both Tolstoy and James trusted sensing more than thinking because the senses were less susceptible to error than the mind. joys and meanings that ever were. then.” James wove War and Peace into the strands of his life and thought that I have picked out here. and published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1899. but this comes only from direct experience. metaphysical idealism accessible through feeling and experience rather than the mind avoided the systematizing that both men abhorred as destructive of freedom. “I will. as well as its irrational rationalism.” This is the Jovian fiat.” James may be alluding to the physiological cast of Blood’s inspiration when he wrote him that War and Peace“wil1speak to your very gizzard. Let a man stand fast. as an overwhelmingly significant presence” he quotes Walt Whitman from On Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. 30). the biological coloring of Blood’s thought.” James himself “was always prepared to oppose sensing to thinking and to champion the former as the source of the profoundest insights into the differences between appearance and reality” (Myers. the same dog barking. “up from the breast of man. links it to Tolstoy. Pierre-like Benjamin Paul Blood in James’s review of his pamphlet-is said therefore to have found the truth and significance of life “at his very feet” (book 15. the pure cause. in this world. he asks. James turns to Tolstoy. He then contrasts Whitman’s celebration of ordinary life with the ennui of Schopenhauer. . (Blood. . One can escape Schopenhauerian ennui through a sense of the “unfathomable significance and importance” of the world. whom historian of Russian philosophy V. For how shall he entertain a reason bigger than himself? . quoted in ‘A Pluralistic Mystic.) As an example of someone who “felt the human crowd . This is reason.” p. the chief ingredient of the tedium it instills.What Men Live By 69 ment. The eternal recurrence of the common order.16 To refute Schopenhauer. Zenkovsky has called at once an empiricist and a mystic of the mind (“The Problem. or ever shall be. the same fly buzzing forevermore?Yet of the same kind of fibre of which such inanities consist is the material woven of a l l the excitements. In “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings. V. p. this or nothing shall explain the world for him.the feeling of “awful inner emptiness”from out of which he views it all. (The essay was written after he first read War and Peace in June 1896. and gracious latitudes will measure from his feet. as an axis of the earth. which so fills Whitman with mystic satisfaction. . chapter 5). Even more important. . 86).What is life on the largest scale.is to a Schopenhauer.with the emotional anaesthesia. the obsequious meridians will bow to him. p. but the same recurrent inanities. up to his tongue and brain. In yet another striking coincidence between Tolstoy and James. The anaesthetic (and reasonable!) revelation wells up from the body.

without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune.” TT. the river.” he thought. This emotion kept continually with him.” a celebration of everyday life. . . 145-146) Note that James does not say that Emerson created his own exhilaration. cheerful rays. the distance. Emerson. but of our abundance. He learnt that a man is meant for happiness. (“On a Certain Blindness. I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. and the embers paled and little by little went out. when he saw the light drive away the vapors. from his initial recovery of pleasure in satisfying the basic needs of the body to his subsequent ecstatic identification with nature.” says Emerson. To this extract James appends the testimony of Emerson: The occasion and the experience. . is me! And that is what they think they have taken prisoner! That is what they have shut up in a cabin!”-So he smiled and turned in to sleep among his comrades. at twilight. the view plunged into the limitless horizon. Rather Emerson’s state of soul allows what James earlier in the passage calls “the real a n d the ideal” in nature to enter a n d occupy him. “in snow puddles. and that unhappiness is the fatal result. . H e recounts Pierre’s experience. James. are nothing. “All that is in me. The woods and the fields roundabout lay clearly visible. his heart overflowed with emotion.” As a n example James adduces the captivity of Pierre Bezukhov in War and Peace. It all depends on the capacity of the soul to be grasped. #en calm reigned in the camp. when he felt the cool breeze caress him. then. which ultimately depends upon a n idealist interpretation of reality. and that this happiness is in him. not of our need. and beyond the inundation of light which filled them.” Tolstoy is “the great understander of these mysterious ebbs and flows. . sparkle in the splendid. a n d Tolstoy all subscribe to a “prosaics. . under a clouded sky."'^ .” Life is always worth living [James comments] if one have such responsive sensibilities. the full moon had reached the zenith. For Pierre also.70 Donna Tussing Orwin unexpected ways. . When at daybreak. pp. “All that is mine. he saw [I abridge here Tolstoi’s description] the mountains with their wooded slopes disappearing in the grayish mist. to have its life-currents absorbed by what is given. filled at that hour with myriads of stars. They throb all through his novels. I am glad to the brink of fear. the dew. and increased a hundred-fold as the difficulties of his situation grew graver. the return to “the real scale of life’s values” opens him to the real significance of everyday occurrences. They peer into the Goethean “reason behind everything that live^. Then Peter cast his eyes upon the firmament. “Crossing a bare common. and the crosses. on the morrow of his imprisonment. and the sun rise majestically behind the clouds and cupolas. . . in the satisfaction of the daily needs of existence.

Tolstoy eventually repudiated Schopenhauer. 1873. 87). including Tolstoy. In “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings. p. p. James found Russian writers. began an encounter with Schopenhauer that unsettled his belief in the direct access of the individual to those currents. Tolstoy’s correspondence with his friend the critic N. When Russians first read Psychology in the 1890s.21Like James. 21). For both men. Strakhov asked Tolstoy to explain his contention (from a previous letter) that the essence of life was the good. Tolstoy joined Dostoevsky and Strakhov in a rearguard offensive against left-wing determinism.18 By the same token. at least in part. Ralph Waldo Emerson. This was at the same time that the young William James was struggling to harmonize the transcendentalism that he had learned in his father’s house with positivistic science. It is therefore ironic that Tolstoy himself at exactly the same time as James. Strakhov suggested that Tolstoy’s thought. Prince Andrei’s awakening at death from the sleep of life already reflects the influence of Schopenhauer.20In the 1860s and 1870s. The way he did it. suggest the difference between Jamesian pragmatism and Tolstoyan mysticism of the mind. Schopenhauer represented a dangerous challenge to their belief in a morality based on rational will. during these formative years.” James used Pierre’s experiences as a prisoner of war to illustrate the connection between ordinary events and the metaphysical currents underlying each human life. Tolstoy responded to similar influences and situations differently from James. if developed. and what he retained from the encounter.l9 He may even have read the most important American transcendentalist. Tolstoy proved himself an optimist. whose thought “conduce[d] to the rejection of everything firm in morality” (Perepiska. they recognized in James a kindred spirit who shared their understanding of reality and human nature as broader than either philosophy or science could comprehend apart from the other. unlike the pessimistic Schopenhauer. Strakhov reveals his complicated response to Schopenhauer. In Anna . In claiming this. and in Hegel-thought’’ (Perepiska. His own unique mix of idealism and biologism developed from his exposure in the mid-1850s to the metaphysical idealism of the 1830s and 184Os.while writing War and Peace and Anna Karenina. would be “pantheism.What Men Live By 71 Differences between Tolstoy and James The similarities in the thought of Tolstoy and James reflect convergences between Russian and American nineteenth-century culture. N. In a later exchange from 1876. as in Schopenhauer it is will. however. At the same time. As a beginning writer Tolstoy took the side of the so-called men of the ’40s against the militantly empiricist men of the ’50s in debates about the nature of consciousness. wrote Strakhov. congenial. On January 8. while he was finishing War and Peace in the late 1860s. the basis of which would be love.

secret suffering of a soul burdened by the body. giving ourselves to pity.” The characters of Anna Karenina are already more earthbound. Zenkovsky castigates Tolstoy for his denial of personal immortality. Perhaps most significantly. Levin provisionally adopts a Schopenhauerian metaphysics based on love rather than will. how inaccurate and trivial is his [ Solovyov’s] attempt to refute Schopenhauer.What more can one ask? ** Tolstoy’s reaction to Schopenhauer differed from James’s in two ways. reality will ultimately fulfill them. hoped to the end of his days that “our subjective natures. Tolstoy.27In War and Peace. partly turned against the celebration of individual life that James so admired in his earlier fiction. in James’s terminology in The Varieties of Religious Experience. in 1877Tolstoy criticized the young philosopher Vladimir Solovyov for his attack on Schopenhauer. Then. Princess Maria’s face occasionally expresses “the lofty.25In “The Problem of Immortality in L. His ethics concur therefore with metaphysical principle [ nachalo]. The death of . to unityand whatever comes out of that doesn’t matter. feelings. PSS 62: 223). despite an ongoing struggle with depression. .“a muslin garment without warmth. however. after reading Schopenhauer.”24 The later Tolstoy would not have sanctioned Jamesian optimism on this score any more than he could have approved of the “immortality of the substantial self” championed by the neo-idealists of the Moscow Psychological Society who voted James an honorary member. and propensities exist as they do because something in reality harmonizes with them. V. we destroy the lie of isolation and give ourselves to the law of the essence of things. unlike James. Schopenhauer says that. insofar as they are yearnings and longings.72 Donna Tussing Orwin Karenina. Perhaps even more significantly. Tolstoy became. the “morbid-minded’’ religious mystic of A C o n f e ~ s i o nJames. only to reject the result as too artificial. After a decade-long struggle to respond philosophically to Schopenhauer (during which he produced Anna Karenina). The soul of Prince Andrei leaves his body before death.” At around the same time. ~ ~ by contrast. one symptom of Sonia’s inferiority is her inability to join Natasha in imagining life before birth.26 The personal immortality for which Tolstoy had yearned his whole life he sadly rejected in his old age. [to suggest] that while pitying we promote the spectral false life of those whom we pity. V. and especially for his claim that Christ had denied it as well (33-35). Tolstoy in another letter to Strakhov credited Schopenhauer (along with Plato) with practicing the right philosophic method that included “everything that everything living knows about itself” (1 1/30/1875. Tolstoy eventually countered it with determinist metaphysics of his own. Whereas James pitted antideterministic pragmatism against Schopenhauerian metaphysics. N. emotions. and despite her family happiness and her frequent pregnancies. Tolstoy” (1912).

he still perceived all morality and therefore all moral progress as originating in individual souls. others are too vague for the individual really to grasp. what consciously seems to be in question is the complexion of the character itself. 351-352). Reading Schopenhauer’s Aphorisms in November. He frames this argument. forgets that. 158) The difference between Tolstoy and James appears from the use to which each puts freedom of the will. as a response to Schopenhauer.Tolstoy made fun in Anna Karenina of the spiritualism that increasingly fascinated William James. 1895. James makes similar arguments about the role of habit and belief. To get to their own moral core. he reasons in a way that strikingly resembles James. On the contrary. Tolstoy himself saw Schopenhauer as his kinsman in this asceticism. or because it is a habit derived from some previous recognition of a truth. who enforces his determinism by the argument that with a given fixed character only one reaction is possible under given circumstances.28In Tolstoy’s late story Hadzhi-Murat. Yet Tolstoy did not become less an individualist in his old age. In Psychology: Briefer Course. for instance. Tolstoy wrote in his diary that one would only have to substitute “service to G o d for “knowledge of the vanities of the world” for him to agree completely with Schopenhauer (PSS 53: 51).” Already in the 1870s. moreover. as Tolstoy might have done. but one is free in “the motive of one’s acts. in these critical ethical moments. For Tolstoy in his old age.” which became the mechanism by which we control our lower. from the many to the one. The problem with the man is less what act he shall now resolve to do than what being he shall now choose to become. animal selves. the soul inhabits the body until physical death occurs. Some truths are accepted as faith through education and tradition. Schopenhauer. which have a previous cause. and it is in regard to these truths that one is free (pp. and the narrator can tell us nothing about the consciousness of Hadzhi-Murat thereafter.What Men Live By 73 Levin’s brother Nikolai is “an unexplained mystery. the way to morality led beyond the individual to God. Tolstoy continued to defend free will. (P.” One can change one’s view of things and therefore change future acts that arise from that view. They could do this by heeding “reasonable consciousness ( razumnoe soznanie). In The Kingdom of God Is within You (1894). Whereas in Psychology: Briefer Course James was . So one may not be free with regard to one’s acts. Everything that one does is in accordance with some truth that one recognizes. In the “stream of consciousness” chapter he too locates the possibility of freedom in a change of habit which will affect future behavior. however. individuals had to reject their bodies and all bodily pleasure. But some are clear enough to require a choice.

and not a moral universe” (WB. 354-355) James is suspicious of revealed truths. For his part. 173). and so being a miserable and reluctant slave dragged whither he has no desire to go. as a bridge between American transcendentalism and the rationalist thought that succeeded it. As thinkers they were unwilling to give up either of the ingredients-ideals and the freedom to pursue them-necessary for a meaningful life. Russian culture has been more prone to compromise the prerogatives of the individual in defense of social order and morality. in The Kingdom of God Is within You Tolstoy went further to name the purpose of freedom and thereby to limit it. p. As psychologists Tolstoy and James each challenged the assumptions about human nature of determinist science and philosophy. In the same essay. and the moral duties of that same individual on the other. the life of the world. they needed to defend the individual against modern positivist and materialist scientific thought on the one hand. In “Is Life Worth Living?” for instance. as one might call it. but in the capacity for recognizing and acknowledging the truth revealed to him. if only thereby life may seem to us better worth living again” (P. and political absolutism on the other (Poole. however.74 Donna Tussing Orwin concerned to defend the possibility of human freedom. and becoming the free and joyful participator in the eternal and infinite work of God. or on the other hand for refusing to recognize the truth. Both reflect the commitment of their respective countries to the value and rights of the individual on the one hand. as a justification for morality. . or the religion of nature. 49). while American culture has tended toward greater individualism at the expense of morality. he explicitly rejects pantheism. 59-66). Tolstoy’s robust belief in an “unseen spiritual order” alarmed James and attracted him at the same time. 43). a moral multiverse. James saw Tolstoy as an ally in his battle to save the “two kingpins of Americanism. The idealists and social activists who introduced James into Russia did so as part of their project to provide a theoretical foundation for individual dignity and rights that had never been part of Russian political culture. morality and individualism” (Bjork. The liberty of man does not consist in the power of acting independently of the progress of life and the influences arising from it. “Visible nature is all plasticity and indifference. It was both the source of the “fatalism” that James disliked in Russian writers. and a justification for the “emancipated sympathy’’that he so loved in Tolstoy. (pp. he insists all the same on his “right to supplement it [the physical order] by an unseen spiritual order that we assume on trust. pp. p.

Myers acknowledges. p. They do not. For various implications. explains that each individual‘s “character” is transcendental. Comments. 235-236. can explain why people react differently to exactly the same circumstances (PSS 26: 401-406). 10. address the issue of what exactly constitutes the part of the soul that stays the same in Tolstoy’s opinion. as I shall argue. Boris Eikhenbaum in The Young ToZstoy began the modern exploration of the “open form” that grew out of this concentration on the details of psychological life. that James’s crisis was not merely intellectual. 52:282. are mine. esp. 153). 46. Tolstoy himself. 3. of course. Zenkovsky (History. p. therefore. the polemics do not revolve.What Men Live By 75 Notes 1. The translation is by Aylmer Maude as corrected by George Gibian in the Norton edition of War and Peace. 11. in 0 zhizni (About Life) (1888). The deliberately undramatic structure of Youth made it unpopular with readers. pp. Morson is a great admirer of William James. as Kuzina and Tiun’kin maintain. however. nor was it resolved by intellectual means. AU translations from Tolstoy. PSS. V. 7. before the publication of Youth. See Gustafson (pp. 311. 6. Tolstoy read the elder James in a posthumous edition prepared out of filial piety by William (The Literary Remains ofthe Late Henry James). something that Kuzina and Tiun’kin do not acknowledge. pp. . P. 5. “0 krizisakh Tolstogo” (On Tolstoy’s Crises). Chernyshevsky (p. unless otherwise indicated. 34-38) for a compelling discussion of Nikolenka’s “paradigmatic” return to Petrovskoe. James is drawn to Tolstoy in large part because of the latter’s demonstration in his fiction of the existence of inner freedom. literary and otherwise. 8. for instance. originating outside of time and space. see Morson’s Narrative and Freedom. On the contrary. PSS 1:233-236. 2. Tolstoy agreed with his astute friend that the work was “petty” (melko) (Gusev. “Otryvok bez zaglaviia” (Fragment without Title) (1847). 9. Tolstoyan “pan-moralism”was typical of Russian thought as a whole.1875). who criticized it for being long-winded and too detailed. In a letter to V. PSS. 387-390. Only this. close to mental illness” (December 13. p. he says. according to V. Myers considers Renouvier to have been the most important intellectual influence on James’s life after his father. 57:187). James and Tolstoy ultimately part ways because of Tolstoy’s metaphysical determinism. 423) praised Tolstoy as a writer who depicted the psychological process itself. See Essays. Botkin. 1909. 5-6). and Reviews. It is suggestive that Tolstoy himself passed through several major crises of belief in the course of his life and career. In 1856. 12. “[James says] that I’m a melancholic. around Tolstoy’s social determinism versus James’s belief in inner freedom. If this is so. See Eikhenbaum. See also pp. In a review of Edmund Pfleiderer’s Der moderne Pessimismus published in The Nation (October 7. of the death of the idea of progress. Myers. 4.

whose Letters on the Study of Nature.218-223. his commitment to both science and philosophy. 21. 3. by E. James and Emerson were also great admirers of Goethe. so that it is not surprising that in 1893 James highly praised Renouvier’s own subsequent attack on “the badness of the will to live” in Schopenhauer (ECR. 74. James’s son put the date of this crisis as 1870. 72. 102-105).90). On the influence of Goethe on Tolstoy see my T01stoyi Art and Thought. On this subject. the first outburst of the preacher in the first story is followed. book 5 [ 1890]. Goethe was one of the creators of prosaics in this sense. eighteen years later. bk.A second.pp. 126-128. Chelpanov wrote James’s obituary for Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii and an article called “James as a Psychologist” (21:4 [ 19101. 455-456). helped shape realism in its Russian form. 104. Allen. 17. 16. When. 14.p. much influenced by Goethe. pp. to both facts and the theories that make sense of them. of course. 268-269.76 Donna Tussing Orwin 13. more extensive review of the book. he stressed James’s breadth. James may be referring to his own first impression of Schopenhauer (whom he calls “one of the greatest of writers”) when he says of Schopenhauerian compassion that it “will of course exert a spell over persons in the unwholesome sentimental moulting-time of y o u t h (ECR. and this clue is revealed in those traits which distinguish man as a spiritual being” . in sum. Nikolai Grot’s 1890 review of The Principles of Psychology in Questions of Philosophy and Psychology identified James as a positivist who recognized the limitations of knowledge imposed by that philosophy even as he vowed to remain within them (Voprosyfilosofii i psikhologii. James borrowed his characterization of Schopenhauer almost verbatim from his 1893 review of Renouvier’s essay. especially chap. TOlStOYk Art and Thought. . 165-166. I am suggesting here that nineteenth-century prosaics. It has long been recognized that Tolstoy’s “absolute language” first made its appearance in his Sevastopol stories (Eikhenbaum. in the third one. The term “prosaics” is that of Gary Saul Morson. The Young Tolstoy. was Herzen. by the first infusion into Tolstoyan prose of Carlylian idealism. 19. picked up approvingly on James’s personal commitment to “spiritualism” (3:11. according to Maurice Mandelbaum (6). 437-456). pp. . 15. Renouvier with his defense of free will helped James escape the moral collapse to which Schopenhauer may have contributed. rests on metaphysical presuppositions that infuse the ordinary with meaning. TT. According to Allen. Chelpanov in 1892. James’s refusal to remain within the boundaries of either science or philosophy did not shock contemporary Russian readers. 76). who developed it originally from his studies of the Russian thinker Mikhail Bakhtin and has applied it to his interpretations of Tolstoy. “holds that within natural human experience one can find the clue to an understanding of the ultimate nature of reality. Not coincidentally. where I use the phrase “reason behind everything that lives” to describe the Goethean blend of realism and idealism. as. 18. pp. p. the metaphysics of idealism finds man’s own spiritual nature to be the fullest expression of that which is to be taken as basic in reality. Metaphysical idealism. see Orwin. In his 1875 review of Pfleiderer. In Carlyle. In Russia. Allen. Tolstoy discovered a justification for patriotism that carried him through War and Peace . See especially Hidden in Plain View. 3 12).v-viii. 144. although a reaction against abstract philosophical systems.” 20.

see also the article by Berdiaev. 75-76. especially when Tolstoy was his subject. pp.What Men Live By 77 (Orwin. 11. who shared a similar relation to Emerson. just having read the Profession de foi du Vicaire Savoyard (from Rousseau’s Emile). “Leo Tolstoy and Emerson” [Lev Tolstoi i Emerson]). and therefore emphasizes law and the Old Testament over freedom and the New Testament. Compare the diary entry from June 29. in which he claims that Tolstoy. In a letter of 1908 to H. This brings Tolstoy close to James. 12. It is important to observe too that James read the earlier Tolstoy only in 1896.” See Essays in Religion and Morality. but from 1884. in which successful art is said to be “contagious”: the recipient catches the artist’s mood (Letters. Myers. rejects individual souls for a World Soul. This may help explain why. present but relatively subdued in Anna Karenina and even more subdued in War and Peace. See Poole.1896. and Orwin. G. below. 95-97. 23. 12/17-18/1877. James himself did not seem that concerned about personal immortality. McLaughlin. 27. James made his comment on August 4. pp. and. for instance. he could be sure. 2: 316). Tolstoy joyfully proclaims that “the one thing I have extracted from it is a belief in the immortality of the soul” (PSS .” 25. 24. our desire actually makes it so. although he did not comment on other works of the older Tolstoy. “Tolstoy and Patriotism”). 461. Tolstoy may have read Emerson earlier (see Orwin. would have leapt out at readers used to the grimmer fare served up by Tolstoy in his old age.1852. and Islamova. but he does make a very attentuated argument for it in his preface to the second edition of “Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine.” he was nonetheless struck by Tolstoy’s “fatalism and semi-pessimism’’ (Letters.” This peculiar turn of speech may well come from Tolstoy’s What is Art?. he compared Wells to Tolstoy as a practitioner of “contagious speech. his education paralleled that of James in ways significant for this discussion. On the relation of Tolstoy and Schopenhauer. he presumably read at least some of them. 150-1 64.” 69n39. would oppose any kind of “fatalism” caused by metaphysical determinism. pp. 21. 2: 45): these qualities. 22. Solovyov’s Kritika otvlechennykh nachal ( A Critique of Abstract Principles) was published in Russkii vestnik (The Russian Herald) nos. James quoted extensively from Tolstoy’s A Confession in the chapter called “The Divided Self” in The Varieties of Religious Experience. see Eikhenbaum. Myers goes on to comment that “no philosopher has ever proposed a more outrageous premise for faith than this. Carlyle’s disciple in America. he ardently admired Emerson. 26. Tolstoy’s Art and Thought. 1877.Islamova argues that Emerson was more concerned with ideas and theories. but whether from his youth he shared this direct link to transcendentalism with James. Lev Tolstoi: Semidesiatye gody. “Tolstoy and Patriotism. He eventually left Carlylian metaphysics behind. Wells. Emerson became one of those sages whom Tolstoy quoted again and again in his tracts and his daily readers. p. PSS 62:360. Because we want the world to be a certain way. while Tolstoy cared more for reality and action. who. in the midst of his enthusiasm for Tolstoyan “veracity. in a letter to Charles Renouvier. In the same publication. when. unlike Dostoevsky in this regard. His writing occasionally echoed them. when he read the essay Self-Reliance.

3:11. who. St. In Skvoz’ literatury: Sbornik statei. in which he explicitly distinguishes his own particular consciousness and character from the immortal part of his soul.” (Childhood and Boyhood. like Tolstoy. . book 2 (1892). N. 1855-1869). February 15. Voennye rasskazy gr. Moscow: Goslitizdat. Mich. October 24. 1957. New York Columbia University Press. Tolstogo. entries for January 15. pp. 1856. 1895 (53:62-63).: Ardis. Gusev. St. Soch. 1890 (51:66-67). L. Boris. . July25. Review of James’s Principles ofPsychology. Tolstoy). 1917. 1891 (52:35).Y. 67-72. 1890 (51:19). Reprint. Kuzina and Tiun’kin point out that Tolstoy’s favorite psychologist from the pages of Questions of Philosophy and Psychology was the Dane Harald Hoffding. 1978. Tolstoi. and in opposition to James. “Vetkhii i Novyi Zavet v religioznom soznanii L. N. The Seventies). 1912. [Review of James’s Principles ofPsychology]. 172-195.78 Donna Tussing Orwin 46:128) with numerous admissions in the diary of the 1890s that the individual personality (lichnost’) is not immortal and does not even remain the same in the course of one lifetime. Reprint. Petersburg. N. . and therefore the same combination of traits may reform to duplicate a personality. Lev Tolstoi.N. 1856). . was an opponent of spiritualism and denied that the individual soul was substantial (pp. 1983. E. gr. Tolstogo” (The Old and New Testaments in the religious consciousness of L. Chelpanov. Grot. in which he speculates that reincarnation is theoretically possible because time is infinite. Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii (VPF). 3: 421-431.1890 (5l:lO-11). The Works of Count L. Tolstogo Spb. 1890 (51:28). 1. 74-75). Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy: Materialy k biografii s 1855 PO 1869god (Materials for a Biography. In 0 Religii L’va Tolstogo: Sbornik statei (On Tolstoy’s Religion: Articles). Berdiaev. Reprint. 28. Nikolai [Chernyshevsky]. Freeport. 1856. 1969. 1924. William James: A Biography. In Polnoe sobranie sochinenii. New York Viking Press. March 13. Works Cited Allen. Eikhenbaum. VPF. Blood. N. vi-vii. The Young ToZstoy. Tolstoi). Nikolai. VPF2:1. 1962. Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo “Khudozhestvennaia literatura. The Anaesthetic Revelation and the Gist of Philosophy. N. 1891 (52:45). Lev Tolstoi: semidesiatye gody (Leo Tolstoy. The war stories of Count L. Translated and edited by Gary Kern. Paris: YMCA Press. Flournoy.” 1974. Benjamin Paul. book 104 (1910). Chernyshevskii. Nekrolog (Obituary [of William James]). The Compromised Scientist. 69-76.“Detstvo i otrochestvo. July 22. Ann Arbor. Amsterdam. pp.. Gay. See. . May 27. N. N.1928. Munich Wilhelm FinkVerlag. “0 krizisakh Tolstogo” (About Tolstoy’s Crises).: Books for Librairies Press. pp. 2:4. book 5 (1890). 1972.89-90. Petersburg. The Hague: Mouton. T h e Philosophy of William James. Reprint. Bjork. Nikolai. Daniel.Y. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR. 1968. pp. L. 1939-53. for instance. 1874. Theodore. 1967.Vol.

Reprint. 1847 to 1880. 1894. Narrative and Creative Potentials in “War and Peace.N. 1935. 1993. Tolstoy with N. Tolstoy). N. Tolstoy. 2 vols. Resident and Stranger. Petersburg: Izdanie obshchestva tolstovskovo muzeia. V. A History of Russian Philosophy. Maurice. Perry. Strakhovym: 1870-1894 (The Correspondence of L. Randall.: Princeton University Press. Translated by Aylmer Maude. “Neo-ldealist Philosophy in the Russian Liberation Movement: The Moscow Psychological Society and Its Symposium. [Zenkovskii]. Islamova. In 0 religii L’va Tolstogo: Sbornik statei. 2d ed. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.“Some Aspects of Tolstoy’s Intellectual Development: Tolstoy and Schopenhauer. Hidden in Plain View. K. St. A.” 1978. Russkaia literatura 1 (1989): 44-60. . 1. Myers. Pp. 1986. Perepiska L. Narrative and Freedom: The Shadows of Time.” California Slavic Studies 5 ( 1970): 187-245. Boston: Little. New York Norton Critical Editions. Morson. “Tolstoy and Patriotism. Zenkovsky.N. Tolstogo s N. Donna. N. Brown. V . Conn. His Life and Thought. 1953. 1993. 1912. Tolstoy’sArt and Thought. The Thought and Character of William James. “Lev Tolstoi i Emerson: 0 sviazi esteticheskikhsistem” (Leo Tolstoy and Emerson: On a connection of aesthetics systems).“Problema bessmertiia u L. N. Orwin. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Calif. Edited by Andrew Donskov and John Woodsworth. 1978. Tolstogo” (The Problem of Immortality in L. Man e+ Reason. Princeton.What Men Live By 79 Gustafson. Tiun’kin. Vol. ‘Problems of Idealism.J.” Stanford. 27-58. edited by George Gibian. Tolstovskii Muzei.90 vols. Conn. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (CollectedWorks [PSS]). Sigrid. 51-70. Logue. A Study in Nineteenth-Century Thought. N. . 1996. A Study in Fiction and Theology New York Columbia University Press. 1914. Paris: YMCA Press. History. Moscow: “Khudozhestvennaia literatura. . New Haven.: Stanford University Press. 1994.” 1928-1 958. Philosopher of Liberty. McLaughlin. New Haven. Reprint. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo“Khudozhestvennaia literatura. New York Columbia University Press. 1996. . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. The Kingdom of God Is within You: Christianity Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life. Vol. K. “Voskresenie” L. 1987. Charles Renouvier. . Richard. Kuzina. Mandelbaum. 2. Gary Saul.: Yale University Press. 1986. Ottawa: Legas. . 1971. Gerald E. War and Peace. Poole. N. Leo Tolstoy.” In Lev Tolstoy and the Concept of Brotherhood. 1984. N.”’ A later 1995 version of a Kennan Institute Occasional Paper delivered in 1993. L. Ralph Barton. Lev. Strakhov: 1870-1894). William James.: Yale University Press. William. Tolstogo (Tolstoy’s “Resurrection”). Translated by Constance Garnett.

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169).“The Moral Equivalent of War”: Violence in the Later Fiction of LeoTolstoy Andrew Wachtel the claim that no calls for the elimination of war will ever succeed unless they take into account the historical. James accuses them of a lack of imagination. do not contain a pacifist message. Indeed.81 - I N HIS FAMOUS ESSAY. . and aesthetic reasons for its existence. contain some of the most pitiless and effective battle scenes in world literature. To be sure. “So long as the anti-militarists propose no substitutes for the disciplinary function of war. . an unwillingness or inability to understand their opponents’ point of view. analogous.p. The Sebastopol Stories and War and Peace in particular. After all. The duties. as one might say. James does not mention which of Tolstoy’s works in particular he has in mind when referring to Tolstoy’s militant pacifism. but these two works. penalties and sanctions pictured in the utopias they paint are all too weak and tame to touch the military-minded. “The Moral Equivalent of War. ethical. James cites Leo Tolstoy. And it is no accident that their author was ultimately capable of creating a sufficiently crusading pacifism to attract military types. We know that he was a great admirer of both War and Peace and Anna Karenina.” William James makes . in those literary works one precisely finds expressed both the horror of war as well as its attractive qualities (attractive to the defenders of war as a necessary human institution. to the mechanical equivalent of heat. written before Tolstoy’s conversion of the late 1870s. no moral equivalent of war. While agreeing with the justice of the pacifists’ cause. .” As the only exception to this rule. some of Tolstoy’s early writings. so long they fail to realize the full inwardness of the situation. Tolstoy had . anyway). whose pacifism “makes the fear of the Lord furnish the moral spur provided elsewhere by the fear of the enemy”(ERM.

the single Gospel passage which they took to be the key to all Christian conduct properly understood: “But I say unto you. The precise and definite meaning given to the doctrine of love and the guidance resultingfrom it inevitably involves a complete transformation of the established structure of 1.fe ([Emphasis mine. both were avowed pacifists whose reputation in part rested on their ability to denounce the bellicosity of their respective governments. Such was emphatically not the case at the turn of the century. But. Psychologically and in principle. Their glosses on this passage could have been written by the same hand: It is this recognition of the law of love as the highest law of human life. including “The Death of Ivan Ilich. The two men seemed to be in substantial agreement. we are fairly familiar. he has in mind the writings of the postconversion “sage of Yasnaia Poliana. Yet if radically followed. and he understood the military passion in far more than an abstract way. The 1910 Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Tolstoy can be considered representative of contemporary views. The entry stretches to seventeen columns of small print. we repeat. that a critical . applied equally to enemies and those who hate. offend and curse us.” A Confession. and his worldwide reputation (he was admired in this period by such diverse thinkers as Gandhi. V: 43). 174). in addition to James) was based on his position as a social and religious thinker rather than as a fiction writer.” “The Kreutzer Sonata. his literary works. his religious views are given three full columns. In particular.82 Andrew Wachtel himself been a soldier in his youth. For by now. Rather.’ By contrast. that constitutes the peculiarity of Christ’s teaching. Lenin. “The Law of Love and the Law of Violence. and Resurrection. are considered the major contributions of the author’s later period. AW] Tolstoy. it was widely felt that after Anna Karenina Tolstoy had essentially stopped producing imaginative literature.” works like “Letter on Non-Resistance” or “The Kingdom of God Is within You.p. of which only one is devoted to Tolstoy the writer. and Bergson. But James was not attracted to Tolstoy the moral and religious thinker only because this work was available and famous. the precept “Love your enemies” is not self-contradictory.” The Living Corpse. in the shape of pitying tolerance of our oppressors. although one can still find occasional publications and discussions of Tolstoy’s religious philosophy. And their pacifism was derived from the same source. Love your enemies” (Matthew. Indeed. both in terms of their opinions and their positions in society. and the present world’s arrangements. and the clearly expressed guidance for conduct that follows from the Christian teaching on love. it would involve such a breach with our instinctive springs of action as a whole.” “Father Sergius. Hadji-Murat. It is merely the extreme limit of a kind of magnanimity with which. it is not to these then and now well-known fictional works that James is referring in his essay.” That James should have focused on these tracts may come as something of a surprise.

on the other. tended to agree with James’s assessment of the Russian author’s views on violence in his later work. hundreds of thousands of such people-on the one side Buddhists. and human beastliness. Jahn has concluded that the “distinctive feature of Tolstoy’s later views on war and related subjects was their theoretical rigidity and his absolute refusal to acknowledge the validity of any special case or the desirability of making occasional qualifications” (p. if they have written about this topic at all. More recent students of Tolstoy have. even when doing so flew in the teeth of public opinion. Again completely unnecessary. both men were willing to castigate their respective societies for breaking basic moral principles. as public intellectuals. again lies. again general hypnosis. 229) 83 What is more. 118). p. basic philosophical premises did not exist as abstract categories for Tolstoy and James. as in this letter to the editor of The Transcript “[Wle have all been swept away by the overmastering flood. separated from each other by thousands of miles. notebooks. torture and maim in the cruelest of fashions2 James. For example. Rather. for his part. Christians who profess a creed of brotherhood and love-will search each other out.“TheMoral Equivalent of War” point would practically be passed. “Father Sergius. completely uncalled-for sufferings.” and the novella Hadji-Murat. And now what it has swept us into is an adventure that in sober seriousness and definite English speech must be described as literally piratical” (ECR. This. This is said to be in marked contradistinction to Tolstoy’s earlier views according to which “war was madness and murder.” The Power of Darkness. People. (emphasis mine. on land and on sea. a closer examination of his sporadic but nevertheless fairly extensive literary output from the same period yields a far more complex picture of Count Leo’s own struggles to express a moral equivalent of war. whose religion forbids not only the killing of humans but even of animals. based on a reading of twenty-five titles written by Tolstoy post-1880 as well as “the wealth of comment in the letters. and we should be born into another kingdom of being.” “The Devil. for example. These works.” and The Power of Darkness had .p. is how Tolstoy greeted the announcement of the Russo-Japanese War in his article “Stop and Think” ( 1904): War again. in order to kill. 112). Although such claims do appear to hold true for Tolstoy’s post-1880 nonliterary work. thundered in similar fashion against such American militaristic actions as the 1898 war in the Philippines. including “The Kreutzer Sonata. VRE. diaries. and in accounts of Tolstoy’s remarks in conversation. but particular wars might be unjust or just depending on whether they were fought for aggression or defense” (p. were for the most part unavailable to James (“The Kreutzer Sonata. [AW]. 155).”Gary R.

. Why this should be so and what it means will be the subject of the following short essay. for example. eventually ruining his life but presumably saving his soul. “The Devil” (the narrator’s suicide. The first thing to be said is that for the literary oeuvre of an avowed pacifist. The Power of Darkness (Nikita’s murder of his illegitimate child).84 Andrew Wachtel been published in Russian and in translation. or his murder of his lover in the other variant). one can find literary works in which the antiwar and antimilitaristic prescriptions of the essays are embodied directly. And in at least one work. “Father Sergius” (Sergius’s selfmutilation). in most of the late works violence is related not to war but rather to sex: in this category one finds “The Kreutzer Sonata” (the narrator’s murder of his wife and her putative lover). the novella Hadji-Murat. Such is the play And the Light Shineth in Darkness. To be sure. Father Sergius has been living as a hermit for many years when. But works such as these alternate with others that display a far more ambiguous attitude to violence in general and war in particular. but at the very least it is clear that for the later Tolstoy “do not do violence” did not mean “do not write violence. Tolstoy’s later fiction and drama contain a surprising number of scenes in which cruelty and violence play central roles. Even the heartrending pleas of the young man’s mother and the recognition that he will most likely die because of his refusal do not shake Saryntsev’s convictions. A scene from “Father Sergius” is perhaps the best place to begin our investigation of how scenes of aestheticized violence-by which I mean scenes in which a violent act is depicted in such a way as to encourage the reader to focus on the physical. following James. ultimately calling into question the claim that the postconversion Tolstoy was always the militant pacifist whom James (and. visual. Here Nikolai Ivanovich Saryntsev (one of Tolstoy’s more autobiographical heroes overall) employs typically late-Tolstoyan logic to convince his daughter’s fiance to refuse the pledge of fealty to the tsar required of military officers. and aural particularity of the violent act as such. in the latter three works the act of violence happens in the narrative present. as we will see. Although the murder in “The Kreutzer Sonata” has taken place in the past and is presented only in retrospective narration (which has the effect of diminishing its raw emotional power and allowing it to serve more as object lesson than as object). later scholars) took him to be.” As it happens. They present violence in ways that. one can say without exaggeration that war itself is glorified. rather than on its moral or spiritual implications-function in Tolstoy’s later fictional work. the young man goes to prison rather than take part in the state’s militarist structures. but the others remained unpublished in any language during Tolstoy’s lifetime). Buoyed by Saryntsev’s moral support. directly contradict the principles Tolstoy laid out in his essayistic writing of the same period.

There he groped for the stump on which he chopped wood and the ax which was leaning up against the wall. So when she calls to him again he thinks: “I will go to her. shows in a graphic way that Sergius acts from pride and not true sainthood. but I will go like that holy father who put one hand on the harlot and the other in the fire. Sergius looks around for an acceptable substitute and then Tolstoy provides the following chilling scene: “I’ll come right now. a woman named Makovkina undertakes to seduce him. in order to get these messages across. for whom life as a hermit is a long attempt to prove to himself and others that he is indeed a holy man. the impression of the description is cinematic. even if he had wanted to make the finger/phallus connection that is obvious here. and this is of central importance.“The Moral Equivalent of War” 85 on a bet. Sergius. perhaps a natural one for an uninvolved but experienced woodcutter. Of course. he felt a searing pain and the warmth of his flowing blood. and taking the ax in his right hand he placed the index finger of his left hand on the stump. Having stopped in front of the woman and having lowered his eyes he asked quietly: “What do you want?”(PSS 31: 25) What is immediately striking about this paragraph is the cold and clinical detail with which the amputation is presented. appears horribly detached from the thoughts we might expect Sergius to be having. without looking at her he walked by her to the door to the little room where he chopped wood. opening the door. The choice to present it narratively. Although movies had not yet been invented. He quickly picked up the severed finger with the hem of his robe. Tolstoy did not necessarily have to depict the scene so graphically. and pressing it to his thigh went back into the room. and in such grisly detail. because the analogy of live flesh with dead wood. and it serves as the starting point for Makovkina’s own conversion. But before he could be amazed that there was no pain. In particular. landed on the edge of the stump and then on the floor. allowing us to see the finger coming off in close-up and in slow motion. He heard the sound before he felt any pain. But his pride (rather than any true holiness) forces him to prove his sainthood to himself. raised the ax and struck himself just below the second joint.” he said and. . She arrives at his solitary cabin on a snowy night. is obviously attracted to the woman. the description of the flight of the severed finger itself is terrifying. The finger flew up more briskly than would a piece of wood of the same thickness.”he said. the scene serves in the story to make a number of important points: it illustrates the distinction between right thinking and right action. “In a moment. flipped over. But. But there is no fire here”(PSS 31: 25). forces him to admit her and then attempts to work her magic.

this need does not explain why Tolstoy finds it necessary to depict the murder. he went over to the Russians. Violence is an evil.86 Andrew Wachtel is precisely a choice. . however. narrator. the overall message of the work does not contradict his philosophy. It is clear that Tolstoy needs to show just how far his character can fall in order to allow for the possibility of regeneration later. given the subject matter. certainly Tolstoy’s most neglected masterpiece. Hadji-Murat changed sides frequently in the conflict. Tolstoy’s ability as a writer overcomes his power as a moralist. and what we remember best in each of these works are not the moral points but rather the moments of horrific violence. Again. even as he creates stories based on the overcoming of that very impulse. Shamil’s chief lieutenant in the bloody rebellion against Russian rule of the 1840s and 1850s in the Caucasus. In the end. . Like many of the mountaineers of this period. Crr”(PSS 26: 21 1). in which a newborn baby is crushed to death. now fighting on the side of the Russians. in such graphic detail (although not as graphic as the scene from “Father Sergius”). In the end. between Russians and Caucasian mountaineers as well as between the mountaineers themselves. but is somewhat surprising. now against them. then. the novella is chock full of scenes of carnage and warfare. in addition to making his points. promising to help them destroy Shamil. In 1851. we find a complete absence . violence is neither aestheticized nor glorified for its own sake. In all these later stories. and readers. This helps to prove the essentially aesthetic function of the scene. One can say something similar about the scene in The Power ofDarkness. Crr . Not surprisingly. depending on a host of local conditions. he tried to escape back to the mountains and was killed by Cossacks. when violence is described. The story. however. Indeed. even if excessive description undermines Tolstoy’s moral position. one that undoubtedly adds to the raw power of Tolstoy’s story. In each case. rather than any recollection of the moral lessons it was supposed to inculcate. it is possible to say that Tolstoy meant the scene in question to illustrate the horror of violence. What is surprising is that within the body of the story. But when he was unable to force Shamil to hand over his family and unable to get Russian help in doing so. For we get the feeling that.As Nikita recounts it: “An’ how its little bones crunched under me. In the novella Hadji-Murat. is about Hadji-Murat. carried out by crushing the infant. Nevertheless. the narrator is also taking pleasure in his ability to aestheticize the depiction of the violent act. but the artistic success of his depiction of the moment of violence is so spectacular that it overshadows the moral point being made. one gets the feeling that Tolstoy’s own fascination with the violence he had renounced causes him to aestheticize scenes of violence. even if it is a devilishly attractive one to characters. the situation is more complicated. it is the violence that tends to remain in the memories of readers.

Furthermore. In order to effect his escape from the Russians. but I remained alive” (35: 58). “the eldest son of an old believer family. the shaved skull was half cut open but not quite split. overt narrative censure is absent. Nor is it only violence perpetrated by Hadji-Murat that escapes narrative disapproval. even the ultimate moral lesson provided by the aestheticized scenes of violence in the other late stories and plays is absent here. and has dreams of fighting against and defeating Shamil. For the story is presented as a long analogy to the narrator’s own attempt to pick a flower called the “Tatar”-in the introduction the narrator/author talks about pulling out this flower which resists with all its might.” Hadji-Murat. murder. is a litany of blood feud.“TheMoral Equivalent of War” 87 of the moralizing voice that would announce Tolstoy’s own disgust and revulsion. the most valued commodity in the story. what amazing energy and life force . close-cropped beard and clipped mustaches. The same clinical tone characterizes the scenes describing Hadji-Murat’s final days. is an almost Nietzschean celebration of the life force itself. I went over to the edge near the soldier on the right. he comments: “But still. His biography. . Violent as they are. Nazarov. Hadji-Murat murders one of his Cossack escorts. is a one-man war. one Kamenev pulls an object out of a bag and asks “Do you recognize this?” The narrative continues dispassionately: “It was a head. Hadji-Murat’s actions are evidently considered so natural that moral condemnation is inappropriate. In chapter 4 he shoots at a group of fellow mountaineers who would stop him. Violence against him is presented with similar equanimity. shaven. The thundering authorial voice that took Nicholas I to task for his cruelty only a few chapters earlier is strangely silent. The soldier was killed. One eye was open and the other shut. from the story’s very beginning. Most spectacular is the scene in which Hadji-Murat’s death is announced (placed in the narrative before that same scene is actually described). In the presence of a number of officers and even of a woman. How bitterly it fought and how dearly it sold its life. which is presented retrospectively in chapters 11 and 13. the path by the Moksokha river became narrow and on the right was a canyon about three hundred feet deep. a moment that rivals the finger-chopping scene in “Father Sergius” for naturalistic horror. The neck was . and warfare. with a prominent bridge above the eyes and a black. and the ostensible reason for writing it. who had grown up with no father and had supported his old mother along with three sisters and two brothers” (PSS 35: 111). After nevertheless succeeding. . He tried to stop me but I jumped over the edge and pulled the soldier after me. It includes the following cold-blooded description of HadjiMurat’s escape from captivity as told in his own autobiographical narrative: “When we approached. and there was a large blotch of clotted black blood on the nose. Despite the fact that these virtues are snuffed out needlessly. Instead.

in the form of the bluish lips one could make out a good. cinematographic quality of this scene is eerily reminiscent of the self-mutilation depicted in “Father Sergius. And exactly the same military action. however. was stronger than hatred. and in so doing he had earned awards and the respect of his comrades here and his Russian friends. it is not presented in the absolute voice of the author. childlike smile” (PSS 35: 109). and perplexity at the absurd cruelty of these beings that the desire to destroy them. but rather from the more limited perspective of the Chechens. He even unconsciously avoided looking at the dead and wounded in order to hold onto his . who was smiling such a kind smile that he seemed not an alien but an old friend(PSS 35: 28). disgust. It was not hatred but rather a refusal to accept that these Russian dogs were human beings at all. In Hudji-Murut. we are told “He (Poltoratsky) expected to see a morose. officers. just like the desire to destroy rats. the violence was in principle an illustration of Sergius’s negative qualities. strange as it is to say. after describing the destruction of a Chechen aoul (village). Despite all the wounds to the head. the officer Poltoratsky. Thus.88 Andrew Wachtel wrapped in a bloody towel. The close-up. and joyous. takes on a completely different coloration: “His soul was energetic. the mountaineers-. despite his adamant opposition to war and violence in his postconversion period? Before trying to answer this question. but before him was the simplest of men. and such revulsion. The sensation felt by all the Chechens.” There. (PSS 35: 81) But. for the first time he is seen by a Russian. on the contrary. Indeed. dry. Indeed. The smile of goodness is a trait that has followed him throughout the story. did not occur to him. from young to old. even gambled with death. What can explain Tolstoy’s refusal to condemn violence perpetrated by and on Hadji-Murat. was as natural a feeling as the feeling of self-preservation. calm. it seems singularly appropriate and devoid of negative content. Tolstoy puts the following thoughts into the minds of the mountaineers: No one spoke about their hatred of the Russians. The only side of war he saw was that he had placed himself in danger. nevertheless remains a morally positive figure. the man of perpetual violence. when described through the consciousness of the officer Butler. it needs to be recognized that the absence of moral condemnation is not universal in the story. Tolstoy’s descriptions of Nicholas I are among the most acidly etched moral condemnations of his literary career. and alien person. although moral condemnation shows through clearly here. the wounds of soldiers. Hadji-Murat. His depiction of Russian military actions in Chechnya also rings with denunciation against the senseless cruelty of war. poisonous spiders and wolves. like a kind of Medusa in reverse. The other side of war-death.

of course. Harold Bloom says of Tolstoy’s last great fictional work “Perhaps Hadji-Murat can be read as the return in Tolstoy of the pure story-teller. 2). part of which I saw myself. is that this attitude is morally unacceptable. set some fifty years before the work‘s composition. however. The first is connected to the years 1851-1852. Here are these occurrences as they have formed in my memories and imagination” (PSS 35: 6 ) . These were precisely the years that Tolstoy spent in the Caucasus as a volunteer cadet in the Russian army. and everything connected with it.“The Moral Equivalent of War” 89 poetic image of war” (PSS 35: 79). ample evidence that Tolstoy saw Hadji-Murat as a kind of continuation of . being willing instead to forgive Butler’s youthful insouciance in the face of war’s evil.” The Caucasus part was never written. In the opening of War and Peace. was colored in Tolstoy’s mind by his own memories. But in Hadji-Murat the events described brought Tolstoy back not to the time of his grandparents but to his youth. is possible only if one believes that Tolstoy’s fictional texts are best read by and in themselves. the time of the central occurrences in the finale of Hadji-Murat’s drama. Boyhood. As the author’s voice says at the end of the novella’s short introduction: “And I recalled a long-ago series of occurrences in the Caucasus. but in general richer readings become possible if one recognizes that Tolstoy’s oeuvre is characterized by intergeneric dialogue such that a work in what appears to be a single genre is almost always countered and queried by a separate work in another genre. Thus. In this particular case. and Tolstoy avoided the pseudoautobiographical form he had invented for the trilogy for the rest of his career. and part of which I imagined. Youth) was originally conceived of as a tetralogy to be entitled The Four Epochs ofDevelopment. of which the final form must be death” (p. I would argue. so as to defer change. The implication. however. In Tolstoy’s words at the time: “The 4 Epochs of Life constitutes my novel before Tiflis. He fails to develop this insight. part of which I heard from eyewitnesses. Tolstoy speaks of “the elegant French of our grandfathers” in order to set the scene. Naturally. Seeing the work as completely unambivalent. There is. but Tolstoy’s absolute narrator avoids coming right out and saying so. who tells his story as a contest against death. however. It is worth recalling that what ultimately became Tolstoy’s pseudoautobiographical “trilogy” (Childhood. Two related facts about the story can help us to understand why Tolstoy might have written it the way he did. instead going on to compare the novella to The Iliad in terms of its depiction of martial heroism. the dialogue between Tolstoy’s pacifist essays and his martial fiction does not provide specific insight into the novella itself so much as it reveals certain facts about the author’s reasons for writing the work and his overall state of mind in his later years. the entire story. his great fictional works can be read in this way. however. In his perceptive comments on Hadji-Murat.

everything I had written earlier and everything I wrote now. there was no great disjunction between the worldview of the characters and their author. made to A. B. why Tolstoy so adamantly refused to allow HudjiMurut to be published in his lifetime.When I showed the candlestick to our Yasnaia Poliana carpenter he said: ‘That’s all youth.I thought. is remarkably close to the final draft. and I don’t know what is better: that which was written earlier or that which was written now. One notable difference. one he was simultaneously delighted and embarrassed to take. Each version has its advantages” (PSS 35: 599).’ And that is my entire work now-it’s all youth” (PSS 35: 599). In the final version these lines were removed.which is evidently based on the actual event in Tolstoy’s life that did indeed spur him to begin work on the story. . Just as had been the case with the trilogy? one of Tolstoy’s greatest difficulties in writing Hudji-Murat had to do with formal questions. This section. As he wrote to his brother Sergei on July 30. Goldenveizer. however. 1902: “I am now occupied with writing a Caucasian tale and I’m ashamed of myself.however. he seems to have seen as a kind of youth elixir. Earlier the novella was in the form of an autobiography and now it is told objectively. however. But the power of his own fictional voice was such that. the aging author could not give up work on his tale that. The Tolstoy of the late 1890s. was a man of radically different principles from his youthful self. . and the research and time Tolstoy put into the novella rival what he spent on War and Peace and far surpass the attention and care he paid to his other postconversion fiction) testifies to the importance it had for him. He needed the story in order to fan the . Tolstoy evidently realized this and was worried by it. As he said to a friend in 1902 after having embarked on his ninth rewrite of the novella: “I looked over all the variants of my tale. energy. stands out in this regard “I remember that long ago someone gave me a very convenient traveling candlestick. probably because Tolstoy did not want his personal reasons for writing the work to be foregrounded? but the tenacity with which he worked on Hudji-Murat (the writing itself stretched over ten years. And yet. when he began to write about that period. is the presence of the followingpassage in the author’s voice just before the switch to retrospective historical narration: “That’s wonderful [referring to the flower’s resistance to human destructiveness]. and strength came over me” (PSS 35: 286). When he was composing the trilogy. But Tolstoy’s situation at the turn of the century added a major new complication to his writing. And a feeling of stimulation. he could not view it objectively or separate from his global worldview in the 1850s. One particular comment about the novella. and here Bloom’s insight is just on the mark.90 Andrew Wachtel his youthful writing. And I think I’ll give it up” (PSS 37: 599). It is now clear. We can find strong evidence for this in the earliest draft for the work‘s prologue. I went on and on and I got all mixed up .

36: 101. “The 4 Epochs of Life constitutes my novel before Tiflis. it would not be too far-fetched to see the beheading of the latter and the self-mutilation of the former as directly related. In this entry. Translations throughout are mine unless otherwise noted.his writings were overloaded with ethical reasonings. remarkable for its lack of insight into Russian life and its willingness to use literary texts as biographical sources. Resurrection. Subsequently.” 2. show us the war that raged within Tolstoy himself. completely hidden from the vast majority of his admirers. Thus. given the extent to which Tolstoy clearly identified with both Father Sergius (another work Tolstoy refused to publish) and Hadji-Murat. to retain an integrated personal identity despite the chasm that had been opened by his conversion and subsequent public self-sainthood. “Odumaitis’!”in Tolstoy. and Tolstoy’s own dramatic final days and death in 1910 then all stand as monuments to the immense personal cost of Tolstoy’s seemingly inflexible philosophical positions toward the end of his life. On p. Hudji-Murut should be read as a kind of highly unusual autobiography. Taken together. Notes 1. whereas the story’s immense power to others lies in its awe-inspiring depiction of heroism. these contradictory impulses. his imagination again shone out in ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyitch and The Power of Darkness. 1059 we read of the post-Confession Tolstoy: “[Llike a dying lamp. 3. Indeed. Hadji-Murat’s escape to heroic death. In this sense. Father Sergius’s eventual flight to the self-annihilation of the pilgrim. was never entirely able to still his own hot blood. 1852. both of which became incarnated in the decision to write (but not to publish) works of fiction despite his apparent scorn for the activity. Clearly the pacifistic sage who was admired by William James. Since many of the facts of Irten’ev’s life do not . PSS. I can write about him because he is so distant from me” (PSS 46: 150-1 5 1). “The Kreutzer Sonata”and “The Death of Ivan Ilich” (26: 1053-2061). generically segregated. On the one hand the adulation of all who surrounded him and the imputation of sainthood. among so many others. with rare exceptions. its power for Tolstoy was in its ability to keep a certain part of himself alive. and on the other the recognition of his own inability completely to give up his youthful pride and his youthful desires. Tolstoy wrote in a diary entry for November 30. Both fictional characters can be seen to be playing out Tolstoy’s own drama of his later years. the only postconversion works mentioned are The Power of Darkness.“The Moral Equivalent of War” 91 dying embers of his youthful self. Writing fictional works that focus on violence in general and war in particular was perhaps what allowed Tolstoy’s militant pacifism to flourish in his nonfictional work. As noted above.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Literature and War: Refections and Refractions. Trahan. the words “novel” and “him” indicate that Tolstoy was able to distance himself from his story. published it under the title The Story of My Childhood. 1987. N. Who cares about my childhood” (PSS 1: 332). 1986. Harold. Edited by Elizabeth W.” The italicized “my” indicates that Tolstoy closely identified himself with his work and its hero. A Confession and Other Religious Writings. 4. Recall his remarks when he saw Childhood in print for the first time.] Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Completed Collected Works [ P S S ] ) .: Monterey Institute of International Studies. Leo. of course. in what sense could Tolstoy call the work “mynovel?” It is significant.” Leo Tolstoy: Modern Critical Views. New York Encyclopedia Britannica Co. Tolstoy was furious and dashed off a letter to his editor (although he never mailed it) in which he said. for some unknown reason. Gary R. Works Cited Bloom. The obvious internal contradiction here is one that Tolstoy was evidently never able to solve.92 Andrew Wachtel coincide with those of Tolstoy’s. the desire to avoid a too close identification with autobiographical material is typical of Tolstoy. New York Chelsea House. Again. 1928-1 953. It turned out that Nekrasov had. 90 vols. London: Penguin. .. 1 Ith ed. Jahn. At the same time. Monterey. Tolstoy. [Tolstoi. “Introduction. “The very title The Story ofMy Childhood contradicts the sense of the work. Calif. 1910. 1985. that he did not say “my life. “Patriotism and the Military in Tolstoy’s Philosophy. .L. Translated by Jane Kentish. to accept it as a fictional construct. Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura.

One of these was the “new art. and geniuses-people who believed in mental telepathy. This term was shorthand for a whole complex of aesthetic. science itself was poorly equipped to take best advantage of these. Decadents. or God” (p. 372). and ideological issues that engaged a new and restless generation of poets. Menand was referring to James’s discomfort with the American cultural milieu just after 1900. elements they eagerly sought to aid their search. These rebels believed that. These individuals together constituted the first wave of the modernist revolution in Russian culture. a time when the country was “adjusting to life under industrial capitalism.” which came to Russia about a decade after it burgeoned in France and Belgium. while scientific discoveries in recent decades had opened vast perspectives for human exploration. and it was among them that William James’s unorthodox ideas about the psyche and psychic phenomena resonated. philosophical. or immortality. and Mystics: James’s Russian Readers in the 1890s Joan Delaney Grossman characterized William James as a thinker “for misfits. he might equally well have been addressing Russia in the 1890s. where young cultural rebels calling themselves decadents and symbolists were beginning to raise radical questions about art.93 - . chiefly European. the psyche. This audience was ready to find in the message offered by James and certain other unconventional thinkers. mystics. and the individual’s place in the universe.” However. Louis Menand . Two powerful intellectual and cultural forces converged on the horizon around 1890. spiritual. and thinkers. The natural sciences by their own I N THE METAPHYSICAL CLUB: A STORY OF IDEAS IN AMERICA. artists. William James emerged onto the Russian scene at a portentous moment in that country’s cultural history.Philosophers.

T. under scientific probing. A. psychothtrapie. suggestion. The human spirit’s innate powers. Hoffmann could imbibe inspiration from the magnetic experiments of Anton Mesmer. and a little later Charcot’s close disciple and associate Pierre Janet. That. were infinitely better prepared than was science for this challenge to further exploration and discovery. in 1891 psychology in Russia had barely begun to address the challenging task of defining itself as a discipline separate from philosophy. . known to the French as a Frenchman from the beginning of his career. of the ten works mentioned. needless to say. automatism. JeanMartin Charcot at the Salp6tritre Hospital. were the most prominent figures (Taylor. when the rift between science and art was not yet so pronounced. The scientific mind was incapable of recognizing signals that beckoned from outside narrow scientific boundaries. Consciousness. who as such held proprietary rights over approaches to man’s inner self. some among them showed the liveliest interest in contemporary psychology’s explorations of the self. and his acclaim in France .” who. A few decades earlier. . eight were in French confirms the lively state of contemporary research on these topics in France. as one James scholar says. romantic writers like E. Bernheim and the Nancy School. . p. Consciousness. they felt.” Once at the core of ancient myths and healing religions. “James was . the line between the . had already yielded so many secrets. . The other force in this equation was “la psychologie nouvelle.’ The chief interests of the above-mentioned experimental scientistshypnotism. But in the intervening time. At the same time. contributed in no small part to further renown in England and America” (Taylor. Nonetheless. looked at them from a totally different point of view. and the “new artists” were eager to undertake it. pp. Henri Bergson’s Essais sur les donntes immtdiates de la conscience. 42-46).94 Joan Delaney Grossman definition were incapable of seeing beyond the material world that. and William James’s The Principles of Psychology.” to borrow a term used by the philosopher Alfred Fouillee (Fouillte. p. mediumism. whose study of multiple personalities in one individual William James found so significant. hysteria-all centered on the mysteries of consciousness and the “I. This was a cluster of innovative approaches to the human mind that expanded traditional notions of consciousness and applied scientific principles to investigation of phenomena earlier relegated to the areas of superstition or fantasy. 811). By contrast. since. Many of the latter regarded themselves as modern mystics. ttudes nouvelles. That James himself appeared in this company should occasion no surprise. these mysteries seemed more susceptible to penetration in an era when new methods of experiment and observation were available. dkdoublement. 27). Among the works listed at the head of Fouillte’s 1891 article in Revue des deux mondes were Hippolyte Bernheim’s landmark Hypnotisme. these scientific concerns overlapped substantially with those of proponents of the “new art.

these bold explorers and prophets had uncovered new reaches of the human spirit and of life itself. though the “scientific” approach of the new psychology and psychiatry might offend them. an empiricist. whom they believed to have been most in conflict with. Marx. Baudelaire. totally free of any duty to be the voice of civic virtue or morality. Without glossing over the fact (likely to discourage many members of the Moscow Psychological Society who were also idealist philosophers) that as a psychologist James identified himself as “a follower of the natural science method. asserted that the positivist method. The impulse toward reconciling mysticism and scientific thought that came to the fore in early-twentieth-century thinkers like Pave1 Florensky may have had its beginnings here. even as they prepared to plumb decadent abysses or take flight in a world of symbols in search of the inner self or the world soul. Following that example. the works of Edgar Allan Poe. unlike their immediate predecessors. though forcing him “to discard both the associationist and the spiritualist theory of the soul. This cohort had grown up reading Darwin. and a positivist in the strict sense.” Grot offered a counterbalancing observation. the “new art” refused to do anything at all except to be art whose primary role was to reflect the soul of the artist and plumb the secrets to be revealed there. By following the promptings of their own souls instead of external dictates. he noted. Spencer. a little later. Grot put it forth as a strong candidate for early translation. His meeting with James at the International Congress of Physiological Psychology in Paris the previous year convinced him that here was a man of erudition and originality of thought who should be known in Russia. or both. Patterns of thought formed in this milieu influenced them. these modern creative artists had no qualm about appropriating scientific findings and adapting them to their own use. the journal’s founder and editor. As models they claimed certain writers of the recent past. the new poets and artists declared themselves. by Nikolai Grot. The book was briefly reviewed in 1890 in the monthly Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. and Chernyshevsky. Hoffmann.Philosophers. The air they breathed was still infused with positivism and veneration for science. and Mystics 95 spiritual realm of artistic creativity and the realm of positivist science with its materialist underpinnings was sharply drawn. Decadents. Yet. The Principles of Psychology was the first of James’s writings to draw attention from Russians. or at least to have stood aloof from. Beginning in the early 1890s in Russia. James. Dostoevsky. translated in the 1890sby the young Symbolist poet Konstantin Balmont. organ of the Moscow Psychological Society. In . the values of their milieuxPoe. Never mind that they also read Dostoevsky and. Russian and other.” did not for him preclude the possibility of subjecting facts thus discovered to metaphysical critique in another arena.

Exploration of these aspects.” “Automatism. in the prestigious Lowell lectures in Boston. . were liberally studded with vivid illustrations from cases recorded by French and English colleagues that confirmed what James himself had come to believe were essential traits of the human personality: its complexity and its fluidity. His interest in these matters began early. were among the more controversial aspects of his career. There he quoted a scientific friend as saying: “The great field for new discoveries is always the Unclas- . nonacademic audience. and in 1884 he helped found the American branch. Much of the material appeared unchanged or only slightly revised six years later in the Gifford lectures. was less nuanced. these lectures were reconstructed years later from his notes and other sources (Taylor. in the opinion of many. finally. Another reviewer. At the same time. writing two years later and equally positively.” “Hysteria.”Unpublished during James’slifetime.” “Multiple Personality. published as The Varieties of Religious Experience.2 It was left to the one-volume abridgment a few years later to introduce James to Russia. p. he addressed certain subjects of perennial and also topical public interest. 90). “Genius. The lectures. particularly in the English-speaking professional world. particularly the first four. he summed up the results of nearly two decades of study on what he called “Exceptional Mental States.” “Demoniacal Possession. James was able to place his own ideas on a psychology of the subconscious in the context of contemporary scientific research. William James. had been woefully neglected by most scientists. These activities.” “Degeneration.~ at every opportunity James insisted on the importance of such research for the whole field of psychology. Grot was convinced that “for the progress of our spiritualist psychology and philosophy. Nonetheless. The Principles of Psychology was never translated. James had already made this point in “The Hidden Self. One important facet of James’s professional interest left unmentioned by these reviewers was his involvement in research concerning psychic phenomena and related subjects.” and. By the 1880s he was conducting experiments in hypnotism and automatic writing.” an 1890 reviewarticle of Pierre Janet’s L’Automatisme psychologique. he declared.” Discussing these topics sequentially. 76). Many readers of Questions of Philosophy and Psychology in all likelihood would have agreed with their American opposite numb e r ~ Nonetheless.96 Joan Delaney Grossman any case. That same year. The topics treated in the eight Lowell lectures were: “Dreams and Hypnotism. In 1882 he became a member of the recently established English Society for Psychical Research. he felt. translation of James’s work would be extremely important as firm ground for criticism” (p. In 1896 he was chosen president of the entire society. Mental States). had “openly announced himself as a metaphysician of the spiritualist school” (Chelpanov.” “Witchcraft. speaking to a broad.

375.All the while. The same thought occurred in Principles toward the end of the chapter “The Consciousness of Self” and was repeated in the 1892 abridged version: “I am persuaded that a serious study of these trance-phenomena is one of the greatest needs of psychology. thirsts. . 248) Some hope was in sight. was translated and published in 1896 at St. 268). and Mystics 97 sified Residuum” (EPs. Incoming students in the fall of 1896 used it as the textbook in introductory psychology. being trained in neo-Kantian thinking. Petersburg University. p. (EPs. both for the intensity with which he pursued them and for a certain nalvetk-call it youthful brashness-he showed in doing so. of another. Among them was Ivan Oreus. yet one who took seriously the possibility. lying broadcast over the surface of history. like his fellows. the phenomena are there. He was. p. to find the answers.Philosophers. after all. Orthodox psychology turns its back upon them. or at most.190). It went through several editions in a short time. . and think that my personal confession may possibly draw a reader or two into a field which the soi-disant ‘scientist’ usually refuses to explore” (PP. And yet. Physiology will have nothing to do with them. records a few of them as “effects of the imagination”. PBC. James urged more energetic efforts: “A comparative study of trances and subconscious states is meanwhile of the most urgent importance for the comprehension of our nature” (p. transcendent sphere of being. Far from decadent in externals. As such his was a persuasive and possibly a reassuring voice. His accidental drowning in the summer of 1901 terminated a brief career (he was then twenty-three) that. Psychology: Briefer Course. however. no matter what it took his goals were revealing. science typically does not venture far into that cluttered field. however. To break through the barriers. p. Decadents. even the probability. when in an anecdotal vein. especially in France. especially one corner of it: No part of the unclassed residuum has usually been treated with a more con- temptuous scientific disregard than the mass of phenomena generally called mystical. Medicine sweeps them out. acquired a tragic aura. James spoke as a positivistic experimental psychologist. with the work of Pierre Janet and Alfred Binet. among his contemporaries. which finally brought William James a Russian readership. he observed. The image of the gifted young poet and searcher after esoteric truths who had gone further than most in his search. became an icon for some. . soon to be known as the poet Ivan Konevskoi. and anxieties of the generation of the 1890s. Yet he found himself hindered by conflicting feelings and convictions about the possibility of reconciling the demands of art and mysticism with those of science and rational thought. one of the so-called first-generation Symbolists or Decadents. Konevskoi in many ways embodied the outsized ambitions. . 247).

98 Joan Delaney Grossman Konevskoi’s notebooks for that fall of 1896 give no evidence of his becoming an instant devotee of William James. Heavily influenced by Nietzsche as it was. all unknowingly. It is fascinating now to discover what James’s Psychology meant in Russia of the 1890s and in particular to adventurous young readers like Ivan Konevskoi and his peers. Except for the insight into Konevskoi’s reading tastes. These statements opened wide the possibility of a fruitful linkage between the new scientific “description and explanation of states of consciousness as such” and the new mystical art. Though some of the same questions were rising in the minds of some. must be considered as prima facie on a par with our own ‘psychological’ solution.14-18). rather.p. Russian Decadence was perceived by some of its spokesmen as the key to the future. at least they heard them against a background of assumptions. it is probably of slight significance that these notes are sandwiched between notes on Knut Hamsun’s novel Mysteries and quotes on somnambulism. His few pages of notes on James deal with the structure of the eye and ear (RGALI 259. 191).1. consciousness. Even closer to their preoccupations were James’s views set forth in the concluding paragraph of the chapter “The Self” (in Briefer Course only): “[TIhe notion either of a Spirit of the world which thinks through us. Petersburg. wrote in the final pages to his book that psychology so far was a “fragile science. pp. James’s brief for the importance of serious study of mediumship and possession coincided strikingly with the aspirations and inclinations of the cohort to which Konevskoi belonged and certainly of Konevskoi himself. The point to be noted here is not that a cult of William James was in the making among young Russians. Rather. I myself believe that room for much further inquiry lies in this direction” (PBC. and discussed impartially. and dream from various sources (pp. in St. or that of a set of individual substantial souls. p. It fol- . beliefs. James’s students at Harvard had the opportunity of listening to a professor who frequently asked controversial questions and suggested equally controversial approaches to answering them. they arose out of a profoundly different cultural situation. the fin de sitcle’s leading characteristic was probably the extreme individualism that it found in his philosophy.11. The fin de sitcle in Russia did not. carry the connotations of decline and pessimism it bore in some countries. Nonetheless. at about the same time.” into which “the waters of metaphysical criticism leak at every joint” (PBC. a conceivably more interesting one. and collective experience that they shared to a degree with their instructor. 12-14). On the other side of the world. on the whole. If some listeners were more attuned to his thoughts than others. devoted to exploring the human spirit’s links to the conscious principle believed to exist on a cosmic scale. 400). Surely these were the sorts for whom James. students and readers were differently attuned. It is. sleep.

Ivan Konevskoi spent much of the summer of 1896. pantheism. but Konevskoi and his comrades might well have been struck by the seeming coincidence of views between these two authorities. before entering the university. a Bavarian philosopher. their interest took a different shape from that of either those experimental psychologists who looked for the body-mind connection. and the titles of his papers likely reflected summer discussions with Konevskoi: “On Consciousness”. If psychology and psychiatry could provide a more informative map of the territory. “On Art: Its Significance for Consciousness”. into primal depths that contemporary psychiatry and psychology had begun to call the unconscious. drugs: all these appealed as means to this goal. and Mystics 99 lowed that Konevskoi and his fellows were profoundly interested in questions concerning the self and consciousness.17. or spiritualist philosophers. Petersburg: Der Spiritismus by Baron Carl Du Prel (Stepanov. pp.”) Semyonov’s name appears on the circle’s program more frequently than any other. Spiritism. lay the route into a deeper reality: the world soul or universal consciousness. Rather.1. p. natural scientist. Sergei Semyonov. he had only begun to explore that creed’s implications. However. sexual passion. he also reported on a small book then making the rounds in St. since both are branches of knowledge with links readily discovered by those not blinded by prejudice against so-called superstition (Russ. which was translated into several languages. mystical trance. was the author also of D i e Philosophie der Mystik ( 1884). tr. That fall Semyonov introduced him into a student circle where papers on current intellectual topics were read and discussed (Stepanov. and occultist. Here. “Alternative Beliefs”). . The summer of 1897 can be called Konevskoi’s summer of mystical initiation. they too should be investigated. they were eager to discover means by which consciousness and the individual ego might expand outward beyond the bounds of rational processes and the normal waking state-and downward. 63ob. looking for the soul.Philosophers. panpsychism. and “Analysis and Synthesis of the Two-in-One Principle of Panpsychism. many were convinced. Spiritizm.4 However. and which gained considerable authority in spiritist and other mystically inclined circles in those years (see Grossman. including Russian in 1895. 183).” Konevskoi’s initial presentations dealt with esthetics (Konevskoi RGALI 259. James would hardly have gone so far or in just this direction. In Der Spiritismus Du Prel took a line advanced also by other leading spiritists of the time: no chasm in fact exists between spiritism or mediumism and science. 183). Decadents. Speculations on mystical pantheism’s relation to art were an important part of his baggage as he embarked on his first trip to Western Europe. in the company of another student.-64) . Already a convinced pantheist. (The first meeting featured a paper “On Nietzsche. a year older and deeply absorbed in philosophy. p. religious experience. 9). Du Prel. p.

Konevskoi (whose German was fluent) might have read press reports of discussions taking place at the Third International Congress for Psychology.100 Joan Delaney Grossman His itinerary took him through the Austrian Alps and into Bavaria. Moritz von Schwind (1804-1871) was noted in his day especially for his illustrations of legends and fairytales. Boecklin’s fame came relatively late. pp. “Before the Paintings of Schwind. (RGALI 259.” The “new psychology” cast light into these murky depths. a direct manifestation. p. p. . not yet crystallized in the conscious will. a large number of whose works hung in a special exhibition marking the artist’s seventieth birthday. as well as for his peers-what he called “modern artistic mysticism” (pp. with Munich as his target. The link between art (particularly painting and poetry) and the unconscious or the subliminal consciousness had become central to Konevskoi’s understanding of both the “new art” and the “new mysticism. The painter who made the greatest impression on him was the Swiss Arnold Boecklin. emphasis mine).18. 160-169). A shorter essay. To Bilibin he wrote: I read an article saying that the drawings of certain French artists on view at the exhibit “L’Art Mystique” in Paris are exactly like the drawings made by mediums during spiritistic seances.”written at the end of his first Munich visit. 137-142). in 1897. in particular as concerned the sources and nature of artistic inspiration. 137.3. After viewing his paintings in Munich‘s Schack Galerie. The following year Konevskoi revisited Boecklin’s work and wrote an essay enlarging on the mystical elements he discerned there (Poems and Prose. and then into the forests of Thuringia. Konevskoi assiduously visited museums and art galleries. to make a metaphysical supposition. In any case. Had he been in Munich ten months earlier. or. 5) .”he wrote. Like most Russian visitors to Munich. “Contemporary mysticism. . held in Munich in August 1896. His appeal to the sensual decadent sensibility no doubt accounted in large part for his popularity in the 1890s. Echoes may still have been about when he arrived.” German romantic medievalism seemed particularly shallow. The drawings of the Dutch artist Jan Toorop evoke the same impression.but for Konevskoi the attraction was his perceived pantheism and the mystery pervading some of his best paintings. compared with the deep riddle and questioning of present-day mystical art. The source is one and the same: the unconscious depths of the human spirit unilluminated by the will. a letter to his fellow student and comrade the artist Ivan Bilibin written in June 1897 shows him alert to recent reports on related subjects. shows Konevskoi preoccupied that summer with defining-for himself. Konevskoi blithely dismissed Schwind and most of German romanticism: “How childish it seems . “tries to gaze more deeply into the unconscious depths of the medieval world view” (Poems and Prose. of the world soul.

where Toorop’s recent drawings. and seances were common in the most intellectually sophisticated venues.Philosophers. the writings of Baron Carl Du Prel. . as Konevskoi wrote to Bilibin. Then I began to chant loudly. among them James himself. . whatever discoveries the “new psychology” might offer about these phenomena were welcome. of the world soul. even scholarly. was taken much more seriously by some. The French critic’s remarks reinforced his growing conviction about the common source of artistic inspiration and mediumistic revelations. . Describing the experience to Semyonov soon after.” In any case. .” or their source might be “the unconscious depths . the most prophetic verses of the poets” (Poems and Prose. Konevskoi’s Munich stay was only the prelude to his real mystical initiation. The mediumistic seance. treated by many observers and participants alike as a kind of spooky parlor game. articles and books appeared. and Mystics 101 It is not clear where Konevskoi’s own comments begin in this passage. an event carefully recorded in his travel notes and in at least one letter to his friend Semyonov. Would you believe me. featuring unearthly female figures with wavy outlines. what followed seems fairly spontaneous.. given his thinking and reading at that time.” Serious. including Konevskoi’s circle and. as well.” In his essay-sketch the language was unabashedly mystical: the “something” that . like an invocation. more generally. From the spiritist point of view. they might be “a direct manifestation. he was still bemused “I felt as if I had released in my soul some kind of invisible waters from behind a high dam. . but. the subliminal consciousness. Decadents. not yet crystallized in the conscious will. . the event is described in mystical terms and provided with a setting straight from a canvas by Boecklin. I felt at once terrified and blissful as I heard the sounds of my own voice. obviously made their impression. mentioned earlier. In Russia. the drawing or writing issuing from the pen of a mediumistically sensitive person might cast light on the phenomenon of multiple personality or. or even Schwind: “My spirit was totally penetrated by the atmosphere of ancient fairy tales. were only one source of information available on what Du Prel called the “phenomenology of spiritualism. but someone else speaking through me. While in the best mystical tradition his spiritual preparation was carefully made. they probably start right after the word “seances. of the human spirit. these productions might contain messages from another world. p. . For them. Petersburg he had visited (likely in company with Bilibin) an exhibit of contemporary Dutch artists. later published as a short sketch. This came in a Thuringian forest one July evening at dusk.” The previous November in St. a fair number of serious and distinguished scientists in Europe and America. 149). Automatic writing was a common feature of mediumistic trance and thus an object of scientific study for James and his colleagues. It was clear to me that it was not I who spoke. Or. In his notes.

could indeed be construed as a “direct manifestation . formed one closed circle with the whole structure of my conscious being. that other. nor were trance events remembered in the waking state. . taken by some as “a direct manifestation . Here he seems to come close to what his letter to Bilibin called a “metaphysical supposition”: the “second personality” (in James’s terms) that emerged here. They would not have taken much comfort in the reflections on “Genius” that James put forth in his final Lowell lecture. it expanded to meet the larger “self” and form a unity with it. of the world soul. exhibited the same feature: one “personality” does not remember what happened to the previous one. 18-19) In both the sketch and the letter Konevskoi stressed an element of first importance to him as he sorted out his pantheistic belief and worked to make it compatible with his equally staunch individualism. rather. (RGALI 259.” A related concern of the “new artists” had to do with the nature and powers of artistic genius.102 Joan Delaney Grossman spoke through him was “all-seeing: night itself. under “Mutations and Multiplications of the Self. But at the same time I felt not at all the powerless slave of the nature that enveloped me.21. The entranced medium. it somehow instantly merged. Konevskoi was at pains to show that his experience differed from these examples in at least one important way. . However.” However. perhaps the main means. another aspect of James’s discussion did not tally. of the world soul. This description fit Konevskoi’s experience exactly. was very close to a “mediumistic” state. p.3. whose imagination. and was. This was the issue of the independent “self. was usually unconscious of the other personality that had taken over his or her faculties.” In Psychology: Briefer Course. pp. His efforts to show human nature ranging along a continuum stretching from idiocy to genius ran hard against their conceptions. . . often enhanced by . More than at any other time. Artistic inspiration itself could be.189).” Konevskoi’s cohort was deeply interested in establishing the creative power of the artist as a means. according to all reports. larger “self” (in the essay-sketch “night itself”). and the duration of the state is usually short” (PBC. I felt powerful and deliberate in my motions. in the letter he adopted a more analytical tone: This. where the subject moves sequentially from one personality to another.” James noted: “In ‘mediumships’ or ‘possessions’the invasion and the passing away of the secondary state are both relatively abrupt. His conscious “self” was never submerged in the encounter with the “other”. The romantic visionary dreamer. No. Never before have I experienced such an ecstatic condition. Cases of multiple personality. of penetrating to the heart of reality and even of transforming it. rooted as these were in the romantic notion of genius. Having no doubt learned of this from James’s text and perhaps from other sources. of course.

continued to fascinate successive generations.” In his Lowell lecture James stated: “The prevailing opinion of our time supposes that a psychopathic constitution is the foundation for genius” (Taylor. Mental States. that image came under intense discussion and criticism as the nineteenth century wore on. flaunting these as evidence of “genius. p. Or.Philosophers. 60). a British pioneer in psychic research. 149). 45). it was not an opinion he shared. writing the work that was his final testament. and Mystics 103 alcohol. drugs. He in fact proposed some hypotheses far more speculative than any that James put before his audience. or madness. arguing that almost any individual who has accomplished anything out of the ordinary is probably somewhat nervously unstable. an emergence into the current of ideas which the man is consciously manipulating of other ideas which he has not consciously originated. However. crude as its method was.perhaps making a virtue of necessity. W. In Myers’s . that would have been far more congenial to Konevskoi. What James called possible “instability” Myers described boldly as a “perturbation that masks evolution” (p. picturesque and smoky idea [is now] gone” (Mental Stares. But. p. The chapter on “Genius” in his posthumously published work Human Personality and Its Survival ofBodily Death touches James’s lecture at various points. but which have shaped themselves beyond his will. he made a distinguished contribution to that field. p. For him the crucial question stood as yet unanswered: what truly constitutes genius? In his textbook James maintained that genius basically “means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way” (PBC. Myers reached the same basic conclusions. The Italian anthropologist and criminologist Cesare Lombroso’s widely translated and quoted L’uomo di genio. provided ample ammunition to opponents of the new art. in profounder regions of his being” (Myers. explained genius as “‘an ‘uprush‘ of contents from the subliminal”’ (quoted from Mental States. His Lowell Lecture notes further observed that “even within the artistic temperament there are immense differences of type” (Mental States. Decadents. 149). as Myers himself put it. On their side. the Decadent-Symbolistsof the 1890s. the goals of his and James’s works were quite different. He dismissed the thesis of Lombroso et al. 286). F. 162). genius could be regarded as “a subliminal rush. reached into other worlds. and his influence on James was considerable. p. In the same notes James cited another definition of genius. During his career Frederic Myers researched and wrote extensively on the subjects that James treated in his Lowell lectures. Myers. However. One of the founders of the English Society for Psychical Research. 163). p. he was under no compulsion to temper his ideas for the general reader. p.. James aimed to inject into the public discussion a note of reasonable common sense. H. gloried in being ostracized for their strange writings and often stranger behavior. by one of his close friends. However. His discussion concluded on a satisfied note: “One more lurid.

104 Joan Delaney Grossman conception. who “invariably. .6 Another Russian interpreter of James the psychologist was Ivan Lapshin. Lapshin tempered James’s positivistic approach by tracing the affinity of his work with the Kantian critical tradition. where reports on the activities of the Society for Psychical Research regularly appeared. Petersburg University (later professor and head of the department of philosophy). The idea was not unheard of at that time and possibly not incompatible with James’s published view. The bulk of his essay was devoted to placing James’s psychological views in this context.” A neo-Kantian at this stage of his career. a conception surely influenced by their reading of Nietzs~he. . higher stage of human development. In 1904. James spoke of religious “genius” often residing in individuals of marked eccentricity. 474). have been creatures of exalted emotional sensibility” (p. at the same time interpreting it from his own philosophical standpoint: . Lecturer in philosophy and psychology at St. the translator of Psychology: Briefer Course. albeit a “good one. Most likely Konevskoi and his mediumistic friends had encountered Frederic Myers’s views.” Yet while observing that “[James’s]later writings show increasing interest in questions of religion. and novelist Andrei Bely wrote in the notes to his essay “0 granitsakh psikhologii” (About the Boundaries of Psychology) that “the talented American psychologist William James advocated that psychology be supplemented by metaphysics. Lapshin provided his translation with an introductory essay entitled “The Philosophical Meaning of James’s Psychological Views. critic. Later. the Symbolist poet. carried weight with the psychics and mystics of that generation. that is. bore the aura of science. despite their protestations to the contrary. the interesting point here is the sympathy of ideas-albeit imperfect-between such respected figures as James and Myers and a handful of young Russian mystics who flaunted their contempt for science as a means of penetrating the world’s secrets. Lapshin praised it. the journal of Russian spiritism. James’s psychology is experimental psychology” (Bely.~ The name of Myers. and occultism. since they read and some of them (notably Valery Bryusov) even published in the journal Rebus. But whether or not this was the case. the ferment at the deepest levels of personality that produced what we call genius was in fact the foreview of a later. After all he had included genius among those extreme manifestations of human nature discussed in the Lowell Lectures. 15). p. one who acknowledged the limitations of his professional tools and willingly admitted that some questions belonged properly to other spheres. Myers’s view was closer to the conception of creativity that circulated among Konevskoi’s contemporaries. Far from deprecating James’s position. Meanwhile. which. However. in Russia William James continued for some years to be known generally as an experimental psychologist.” Bely concluded: “Nonetheless. in The Varieties of Religious Experience. notably to metaphysics. mysticism. like that of James.

(perhaps not fully consciously) the representative of scientific-philosophical criticism in experimental psychology. on the one hand. 85). despite their declared difference of goals and means. . Yet some colleagues saw him. For his part. the medium. into which our own generation has been drawn” (pp. p. like James. and Mystics 105 Elevating to a principle the strict separation of directly studied data of consciousness from metaphysical postulates.” (p. Yet that statement did not cloak the conflict of goals between the “new psychology. A new subject. and seeing in the transcendental idealism of critical philosophy the only way to correctly decide the basic problems of psychology. and occultists” (quoted by Simon. and the “new art. he admitted how little the natural science of psychology really knew about the human psyche. who. the human psyche itself. One of these points was panpsychism. became available for experimental psychological investigations. with reason. it may be supposed. . now made available for scientific investigation. Yet. He could hardly have taken a position more attractive to readers of a philosophical or mystical bent. . as operating with a conception of scientific goals and procedure that differed radically from theirs. For others. but certainly with the purpose of demystifying psychic phenomena and thereby expanding the scope of scientific investigation. At certain points James’s intuitions seemed actually to converge with those of persons of a quite different mental stripe. For the latter. For many of the new psychologists. for personal reasons. mystics. Decadents.Philosophers.” defining itself as a natural science. In A Pluralistic Universe he wrote of “the great empirical movement toward a pluralistic panpsychic view of the universe. the challenge was yet more complex. 141-42). for whatever reason. the human psyche was a gateway to another reality. 3 5 ) In James’s final chapter “Psychology and Philosophy. James is revealed as . held a strong attraction for James. James pursued this line of investigation with increasing attention. and occultists” on the other. The notion that the universe is psychically alive at every level was an idea that. mystics. in part. the penetration of which promised to lead to yet deeper secrets. 225). out of which evolved a new model of the human mind” (p. though he never decisively adopted it. About one major feature of this new field Henri Ellenberger later wrote: “The advent of spiritism was an event of major importance in the history of dynamic psychiatry.” with its mystical assumptions. James shared the unwillingness of his friend the Swiss psychologist Thtodore Flournoy to leave psychical research to “theosophists. ultimately to the mysteries of the universe’s structure.” newly written for the abridged version. . extended their field of action to psychical research. was challenge enough. such as practitioners of the “new art” tended to be. a curious kind of mirror relationship developed between James’s concerns on the one side and those of “theosophists. . on the other. Yet this apparent convergence of James and the . During the 1890s.

If spiritual activity is a function of the brain. from which the finite mind is supposed to be strained by the brain. and is larger than themselves” (p. “The Confidences of a ‘Psychical Researcher’” (1909). Of the two “supposed objections. need not be conceived of in pantheistic terms exclusively. But James offered a compromise solution: [Tlhe mother-sea. this text was unlikely to have reached Konevskoi.” in which he attempted to clarify his earlier arguments. Others have interpreted his statements less positively. A l l the more was this so of a late essay. Indulging in the kind of poetic analogy that put off so many professional colleagues. 75).. n. he described how trees “commingle their roots in the darkness underground. There might be .~ James’s earliest substantial discussion of panpsychism appeared in the 1898 essay “Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine” and especially in the “Preface to the Second Edition. truer personality. p. 326). Critics were quick to point out that the preexisting “other form”-for which James resorted to poetic analogies and in one place spoke of “the absolute life of the universe” (p.” the first and more weighty related to “the absolute dependence of our spiritual life. the latter having even now some sort of reality behind the scenes. 89.5). 76) His conception required only that these ulterior minds “come from something mental that pre-exists. what happens when. Though he read English. on the brain” ( E m p. One writer who gathered and analyzed James’s scattered statements on the subject found them “tentative and metaphorical-but full of personal confidence” (Bush. the brain disintegrates? James answered this by expounding what he called the brain’s “transmissive function. The plain truth is that one may conceive the mental world behind the veil in as individualistic a form as one pleases. at least in its usual form. This notion.many minds behind the scenes as well as one.. James rejected: “I am myself anything but a pantheist of the monistic pattern” (p. . one’s finite mundane consciousnesswould be an extract from one’s larger.106 Joan Delaney Grossman young Russian thinkers of the 1890s seems less certain when their respective interpretations of panpsychism are examined. In fact. p. without any detriment to the general scheme by which the brain is represented as a transmissive organ.” If consciousness preexists the brain in some other form and is merely transmitted by the brain during the subject’s lifetime. in which James at last enlarged on his notion of cosmic consciousness as it had taken shape over years of research and reflection. 79). and no consensus has been rea~hed. the loss of individual identity was as unacceptable to him as to Konevskoi and his fellows. after death. as we know it here. . that difficulty would seem to be obviated. ( E m . 87)-gave every evidence of being the pantheistic world-soul. If the extreme individualistic view were taken. and the islands also hang together through the ocean’s bottom.

How permanent? How transient? And how confluent with one another may they become? What again. . first squarely formulated by Myers.Assuming this common reservoir of consciousness to exist. . deserves to be called ‘Myers’s problem’ by scientific men hereafter. The attraction to the moist earth and water that figures in early essays and in some of Konevskoi’s poetry. . he sensed another life coinhabiting his being with-but not overpowering-his own: night itself. In such a faith.Philosophers. What is its own structure? What is its inner topography? At this juncture he paused to give credit to his late respected colleague in psychic research Frederic Myers: “This question. In its underpinnings his own panpsychism or pantheism and that of his coevals was in fact much closer to the pantheism of the earlynineteenth-century Romantics. who wrote in his “Mont Blanc” (Stanza 3): The wilderness has a mysterious tongue That teaches doubt or faith so mild So solemn. . with nature reconciled. They looked to Tiutchev. and Konevskoi looked especially to Shelley. . while it suggests adolescent erotic fantasies. do personalities correspond? Are individual spirits constituted there? .. quasi-metaphysical questions that to him not only justified his pursuits but also demanded to be taken as far as they might go.’’ . . p. are the relations between the cosmic consciousness and matter? (EPR.” But in his own right he carried the matter further: What are the conditions of individuation or insulation in this mother-sea? To what tracts.’’ Konevskoi obviously was not equipped at his stage of maturity to formulate such questions. that man may be. . and Mystics 107 Just so there is a continuum of cosmic consciousness. . to explore that “continuation of cosmic consciousness” that James called the “mother-sea. During his mystical experience in the Thuringian forest. was bound up also with his determination to get to the essence of things. but metaphysical philosophy and speculative biology are led in their own ways to look with favor on some such “panpsychic” view of the universe . the question is. Decadents. . 374). it may be remembered. so serene. into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir” (EPR. p. He then proceeded to lay out the quasi-scientific. They were also unlikely to occur in the then-prevailing philosophical reasoning to which he had access. to what active systems functioning separately in it. He had a strong suspicion that they led through panpsychism: Not only psychic research. 374) This line of questioning is uncannily reminiscent of Ivan Konevskoi’s search some dozen years earlier for answers about the “world-structure.

” In this piece Konevskoi tried to show-or to convince himself-that time and space. was part of his attack on the idealistic monistic view of reality-the view of the universe as “one great all-inclusive fact outside which is nothing”-that informed A Pluralistic Universe (p. including the growing attraction between James and Bergson. in concluding that work James had candidly admitted that. 400). did not militate against the limitless expansion of the self that he and his fellow individualists envisioned. p. James’s conclusions in “Human Immortality” (the preface to the second edition) explicitly accommodated the position held by Konevskoi and the decadents. 52). being merely subjective constructs. The dominant position at St. That declaration. 76). What they could not factor in was the development in James’s thinking that led to A Pluralistic Universe. “I fully subscribe to the psychologist James’s view that.6. The point of divergence comes with James’s discovery of pluralism. As already noted.1. Some indications of his latest reading of James appear in an unpublished. he reread James’s Psychology (RGALI 259. p. 21). from the infant’s first . They would have interpreted his statement to mean that the individual personality. While struggling to reconcile Kant and Schopenhauer with ideas drawn from the new physiological psychology. as well as with his personal mystical experiences of the previous summer. In the process.p. PU. That spring Konevskoi wrestled with the notion of personal limitation imposed by the conditions of life in time and space. He mentioned James’s name specifically in connection with his argument that consciousness of the surrounding world necessarily is present in some form from the moment of birth. p. but students read and discussed everything that came into their hands and tried to make sense of it all. thereby establishing a position that he himself might find tenable. 329). his second year at the university. however much psychology presently aspired to be a natural science. targeted at “neo-Kantian philosophers” (rendered “Oxford men” in the authoritative edition. In the declaration concerning his generation’s “great empirical movement towards a pluralistic panpsychic view of the universe” the words “empirical”and “pluralistic”are not to be overlooked. Konevskoi found himself floundering in a sea of diverse philosophical currents.“into [it] the waters of metaphysical criticism leak at every joint” (PBC. Readers like Konevskoi saw nothing here to deprecate. who held “the extreme individualisticview” mentioned by James ( E R M . Petersburg University was neo-Kantian. he attempted to reconcile Kant with selected readings in modern psychology and physiology. while retaining its individuality. unfinished essay from that spring entitled “The Cornerstones of My World View. During the spring of 1898. could indeed be coextensive with the seamless universe.108 Joan Delaney Grossman The seeming convergence of James and these young Russian thinkers in their attraction to panpsychism appears less certain when James’s interpretation of the term is examined more closely.

in action and speech over distance.12 ob.3. At the same time. He thus used James’s psychology to prove to his own satisfaction the self’s dominance over time and space. Baron Carl Du Prel. (pp. The extent to which this consciousness dominates over time appears in examples that show its capacity of memory. This consciousness and will constitute the nature that acts in prophetic dream. Du Prel believed that this union would be achieved only when natural science has evolved to the point of admitting its . 15ob-16) In the end Konevskoi did not succeed in his project of constructing a satisfymg worldview on a philosophical-psychological foundation. . Where James undertook a genuinely descriptive study of the human “self” with the healing and betterment of humankind and the enrichment of science as his goals. but which he accidentally heard long ago. hypnotic trance. In somewhat tortured syntax that probably reflects his half-completed thought. whose name carried such authority among Konevskoi’s generation.” True. Konevskoi wrote: [ Elven if we did not have so much experimental evidence or examples of its action. Decadents. Rather. and Mystics 109 sensation he already senses the same that every adult organism calls spatial sensation” (RGALI 259. he did not abandon the attempt totally. p. Nonetheless. [Or] dreams in the course of which the dreamer relives almost an entire second life. That is. Konevskoi and his fellows pursued a mystical understanding of the self and the universe and the relation of the two. the infant’s spatial awareness is not dependent on gradual exploration of its surroundings. 137). where their union will establish a sure basis for further investigation of the world problem (1: lo). both parties looked toward a reconciliation of scientific thinking with a transcendental worldview. that at bottom the concerns of James and Konevskoi and the parties they represented led in different directions.” seeking for “something that is organically linked to the most penetrating research of contemporary science” (Poems and Prose. p.”probes the “unconscious depths of the medieval worldview. and other psychic phenomena in Psychology: Briefer Course. the argument he sought to construct for the self’s unlimited existence seems closely related to the one that James later employed in his argument for immortality. in visionary experience. and note). .. as he wrote in the essay “Before the Paintings of Schwind. he turned more and more to the “contemporary mysticism” that. While he did not refer directly to James’s discussion of multiple personalities. There is little question.Philosophers. however. with the presumption that they were potentially coextensive. Such examples are the sudden recalling in trance of words in languages the speaker does not understand. wrote in his Philosophy ofMysticism: “ [PIhilosophy and science are urged from different sides toward one point. in their own ways and for their own ends. we would have to postulate this consciousness [that overcomes the limitations of time and space].9. it is inborn. .

In March 1898. kak glavnoe osnovanie kriticheskoi teorii poznaniia”( The Dogma of Plural States of Consciousness as the Chief Foundation of the Critical Theory of Cognition) (RGALI 259. “Alternative Beliefs. A s far as this writer can ascertain. 677.1. 6. bk. in his William James: His Life and Thought. I n the epilogue to his Psychology: Briefer Course James also admitted this: “[Als soon as one’s purpose is the attainment of the maximum of possible insight into the world as a whole. Perhaps.6. 50 (St. 25. The debate over mediumism roiled the intellectual atmosphere in Russia during the seventies. one-volume version. Andrei. . summarizes views of various Jamesian scholars (pp. Only three years younger than Konevskoi.” Slavic and East European Journal 27. 1910.) The “first-generation Symbolists” were divided on its validity. Wendell T. eighties. See Edith W. propelled . See the unsigned article “Psychological Societies in Russia (Psikhologicheskie obshchestva v Rossii).110 Joan Delaney Grossman limitations. . 329). Gerald E. St. vol. no. though his application of James’s ideas was necessarily different. then. 2. its main advocate being Valery Bryusov. Petersburg: Brokgauz-Efron 1898). Clowes. was in fact a reprinting of the 1896 translation of the abridged. the metaphysical puzzles become the most urgent ones of all” (p. 7. 4.1. Myers. 3. “The Nietzschean Image of the Poet in Some Early Works of Konstantin Bal’mont and Valerii Brjusov. there has been no other translation.” pp. Works Cited Belyi.” Studies in the History of Ideas 2(1925): 315-326. I am indebted to Gennady Obatnin for pointing out that the Obolenskii translation of 1902. In his interest in James Konevskoi anticipated by a few years interests of some second-generation Symbolists.” Entsiklopedicheskii slovar’. Moscow: Musagetes. (See Grossman. Petersburg: Brokgauz-Efron. Notes 1. which came out under the name “Nauchnye osnovy psikhologii” (Scientific Bases of Psychology) and is often taken to be The Principles of Psychology. Petersburg University. 119-121.48ob). Konevskoi presented a paper coauthored with Iakov Erlich: “Dogma mnozhestvennykh sostoianii soznaniia. Bush. .by Berkeley’s view of physical things” (p. p. See the discussion of Bely’s article in Gennady Obatnin‘s article in this volume. 2 (summer 1983): 68-80. 612-613). James (who disclaimed any mystical powers of his own) a n d the modern Russian artist-mystics of the 1890s in certain ways were closer than any of them knew. a pioneer in this as in other regards. Bely was likely introduced also to James’s PsychoZogy as a student at St. Myers himself concludes: “I believe that the Jamesian metaphysics was well on its way to panpsychism. and nineties especially. Simvolizm (Symbolism). “William James and Panpsychism. 574). 5.

London: George Redway. “Les grandes conclusions de la psychologie contemporaine. Moscow: Nauka. 3. Alfred. E. bk.: Princeton University Press. 1904. N. “Alternate Beliefs: Spiritualism and Pantheism among the Early Modernists. Op (list). G [Grot. Pp. 1. Menand. Frederic W. Eugene. Voprosyfilosofii i psikhologii (Questions of Philosophy and Psychology) (VFP) “Book Reviews” 11(1892): 69-76. N. H. Taylor. ed. 1996. 2 vols. D-r. S. 1896. Decadents. . 1987.” Vol. Semenov). Aksenov. khr (item).3. Reprint: Gesammelte Werke. Literaturnoe nasledstvo. . 92.9 (“Kraegol’nye kamni moego mirovozzreniia” [Cornerstones of My World View]) . 4. Simon. Philosophy of Mysticism. The Metaphysical Club. Fouillke. 259. Stikhi iproza (Poetry and Prose). Karl (Du Prel. Stepanov. 1904. A Story of Ideas in America. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hughes. E. C. A Life of William James. Ivan. Baron Carl) Spiritizm (Der Spiritismus). London: Longmans. 1982. Soikin. P. Russkii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv literatury i iskusstva (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art [RGALI]). Grossman. Poet of Thought’). Robert P. Moscow: Scorpio. Green and Co. St. . Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. M. Edited by Boris Gasparov. Princeton. Massey. Strauss. VFE “Reviews. Petersburg: P. 1998. 18961897”) F. Louis. L. H. 2001. Munich: Wilhelm Fink.. Introduction to Psikhologiia by William James. Genuine Reality. [Rev. Ivan. Aleksandr Blok Novye materialy i issledovaniia. 1995.l7 (“Notebook No. and Mystics 111 Chelpanov. Konevskoi (Oreus). 259. New York Basic Books. Edited and abridged by S. F. Joan Delaney. Parnis. New York Farrar.” Bk. N. P. 4 5 (1890): 89-90.6 (Notebooks dated 1894[3?]-1901). The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. Christianity and the Eastern Slavs. Fond 259 (Papers of Ivan [Oreus] Konevskoi). Myers. 259. 179-202.. N. of The Principles of Psychology by William James]. and kina Paperno.21 (Letters to S. New York: Harcourt Brace. Olga Raevsky Hughes. Berdnikov et al. William James on Consciousness beyond the Margin. Edited by A. “Filosofskoe znachenie psikhologicheskikh vozzrenii Dzhemsa” (Philosophical Meaning of James’s Psychological Views).18 (Letters to Ivan Bilibin and other). and L. Diuprel’. New York Charles Scribner’s Sons. F. Translated by M. 1971. Kushnerev and Co.3. Translated by C. Ia. and Giroux.]. 4.Philosophers. Moscow: I. Russian Literature in Modern Times. B.” Revue des deux mondes 107 (1891): 788416.3.7. 259. Linda. F. Lapshin. Ellenberger. Poet mysli”’ (From the Article ‘Ivan Konevskoi.1. “Iz statei ‘Ivan Konevskoi. [Rev. 1970. of The Principles of Psychology by William James]. William James on Exceptional Mental States. 1889. 1935. P. Henri F. Edited by G.

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was especially useful to him in probing the mystery of consciousness. AMERICAN PHILOSOPHER and pioneer psychologist.’ It is a commonplace observation that synthesis was one of the principal points of the program of the second generation of Russian Symbolists. James’s penchant for poetic imagery. even though the Jamesian pluralist approach was far distant from the Russian Symbolist vision. often on view when he dealt with psychological and metaphysical matters.James and Viacheslav lvanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” Gennady Obatnin w LLIAM JAMES. Before entering on our investigation. some preliminary remarks touching on the specifics of the discourse of Russian Symbolism and the founding role therein of Viacheslav Ivanov. are in order. Yet their respective approaches to that psyche’s complexity exhibit startling moments of convergence. raise intriguing questions about cultural intersection. critic. and Viacheslav Ivanov. and in particular the means they found to explore them. The fascination that drew both James and Ivanov to certain problems. perhaps its outstanding theoretician. and major figure in the unfolding of Russian modernist culture. psychological concepts like “stream of consciousness” and “threshold of consciousness. For example.113 - . also figure prominently among the concepts and images important to Ivanov’s poetry and thought. this turned into a continual appropriation of seemingly disparate concepts and into attempts at unifjmg them in a single fundamental . On the level of ideas. and that the search for synthesis-according to the declarations of the Symbolists themselves-was a driving force of their intellectual and artistic activity. Symbolist poet. came to the study of the human psyche from nearly opposite points of the cultural compass.” now nearly synonymous with the name of James. thinker.

Second-generation Symbolism’s reflections on the nature of psychology developed. he immediately and materially enriched Symbolist “speech” with the language of classical philology and ethnography.”written in 1904 (but published only in 1909). Andrei Bely. as in many other places. and political intelligentsia gathered. Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. of psychology in the language of mysticism. Ivanov. etc. and change took place. whose president at one time was Nikolai Bugaev. It is to this that Andrei Bely’s instructive article entitled “About the Boundaries of Psychology. is significant.-all this is a somewhat simplified description of the task of the “speech” that is particular to Symbolism. therefore. the complexity of their relationship to psychology was partially conditioned by the fact that at the end of the nineteenth century in Russia. and the particularities just enumerated are especially true of it. To speak of literature in the language of philosophy. what is described is a complex agglomerate that has a fully independent existence and is not reducible to a mere combination of fragments of multifarious cultural discourses. realized in its cultural activity the task of such a “confusing” of languages. thus becoming the laboratory for working out and articulating the new language of Symbolism. The very title of the chief Russian philosophical periodical of the time. who had returned to Russia from abroad in 1905. of mysticism in the language of physics. is in part devoted. mathematician and philosopher. within a framework of the opposition between science and nonscience. such a treatment of ideas looked like the ‘‘con&sion of tongues” at the tower of Babel. scientific.114 Gennady Obatnin conception. a fact that did not escape the attention of the Russian Symbolists. Ideally this conception was to provide an absolute answer to all questions concerning both the world and mankind. On the level of discourse. The Ivanovs’ famous salon (The Tower). In the language of the Symbolists.2 The science of psychology was undergoing intensive development at the turn of the century. where the elite of the artistic. This article demonstrated not only an interest in the subject but also an acute understanding of the dangers of the dissolution of the science of psychology . However. Papers on philosophy-Vladimir Solovyov’s among them-were presented in such a respectable organization as the Moscow Psychological Society. among which complex relationships arose. thus achieving a place among the authorities whose appraisals and judgments became definitive for the ideology of Russian Symbolism. stands at the source of the creation of the Symbolist discourse of the younger generation. and father of another leading Symbolist poet and theoretician. It is natural that such an approach deliberately lumped together various spheres of human spiritual activity. psychology was perceived as a part of philosophy. of philosophy in the language of psychology. For example. mutual influence was exerted.

T. In it Bely declares decisively in favor of the conception of psycho-physical parallelism. Fechner: “The parallelistic doctrine in psychology is the most sober doctrine” (Bely.” On the other hand. has turned out to be a Chimera that has for a moment troubled our sleep. 48) These two approaches demonstrate two important points in the reception of the discoveries of the new psychology: on the one hand. It is precisely this doctrine. p. it is perceived as a science whose data must be taken into consideration. Thus. empirical (or experimental) psychology scientifically substantiates interest in the unusual in human consciousness. and its conceptions accommodated intensively to a system of personal views. In a different way. In his article entitled “The Crisis of Individualism” (1905). (1: 838) Ivanov appraises with skepticism the attempts to reduce any manifestation of individuality to what is typical. 38). Ivanov writes: Whatever our experience has been. (p. Ivanov’s views of the new psychology can be situated in this framework. psychology is denied global significance. 47). devoted in part to the problem of describing all manifestations of human individuality. in his article “Thou art.” he adduces directly a concept of William James’s: “[S]cience no longer knows what the I is as a constant quantity in the stream of consciousness” (3: 263). we have nothing to say about ourselves personally: the credulous barque of our epos will be engulfed by the Scylla of sociology or the Charybdis of psychology-one of the two monstrous stomachs that are designated to perform the function of digestion in the collective organism of our theoretical and democratic culture. and once again in speaking about the crisis of individualism in contemporary culture.3 . apparently having in view the ideas of G. is now only a bird-a swan spread out against the sky. which was almost engulfed by Chaos. The barque of consciousness. . that leads to gnosiological research and leaves beyond its scope any “problems about the aim of life. p. almost dipped into the turbid wave of madness. two years later.James and Viacheslav Ivanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” 115 in metaphysics and mysticism.and on the other. in the azure sky of universal consciousness.” the article concludes with a sympathetic meditation on the conception of “universal consciousness” (apparently based on Fechner’s thinking). Bely rejects psychology as a whole: Psychology. . Replete with metaphors borrowed from Tiutchev’s “The Swan. what in the first instance attracted Bely to empirical psychology was its concentration on “the dark chaos of primary feelings and the unconscious” (Bely. which has toppled all the buttresses of our representation of self. However. about the immortality of our ‘I: of our soul. based on empirical psychology.

Eduard von Hartmann’s “philosophy of the unconscious”may be regarded as the source of this term? but its use as applied to human consciousness is borrowed from the terminology of William James (who himself did not deny the link between his usage of the phrase and Hartmann’s). . Billows race to the surrounding sands. is “a gloomy and far-sighted guide in our spiritual labyrinth”.116 Gennady Obatnin Such an attitude toward another’s creative work might be described by the formula of recognition of “the self in the other. a misty ray caresses Is the remote boundary on the rippling expanse. who more than anyone else drew attention to the multidimensionality of the human personality. accessible to the m i n d (I: 833. Thus. in the internecine quarrel of forces. [Alrchitect of the subterranean labyrinth” (Ivanov 4: 402. his repeated use of the term “the unconscious (bessoznatel’noe)”is striking. and the list may be continued.834). the inquisitive mind Scans with its orb the deserted sea Of the nocturnal soul singing in a united choir Of the futile anguish of its partings. one is struck in the first instance by the similarity of their general approach. builders of the labyrinth. Dostoevsky.403). One of Ivanov’s basic metaphors for man is a labyrinth. in “Crisis of Individualism” Ivanov several times refers to “the unconscious depths [of personality].. and so forth. As is the case with James. and this is contrasted to the simplistic positivist view of “individualism”in the preceding century. This is only the most general instance of the influx of the terminology of the new movements of Western psychology into the discourse of Symbolism. Among the diverse philosophical and occult concepts employed by Ivanov for designating the secret aspect of human consciousness. this metaphor continues further as he calls Dostoevsky “the greatest of the Daedaluses.For Ivanov. the terminology altered somewhat its initial sense and participated on an equal footing with others in Symbolism’s ideological engendering of meaning. compare the cycle of poems devoted to his own childhood “Songs from the Labyrinth”). Ivanov sees man as a complex. Both the shining bed of the sandy shore . The article “Nietzsche and Dionysus” speaks of “the uncharted inmost recesses of the spiritual labyrinth” (1: 718). A more particular example of this is Ivanov’s poem entitled “Threshold of Consciousness”: Like a lighthouse. His poem “Obvious Secret” speaks directly of the “spiritual labyrinth” (3: 561.” In comparing Ivanov’s and James’s views on the structure of human personality. Once there. Inaccessible to its burning gaze Whence. mysterious phenomenon. And from the heights. .

which Fechner calls the “threshold of consciousness. Nothing is known of Ivanov’s knowledge of Fechner’s work (just as we know nothing of the existence of any Russian translation of this work by the German psychologist). but James’s “Human Immortality” was translated into Russian ( 1901). which endeavors unsuccessfully to illuminate the “nocturnal soul”: Inaccessible to its burning gaze Is the remote boundary on the rippling expanse.and it was possibly through him that it came into Ivanov’s ken. Magnus Ljunggren.James and Viacheslav Ivanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” 117 And the cradle of the restless elements. In this action the height of the wave must at times exceed a certain limit of awareness.5 In it James cites extensively from work of Fechner’s dealing directly with the notion of “threshold of consciousness” ( E M . 92). T.”This notion was taken up by James. disciple. in the internecine quarrel of forces. the task of discovering subconscious existence or of bringing it to the level . Besides the similarity of the basic water metaphor for consciousness in Ivanov’s poem and in Fechner’s work. G.’ the consciousness might also become continuous if the threshold sank low enough to uncover all the waves” ( E M . Jung (111: 845). p. Thus does a light other than reason penetrate Beyond the borders of consciousness And lower its net into the limitless font. Something is afoot (“the internecine quarrel of forces”) in the “nocturnal” consciousness. pp. and a patient. Fechner describes psycho-physical activity in the human consciousness with the metaphor of a wave. Billows race to the surrounding sands. (111: 562) The poem was written in December 1917. yet another convergent feature commands attention. 90-92). Medtner’s biographer. the proprietor of the publishing house Musagktes. Ivanov’s sea/consciousness exists independently of the life of the mind/lighthouse. Whence. 144). links the dedication of this “psychoanalytic”poem to the publication of Medtner’s review of a German translation of Ivanov’s earlier article “On the Russian Idea” (p. according to Olga Deschartes’s commentary. The title of the poem represents the term which G. In 1930 it was dedicated to Emil Medtner. The difference in Ivanov’s point of view is that he never even considers the task of “lowering the threshold. is as alive and ever-changing as the sea. This feature of Fechner’s theory was specially emphasized by James: “All psycho-physical activity being continuous ‘below the threshold. it is continually at work. Fechner had employed in his Elemente der Psychophysik ( 1860). and translator of C.” that is. the rising and falling of which constitutes the form and evolution of consciousness.

there is no place here for the involvement of subconscious existence in the sphere of the conscious that is so dear to positivistic optimism. and a ray of light from above. in our instance for a transfiguration of consciousness. this summons? (1: 597) . but how cold and white it is. James expands the meaning of the notion of “threshold of consciousness”: “Recent psychology has found great use for the word ‘threshold’ as a symbolic designation for the point at which one state of mind passes into another. and not without purpose is the “sea” of consciousness in the final stanza transformed into a baptismal “font. Thus. “The Idea of the Non-Acceptance of the World. However. the central metaphor of the poem “Threshold of Consciousness” is a staple of Ivanov’s writings.” From what has it been separated? The answer to this question must be sought in other texts by Ivanov. or other outer stimulus which it takes to arouse his attention at all” (VRE. In addition. It is clear that for Ivanov (as well as for Bely) the understanding of this term in the sense meant by Fechner is basic: as the threshold between consciousness and the unconscious. In its descriptive and statuesque qualities. and that the nocturnal consciousness is separated from God. The ray of light falling from above is a ray of hope for transfiguration. how otherworldly!” (3: 85). In an article of 1906.118 Gennady Obatnin of consciousness. o Eternity. a lighthouse. Ivanov’s sealsubconscious sings of “the futile anguish of its partings. o Sea? Is it thine.It is clear that what is at stake is the divine presence in human consciousness.” and the “net” is associated with Christ’s self-characterizationas a “fisher of men. Thus we speak of the threshold of a man’s consciousness in general.” It is contrasted to the ray of the lighthouse (“a light other than reason”) and is capable of what the mind of man is powerless to do (“penetrate beyond the borders of consciousness”). In the poem “Voice of the Sea. In it the non-acceptance of the world is expressed with a bitterness that pierces the heart. 115). pressure. p.” he addresses the elements: Is it thy summons I hear. In the event. the interpretation advanced by James must also be considered in a reading of the poem. while still linked to them. yet a ray of new hope breaks through. one which is not directly correlate with its sources. in the sense of the nocturnal soul’s threshold of understanding. the poem resembles a description of some symbolic painting: the sea. In The Varieties ofReligious Experience. like all of Raphael’s work. Fechner’s and James’s term is used by Ivanov in a certain generalized (Ljunggren’s “psychoanalytic”) sense. to indicate the amount of noise. given other connotations present in the poem. The sea as a symbol of depth and mystery is constant in Ivanov’s poetry. This position is not surprising.” Ivanov describes Raphael’s “Transfiguration”: “The Vatican’s ‘Transfiguration’ is a New Testament subject.

than that of a lot of absolutely individual souls. “science no longer knows what the I is as constant quantity in the stream of consciousness” (3: 263). it flows.” 1: 762-763). The poems surrounding “Threshold of Consciousness. Therefore in his book A Pluralistic Universe. in such a view it is impossible to operate with the concept of the “I. .” The symbol of the sea from Leopardi’s “L’infinito. In talking of it hereafier. 5631).” and the poem also emphasizes the mystery of the human essence (“all thy depths invisibly exert their will.” Ivanov employs another of James’s terms-see. we need not be metaphysical at all. Besides Fechner’s and James’s term “threshold of consciousness. 324-352) to separating himself from the philosophers and psychologists who subscribe to such an understanding of the “I. James adduces the extravagant views of Fechner on the existence of “the soul of the . James comes close to the idea of a “world soul. does not appear to itself chopped up in bits. despite all his skepticism. in the case when he sets metaphysical tasks for himself. is enlisted repeatedly to designate subconscious impulses (“And sweet to me is shipwreck in this sea. (p. Meanwhile.” the universal consciousness of mankind. for example (in the article “Thou Art.” James confesses that in the given instance he is writing only as a psychologist: For my own part I confess that the moment I become metaphysical and try to define the more. It is nothing jointed. or of subjective l$e.” mentioned earlier). He devotes a subchapter in “The Pure Self or Inner Principle of Personal Unity” (pp. The notion of “stream of consciousness” was introduced by James in his basic book The Principles of Psychology to describe the continuity of human experiences: Consciousness. Ivanov addresses his wife with the rather straightforward definition: “Thou art the sea. (p.” 1: 743). also play variations on the theme of the sea and the human soul (“the barque of the soul” from the poem entitled “Sleep”. Eternity” from the poem “Naked I Return” [3: 561. let us call it the stream of thought. then. .James and ViacheslavIvanov at the “Thresholdof Consciousness” 119 One of the cycles of the poet’s third collection has the title “Runes of the Breakers.” if what is understood by it is any immutable part of the personality.’’ as translated by Ivanov. “voyage . in spite of all its difficulties. Such words as “chain” or “train” do not describe it fitly as it presents itself in the first instance. 233) As James remarks. as psychologists.” according to the laws of symbolist cyclization. of consciousness. A “river” or a “stream” are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. I find the notion of some sort of an anima mundi thinking in all of us to be a more promising hypothesis. 328) It is important to remark that in using the concept of stream of consciousness.


Gennady Obatnin

world,” “the soul of plants,” and other such “monistic” conceptions of which he is so critical. Though “he Principles of Psychology never appeared in its entirety in Russian translation, several editions of the abridged, textbook version, Psychology, were published under various titles. This was sufficient for James’s basic notional and conceptual innovations to have a lasting impact on the period’s discourse. Therefore, even if we cannot say with certainty that Ivanov ever read any version of James’s work on psychology, we can point to the fact of his correct use of the concept of “stream of consciousness,”and also to remark in his thought the existence of the implications of that concept in his notion of the “world soul.” In the early Ivanov, the “world soul” was linked with the idea of Dionysian “breaching the limits of self,” with the loss of individuality in a changing state of consciousness, in an erasing of the boundaries between “I” and “Thou.” This idea found its allies in various philosophical and mythological systems. One such example is a poem of 1904, “Dryads,” in which Ivanov links these problematics with the existence of a kind of anima naturae: Of neither boundaries, nor time, nor the faces of “Thou”and “I” Divinely is [the soul] aware, And [she] drinks the nectar from the heart of existence undiluted, And recalls no one. And is not aware of “Thou”and “I” as separate. (1: 746) The conception of a single universal soul casts additional light on the symbol of the ray in “Threshold of Consciousness.”According to the thought expressed in the poem “Sacrum sepulcrum,” which is included in the same cycle as “Threshold of Consciousness,” this idea does not contradict the Christian interpretation of personality: The heavenly, o guest of iridescent Earth, Is reflected out of dark hiding-places. And every ascent into the sky Is a descent into kindred depths; And a ray from the heavens is resurrection from the grave. That ray is thou. Ever do we create One soul, the universe. When in the self

. . . . . . . . . . .

Thou senseth all, o soul, the Bridegroom is with thee. (3: 564)

During his entire early Russian period of conceptual activity (before 1907), Ivanov meditated on the phenomenon of a religious ecstasy that breaches the

James and Viacheslav Ivanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness”


limits of individual consciousness. The obvious set of philosophers, consisting of Nietzsche with his idea of Dionysian madness, Schopenhauer with his buddhistic conception of “ t a t twam asi” (“thou art”), and Solovyov with his metaphorics of the Eternal Feminine, must be supplemented, though not so obvious at first glance, by ideas from the new psychology of Fechner and James. Moreover, as in the case of “threshold of consciousness,”“stream of consciousness” enters Ivanov’s metaphorical system with no difficulty (both notions are linked, incidentally, with water symbolism), For example, in the dramatic dialogue in verse “Night in the Desert,” from Ivanov’s first collection, one of the collocutors is Stream. He is persuading Man to put his trust in him, but Spirit warns against this step:
The yoke of solitary consciousness Wilt thou cast from willing shoulders: W e are the banner of fraternal embrace; To be called the I, a sword is needed. (1: 530)

Stream symbolizes the faceless, natural essence of the world, as contrasted to human individuality. In the complex philosophic poem of 1907 entitled “The Dream of Melampus,” mysterious Eternity is represented as a combination of two streams of causality: from the past into the future, and vice versa:
Seas move within the profound sea, some toward dawns, some toward sunsets; On the surface the waves strive to midday, below-to midnight: Many are the varied-flowing streams in the obscure deeps, And submarine rivers roll in the purple ocean. (2: 295)

. . . all eternity is not one,

The examples are numerous, but it is already clear that James’s metaphor has easily found a place in Ivanov’s system? In point of fact, the article “Thou Art” poses once again the question, among others, that concerned James in The Principles of Psychology, the question of the self-identity of the human personality. The continuity of human self-identification was described by him in similar expressions: “Each pulse of cognitive consciousness, each Thought [for James this is a synonym of consciousness: G. 0.1,dies away and is replaced by another. The other, among the things it knows, knows its own predecessor, and finding it ‘warm,’ in the way we have described, greets it, saying: ‘Thou art mine, and part of the same self with me”’ (p. 322). In Ivanov’s thinking, the “thou art” man speaks to the divine part of his “I,” thus realizing his own divine nature (“in the filial hypostasis,” 3: 266). On the


Gennady Obatnin

other hand, Ivanov also extends this mechanism of self-identification to human relationships. In speaking of Dostoevsky‘s “realism,” he resorts to the same formula for the description of Dostoevsky‘s relationship to the world, to human beings, and to his heroes: This is not a peripheral extension of the boundaries of individual consciousness, but rather a certain movement in the very centers that determine its usual coordination; and the possibility of this shift opens up only in internal experience, and-to be precise-in the experience of genuine love for mankind and for the living God; and in the experience of self-renunciation in general, which comes about in the very pathos of love. The symbol of such a penetration lies in the absolute affirmation, with one’s whole will and whole understanding, of another’s existence: “thou art.” . . . [I]t is accomplished in the mystical depths of consciousness. (“Dostoevsky and the Novel-Tragedy,”4: 419)
As the citation makes clear, love also establishes the identity of various human consciousnesses-the consciousnesses of those in love. Thus, ecstasy (Dionysian madness), internal religious experience (transfiguration), a feeling of love unusually comprehensible, dissolution in the “soul of nature” (which is the same as the “world soul”)-such is a brief list of the altered states of consciousness whose identity is of interest to Ivanov. The discussion above brings us to the next level in our comparison of the views of James and Ivanov, and here we are concerned with an essential aspect of the American psychologist’s activities, his study and interpretation of paranormal states of consciousness. This phase is crowned by his summary work

The London Society for Psychical Research, of which James was an early member and later president, attracted attention in Russia as early as the end of the nineteenth century. An abridged translation of Phantasms of the Living by Edmund Gurney, Frederic W. H. Myers, and Frank Podmore was published in 1893, with an introduction by Vladimir Solovyov, whose visionary experiences were to be canonized by the second-generation symbolist^.^ In 1904 Russian readers were provided with a translation of James’s account of the achievements of the Society for Psychical Research, included as the last chapter in his The Will to Believe. Works of other psychologists close to the movement were also translated (for example, Boris Sidis, The Psychology of Suggestion, with introduction by William James, St. Petersburg, 1902). A volume of James’s materials concerning paranormal phenomena, published in 1911, the year after the Russian translation of The Varieties of Religious Experience appeared, was dedicated by its editor, the well-known Russian occultist P. A. Chistiakov, “to the memory of the Russian mystical philosopher and spiritualist Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov” (Dzhems [James].“Vozmozhno li,” p. iii).

The Varieties of Religious Experience.

James and ViacheslavIvanov Rt the “Threshold of Consciousness”


The interest displayed by Russian occultists in this aspect of James’s activities is entirely understandable. Without dwelling in detail on this matter, we would simply refer to James’s enthusiastic acceptance by Theosophy, a movement popular among the Russian Symbolists. For example, P. D. Uspensky, the well-known popularizer of Theosophy, greeted The Varieties of Religious Experience as the first attempt in the West to establish the laws of the appearance of “the Hindu yogis’ state of Samadhi” (Uspensky, p. 16). The subject of “James and Theosophy” came up at a meeting of the Religious-Philosophical Society in 1909 that was devoted to a search for points of contact between the Russian theosophists and modernist philosophers and writers. In the discussion following a paper on the subject delivered by Anna Kamenskaya, Ivanov also implicitly compared Theosophy and the new psychology:
[A] theosophical society is either just a society, like, for example, a psychological society, for the study of the truths of spiritual life, or a theosophical society is a community uniting a l l mankind and one that possesses knowledge of the truth . . . . [I]n the first instance belonging to it is compatible, in the second incompatible, with belonging to the Christian church.8 (“Theosophyand God-Building,”p. 83)

Thus, despite the general similarity of the psychological teachings (for example, in “Thou art” Ivanov employs the theosophical conception of human consciousness more than any other, despite his use of “stream of consciousness”), Ivanov gives preference to viewing psychology as a mere science, not as a whole worldview. So far as we know, there is no evidence that Ivanov read James’s Varieties of Religious Experience. It is known that the editor of the Russian edition, S. Lurye, offered it for translation to E. K. Gertsyk, the critic and translator who was at one time very close to I v a n ~ vHowever, .~ even beyond all this, the book surely would have come into Ivanov’s ken and would have drawn his attention. The reasons for this were both public (the Russian translation went through five printings in the first year alone and was the subject of heated discussion in the periodical press) and private in nature. The essence of the latter is that after the death in the autumn of 1907 of his second wife, L. D. Zinovieva-Annibal, an extended period of mystical visions began in his life. This biographical experience played a large role in his creative work.1° As was usually the case with Ivanov, the new experience was easily accommodated within a conceptual framework already tested-in this case so easily that it appears as if, even before the autumn of 1907, Ivanov was expecting a “mystical experience” of this sort. The mystical experiences that James examines in The Varieties ofReZigious Experience were, from the point of view of experimental psychology, compatible


Gennady Obatnin

with such paranormal experiences as hypnosis, telepathy, automatic writing, and so forth. These experiences are unified in that they all belong to a category of altered states of consciousness. What for James was a theoretical postulate (despite his experiments on himself) had vital significance for Ivanov: intermittently over a period of fifteen years, in automatic writing, the poet noted down his auditory hallucinations. In various periods of his life, Ivanov interpreted his paranormal experiences in various ways. The most powerful interpretant for him was, of course, the Symbolist myth of the Eternal Feminine and the (anthropo-) theosophical conception of “the initiated one,”but he shared with Jamesthe readiness to regard paranormal phenomena as mystical phenomena. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, James approximates to what we can call Ivanov’s approach:
Let me then propose, as an hypothesis, that whatever it may be on its farther side, the “more” with which in religious experience we feel ourselves connected is on its hither side the subconscious continuation of our conscious life. . . . In the religious life the control is felt as “higher”; but since on our own hypothesis it is primarily the higher faculties of our own hidden mind which are controlling, the sense of union with the power beyond us is a sense of something, not merely apparently, but literally true. (p. 403)

Further on, he expresses himself even less equivocally: “I feel as if we had no philosophic excuse for calling the unseen or mystical world unreal” ( V R E , p. 406). This admission of James’s (slightly altering what was perceived as his severely skeptical position) did not pass unnoticed in Russian criticism. “The conviction that authentic higher reality is open to the ‘subconscious I’ is the completely unpredictable personal belief of James himself, but one that he openly admits,” wrote Semyon Frank in his review of The Varieties of Religious Experience (Frank, “James’s Philosophy of Religion,” p, 160). Still another feature brings together the positions of the representatives of the Russian philosophical renaissance (including Ivanov) and James. The American psychologist-philosopher’s“radical empiricism” serves as the basis of this approach: The conviction that personal experience contains within itself the proof of reality. James wrote all of his studies of psychology and religion from such a position. This too was noted by Frank in another paper:
The “method of radical empiricism,” which he advances in The Varieties of Religious Experience, comes down to an indication that is as simple as it is brilliant and daring: a religious experience is as direct and convincing to the one who undergoes it as is any other experience, and as little subject to refutation by any sort of a priori considerations. (“William James,”p. 219)

Vjaieslav Ivanov et son temps 35 (1-2) (1994). whatever unusual character it may possess. “Le banquet platonicien et soufi a la ‘Tour’ peterbourgeoise.” Ivanov’s “realism” is called upon in the first instance to record uncensored the new experience. Plato’s Symposium was for good reason one of the cultural models for the Tower’s pursuits. This work was supported by the Research Support Scheme of the OWHESP. 1902). Although the translation was done from German. known to virtually all well-educated Russians. this in some way resembles the recording of paranormal phenomena by the members of the Society for Psychical Research. grant No. see A. for example. and each active in a discursive field of some density at the opening of the twentieth century.James and Viacheslav Ivanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” 125 In the present instance. It is interesting to note that only an incomplete translation of von Hartmann’s Die Philosophie des Unbewussten ever appeared in Russia (Sushchnost’ mirovogo protsessa ili Filosofiia bezsoznatel’nogo. this method may be compared best of all with Ivanov’s “realism. the artist is engaged in simple mimesis.” In this sense. Finally it should be said that the relationship examined here is not one of direct influence. however differently these may be explored and realized. The philosophical connotations of Ivanov’s “realism” do not negate “naive realism. in Ivanov’s thinking. Thus. Notes Translated by Robert €? Hughes 1. vol. a certain conceptual and methodological unity-all bring significant features of Ivanov’s and James’s systems close together. Un maitre de sagesse au XXe sitcle. 5. 630/1996. it is possible that interest in the book was encouraged by the American translation of 1904. 3 . Let us note that Fechner was the subject of a seven-column article plus bibliography in the scholarly Encyclopedic Dictionary (Brokgauz-Efron. their initial positions-the idea of human nature’s complexity. For greater detail. 1873). Berdjaev et Vjai-eslav Ivanov. 4 . It was certainly known. 35. Petersburg in 1887. each of major stature in his own culture and areas of specialization. Shishkin. among the Russian theosophists.” Cahiers du Monde Russe. and even less is it one of borrowing. Hartmann’s book on spiritualism was also translated and published in St. A translation of his Buechlein vom Leben nach dem Tod was published by the theosophical publishing house “Novyi chelovek” (Fechner 1915). we are dealing here with two figures. for which James had written an . the set of terms for designating this complexity. 2. Rather.” a philosophical and aesthetic conception that reflected his personal paranormal experience. Moscow. It should be remembered that Ivanov devoted almost a third of his life to a scholarly career and that Bely graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Moscow University. Just as with “radical empiricism.

“Nu Religion Higher Than Truth”: A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia. . “ViacheslavIvanov i smert’ L. I.” “Sacrum sepulcrum. N. see Gennady Obatnin. 9. kart. 86-87). 0~ Banbi 6eryr K py6exnohq neclcy.126 Gennady Obatnin introduction ( E M .) 7. Podmor.pp. 32). f. F. (Princeton. 116-19). He~ocTumuM roprweq 3par~y rnyxoii npenen H a 3 b 1 6 n e ~ npomope. 79).D. see Maria Carlson.” as suggested by Armi Varila (Varila. It is possible that the very metaphor of the “stream” came to James by analogy with the Swedenborgian notion “Spiritus Fluid. khr.:Princeton University Press). 109. Helsinki. o~ OTKyna cun B ~ e m s o y c o 6 ~ cnope. and the Death of L.” and “Dream of Melampus.J. Concerning the influence of this experiment on Ivanov’s literary and aesthetic views. 1994). 10. Below are Russian texts of the chief poems by Viacheslav Ivanov cited in the above article: “Threshold of Consciousness”. Iu. 8. The notion of “threshold of consciousness”(rendered in Russian as “porogsoznan’ia”) is also referred to in Bely’s article cited above (p. edited by Irina Paperno and Joan Delaney Grossman.”in Creating Life: The Aesthetic Utopia ofRussian Modernism. 15. 1909 (OR RGB [Manuscript Division. selections from “Dryads. Obatnin. pp. 1996. Phantasms of the Living was translated as: E Gernej.’’ pp. 6.: Stanford University Press. Zinov’evoi-Annibal” (V. For more information on this meeting. Heinonen. pp. ed. The first attempt at outlining this influence was made in Michael Wachtel. edited by P. I.” HyCTblHHOe 0 6 ~ OKOM 0 ~ Mope ~ B WLUU. HOYHO ~ ~ noloueii cnuToM xope Eecnnowym P ~ J ~ Y CBOMX K TOCK~. 97-99. Prizhiznennye prizraki i drugie telepaticheskie iavlenii.. Calif. “From Aesthetic Theory to Biographical Practice. 1975-1 922. (Stanford. Pesonen. Russian State Library]. Zinov’ev-Annibal)in Modernizm i postmoderninn v russkoi literature (Modernism and Postmodernism in Russian Literature). 162-163.” “Night in the Desert. and G. Gertsyk reports this to the poet in a letter dated February 19. Majers i F. D. James was mentioned specifically by Dmitri Merezhkovsky in his speech at the same meeting (“Theosophy and God-Building.

James and Viacheslav lvanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” 127 A C BblCOTbI-’fyMaHHb1fi JlaCKaeT kI o T M e n H n o c H u q m nomenb. He6ecnoeY o rocn 3 e ~ n n p ~ p ~ ~ ~ i i . lo M JlyY C ~ e 6 e c H 3 rpo6a B O C K p e C e H b e . . M K a m O e H a He60 B 0 3 H e C e H b e B - Coluecrme p o ~ ~ yry6nwy... O T P a X e H O U 3 TeMHblX TaGHMKOB. kI M R T e X e f i CTnXHfiHbIX KOJlbl6eJIb. (M3 ((Sacrum sepulcrum~) .

Ivanov. Works Cited Bely. Dzhems. Fechner.3HaMR6paTcK01-0 n 0 6 3 a H b X . Andrei.” 1915. “Filosofia religii V. St. Kniga statei (Symbolism. Moscow: Musagetes. 1910. O6oco6ne~~oro C03HZiHbX Tbl C 6 p o C k i m b HrO C BOJIbHbM IIJleV: M b Z . Gustav Th. Dzhemsa” (William James’s Philosophy of Religion). Zhizn’posle smerti (Life after Death).>KeHNxC ~ 0 6 0(3: ~) 564). . “V. Simvolizm.T e K y u l X IIOTOKOB HeMaJIO B TeMHOB IIyY1IHe. Semen. Brussels: Foyer Oriental Chrktien. Viacheslav. KOrAa ~ 0 6 0 ~ 1 Bcex O l l l ~ H U l b .” Russkaia mysl’ 11(1910). 1971-1 987.Articles). Russkaia mysl’2( 1910). Frank. Petersburg: “Novyi chelovek. Sobrunie sochinenii (Collected Works). (Pi3 &OH MenaMpan) P a 3 H O . . 9 ~ 0~ 6B ~ T ~ fly Cn X o ~ p e 6 MeY e~ (1 : 5 3 0 ) . .128 Gennady Obatnin BceneHcKylo TBOPHM.

Boris. Psikhologiia vnusheniia (Psychology of Suggestion). Sidis. 1915. 1902. Chto tukoe ioga (The Search for New Life: What Yoga Is). Kolokolov. Magnus. I? D. St. St. lskaniia novoi zhizni. . 1994. (Stenographic report of meeting of the Religious-Philosophical Society.James and Viacheslav Ivanov at the “Threshold of Consciousness” 129 Ljunggren. Armi. Petersburg. Translation by Dr. The Russian Mephisto. Vestnik teosofii (Theosophical Herald) 2( 1910). “Teosofiia i bogostroitel’stvo” (Theosophy and God-Building). 1977. James. Stockholm: Almquist & Wiksell International. Uspenskii. M. Helsinki: Suomalainen tiedenkatemia. The Swedenborgian Background of William James’ Philosophy. Varila. Petersburg. 24 November 1909). Introduction by Wm. The Study of the Life and Work of Emilii Medtner.

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“in respect to method.” p. Grot characterized its prevailing direction as idealist or. which developed ideas raised earlier in The Will to Believe and Human Immortality. the Society owed its name “Psychological” to its founder. when the Psychological Society celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. Poole an honorary member of the Moscow Psychological Society in 1901. thereby becoming formally associated with the main center of the remarkable accomplishments in philosophy that helped make the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the “Silver Age of culture. i). metaphysical” (“More on the Tasks of the Journal.”’ Already praised in Russia for his seminal Principles of Psychology. the journal was invaluable in promoting the growth of philosophy in Russia. were seen as highly relevant to the tasks confronting the Moscow Psychological Society as it sought to advance the development of Russian philosophy. Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. In 1910. M. Troitsky (1835-1899). In 1889 the Psychological Society began publication of Russia’s first regular specialized philosophical journal. Although the society did sponsor significant psychological research. notably The Varieties of Religious Experience. one of its officers could evaluate the society as a “profoundly significant fact in the life of Russian society. Pluralism. Grot (1852-1899) took over its direction.131 - . James was on the verge of producing his other major works. when Nikolai Ia. its greater importance in the history of Russian philosophy began to emerge by 1888. Published five times a year until 1918. where in general philosophical questions could beILLIAM JAMES WAS ELECTED W . Founded in 1885 at Moscow University. These works. and A Pluralistic Universe.7 William James in the Moscow Psychological Society: Pragmatism. Personalism Randall A. Pragmatism. an empirical psychologist. M.

the Psychological Society needed to mount an effective theoretical challenge to positivism. Principles was reviewed at greater length by Georgy I. the Psychological Society proceeded to make. p. In 1890.2 Chelpanov claimed that James himself was a spiritualist in his philosophical views on the nature of the soul (i. the society’s leading experimental psychologist and an idealist in philosophy.as it turned out) for the necessary funds for the Psychological Society to undertake a translation. to the extent it could be shown to be irreducible to sense experience (the positivist sphere). objective discussion only relatively recently” (Vinogradov. He appealed (unsuccessfully. the same year it was published. The measure of reality was empirical experience: positively given. as a field that systematized empirical research. In pursuit of its goal of the free development of philosophy. at best. Empirical sciences were the only sciences. As a general outlook. It met this need through advancing a distinctive neoidealist critique.pp. This legacy has come down to us as Russian neoidealism.. external sense data. Most of all. positivism asserted that philosophy had no special methodology and thus no legitimate right to exist as its own type of scientific (nauchnyi or wissenschafilich) discipline. by the end of its activity in 1922. that he accepted the idea of the substantiality of the soul). 26 1-262). . Grot believed James’s work could further. but clearly Chelpanov goes too far in claiming that “James. 72). philosophy could serve. Two years later. even though he kept such views out of psychological research. openly declares himself a metaphysician of the spiritualist school” (p. which he thought should be strictly positivistic (in the methodological. This domain was human consciousness itself. Chelpanov valued James’s work for discrediting the widespread opinion that empirical psychology leads inevitably to (naturalistic) positivism and materialism. Nikolai Grot wrote a short review of James’s The Principles of Psychology for Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. 76). In its popular naturalistic and scientistic forms.90). not . the “progress of our spiritualistic psychology and philosophy” (p. Obviously Chelpanov was eager to appropriate James. in its comprehensive coverage of the state of the field abroad. It is true that James thought materialism an “impertinent” conclusion from the available evidence (Myers. using all the data of current experimental and physiological psychology . Against these reductionist claims. Chelpanov (1862-1936). . 56). positivism was remarkably pervasive in Russia from the middle of the nineteenth century.e. Beginning with this defense of the autonomy of philosophy. Psychological Society idealists sought to defend the autonomy of philosophy by arguing that the positivist criterion of reality was far from exhaustive. perhaps the most important contributions thus far to the history of Russian philosophy. Poole come the object of free and.132 Randall A. to the extent possible. antimetaphysical sense) (p. and that what it did not exhaust comprised the special domain of philosophy.

The problem of how James fit that current would resurface in the Psychological Society. They thought that the pragmatist approach to the truth-value (in the general sense of “truth-bearing”) of the full range of human experience. and a special commemorative meeting of the Psychological Society was held. Lopatin. now deputy chair. and Chelpanov closely related James to the development of neoidealism in the Psychological Society. when both Pragmatism and The Varieties of Religious Experience appeared in Russian in 1910. himself very interested in James. one that helped meet the needs of the whole person and the deeper self. He wrote about James and pragmatism in two additional essays.5Lopatin. in particular.” while Sergei Andreevich Kotliarevsky ( 1873-1939). Lev Lopatin delivered a major address. Lopatin called James one of today’s greatest thinkers and declared . Lopatin: The Crisis in Philosophy and Its Pragmatic Solution At the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Psychological Society in March 1910. including morality and religion. helped turn the society’s attention toward him. a leading social philosopher and liberal theorist. Lopatin and Kotliarevsky. Kotliarevsky. “The Present and Future of Philosophy. Two of the society’s most significant figures delivered papers on this occasion: Chelpanov. spoke on “James as Psychologist.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 133 only for the philosophical critique of positivism but also for the strong spiritualistic current within Russian neoidealism.William James’s name became the center of intense discussion and debate. Apart from reviews and some further consideration by Chelpanov. embraced pragmatism because it offered a much broader conception of experience than did positivism. The articulation of such a worldview had been an important goal of the neoidealist program ever since Grot announced the task in the first issue of Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. addressed the topic “James as Religious Thinker.3However. chair of the Psychological Society from 1900 until 1919. could advance the search for an integral and balanced worldview. His death that August was announced in Questions of Philosophy and Psychology by an obituary placed prominently at the front of the September-October issue. James received no significant attention in the Psychological Society until after the appearance of Pragmatism in 1907. the latter appearing in a Festschrifr for Lev Lopatin (1855-1920). “Pragmatism and Tolerance” (1910) and “On the Relative and the Absolute” (1912). and so could be enlisted in the neoidealist defense of the autonomy of philosophy.” On this important occasion in the life of Russia’s first philosophical society. Sergei Kotliarevsky was James’s greatest admirer.”4Among the society’s prominent philosophers.

It has largely renounced the possibility of any distinctive object or method of philosophical knowledge. “The result is what one may call the growth of naturalistic or positivistic feeling. which it wants to make its own foundation and model of development. p. James gave a concise formulation of . This was precisely the type of reductionism that pragmatism tried to resist. could be seen as a solution to the crisis in philosophy and a defense of its autonomy. rejected as subjective feeling. Poole that the future of philosophy belonged to pragmatism. to conflate the concept of experience itself with its external. Lopatin clearly thought that. but this has generally amounted only to the justification of scientific knowledge. according to Lopatin. whatever progress Russian philosophy had made. Philosophy. European philosophy had failed at this task. He sees in pragmatism an exit from its current moribund state. sense experience. In Lopatin’s definition. Positivism tends. internal experience. empirical sphere. The source of the continuing crisis is positivism’s claim that all knowledge must be based on verifiable sense experience. . the way philosophy presently relates to science is hardly normal (“Present and Future. Grot observed that the outstanding progress of the natural sciences had led to an exclusive emphasis on one source of knowledge. As early as 1889. philosophy has taken up epistemology as its own special task. Twenty years later. is in crisis because it has subordinated itself to science. In his account of philosophy’s internal reaction to the extraordinary success of science. 15).” pp. Lopatin may well have had in mind James’s words in Pragmatism. viii-ix). 4-6). Surveying the overall direction of contemporary European philosophy. positivism strictly confines the sphere of real knowledge to the limits of the precise sciences (“Present and Future:’ p. In short. And this is just the approach Lopatin (and Kotliarevsky) took. a work he knew well (as he makes clear later in his essay). Referring to man’s diminished sense of importance in the enlarged material universe of modern science. 9). Perhaps never before has philosophy been so deprived of autonomy. Lopatin finds philosophical thought to be suffering a prolonged and deep crisis. James wrote. moreover. True. inner experience. what is higher is explained by what is lower and treated forever as a case of ‘nothing but’-nothing but something else of a quite inferior sort” (P. It is already clear how pragmatism. Redressing this imbalance is the task of philosophy. he announced in setting the agenda for Questions ofPhi2osuphy and Psychology (“On the Tasks of the Journal. and this at a time when the positive sciences are reexamining their own epistemological premises. cannot provide adequate grounds for knowledge. Ideals appear as inert by-products of physiology. . by overcoming positivist restrictions on what counts as valid experience and by ascribing truth-value to types of experience that positivism dismisses.” pp. . to the neglect of the other.134 Randall A.

nothing being omitted” ( P . more complicated: Lopatin. transcendent to consciousness). 11). Lopatin singles out neo-Kantianism as most prone to this tendency. Lopatin’s spiritualistic monism is distinctive in that it recognizes the principle of transcendence: although all being may be spiritual in essence. Zenkovsky. thought that either the truth is in monism. although he admitted that spiritualism contained a monistic element in its premise (which he accepted) of the internal uniformity of all reality (see below. however. But monism comes in different forms. a step James was reluctant to take.) But James thought “pluralistic” was the best designation for a spiritualistic universe of free persons. “endsin-themselves’’in Kant’s terminology (Myers. pp. too. p. is monistic. the belief that human beings are persons because they are morally responsible agents. This .” pp. This suggests an important connection to James. or contained in. 7). (In “Monism and Pluralism” he wrote that spiritualistic monism “alone contains philosophical t r u t h [p. Positivism. who were generally immanentists. what fits every part of life best and combines with the collectivity of experience’s demands. in its scientistic and reductionist forms.” he asserted (“Spiritualism. the reduction of being to consciousness. 651). This was unusual among contemporary monists in Europe. p. through his famous critique of monism in A Pluralistic Universe. the forms of being are not all reducible to. 44). (Lopatin’s personalism was not only ethical but also explicitly ontological in its affirmation of the substantiality of the soul. “The Varieties of Spiritualism”). “What Pragmatism Means”: pragmatism’s “only test of probable truth is what works best in the way of leading us. although in a more general sense than the ontological focus it had for Lopatin and other Psychological Society neoidealists. but that their monism takes the form of immanentism. only one of which can be true. that is. one another. 891. The matter is.) James. or it is nowhere. James and Lopatin also shared a commitment to ethical personalism. Lopatin called the true form “spiritualistic monism” and never missed an opportunity to champion it as his own philosophical system. “It is possible to search for philosophical truth only in monistic systems. but he is careful to distinguish Kant’s selfproclaimed successors from Kant himself (“Present and Future. a tendency which Lopatin identifies as a main characteristic of the contemporary philosophical outlook (“Present and Future. and so are in a position to contend that “there is nothing apart from what is given in experience” (p.” p. Lopatin thus affirmed an external reality which is (in other words) transcendent to human consciousness. used spiritualism to describe his own Weltanschauung. 449).William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 135 it in his second chapter. 375-376.” p. himself a convinced monist. Lopatin’s criticism of the main currents in European philosophy is not so much that they are monistic. The immanentists have dispensed with Kant’s thing-in-itself (noumenal being. 8-9).

This aspect of the pragmatic defense of the autonomy of philosophy. This respect for the autonomy of parts and delimitation of boundaries is a type of pluralism. First. Science and philosophy. Of the positivist thesis that everything is accessible to science. 11-12).136 Randall A. 35). Not surprisingly. of starting from parts to make a whole of the collection (P. 35). develops one dimension of Jamesian pluralism. Lopatin writes. Their defense of the autonomy of philosophy was thus both pragmatist and pluralist: pragmatist in that it relied first of all on an expansive idea of truthful experience.” in the rejection of which he and Lopatin fully agreed. the empirical generalizations of natural science are relative and approximate. 13). Both cases share an essential immanentism. 34). therefore. Lopatin contrasts positivism (immanentist and intellectualist) to the general pragmatist understanding of science. not an epistemological. which is related to but distinct from affirming the possible truth-value of nonempirical forms of experience. Lopatin (and even more so Kotliarevsky. As a result positivists have unexpectedly assumed the position of the metaphysician-idealists at the beginning of the last century” (pp. he described as pluralistic the empiricist way of explaining wholes by parts (PU. sense. Poole makes possible their claims to absolute knowledge. 9). p. They predetermine nothing in the metaphysical sphere. act on different planes and cannot replace each other (p. while the monism of positivism consists in the connaturality of all being and empirical experience. Lopatin and Kotliarevsky shared this sense of pluralism when they urged that an integral worldview required careful delineation of the equal rights of science and philosophy. For pragmatism. “The great guarantee of the emancipation of philosophical thought. in all its quests and eternal problems. lies in the serious understanding of this t r u t h (p. He sees pragmatism as a fresh breeze blowing new life into the long-stagnant intellectual atmosphere (“Present and Future. pluralist in that it could then resist the monistic pretensions of scientistic positivism. Lopatin remarks: “This is a fully natural conclusion from the rejection of any independent reality outside our cognizing mind and from the characteristic identification of all our experience with the content of science. as we shall see) stressed that in an integral and balanced worldview.p. James generally used pluralism in a metaphysical. science and philosophy had to coexist and acknowledge each other’s separate domain of inquiry. which accounts for what James called “intellectualism. Lopatin declares that the renewal of philosophical thought is to be found in the new movement of pragmatism (its “great names” from contemporary philosophy include both James and Bergson).” p. . The monism of absolute idealism consists in the connaturality of all being and the human mind. But in one contrast between empiricism and rationalism.

(P. As Lopatin puts it. 124).” crude and superficial utilitarianism. 38). For James. first to James’sgeneral conception of truth and then to his approach to morality and religion.” It cannot flagrantly contradict either moral feeling or theoretical understanding. than for the very purpose of stimulating our minds to such additions as shall enhance the universe’s total value. easy American “practicism. “humanism.” James explained it with the help of Rudolph Hermann Lotze. Schiller used this idea to convey the creative potential in our search for truth. far less for the purpose of reappearing unaltered in our knowledge. and even of complete contempt for truth (p. 646). . the more broadly it answers every living aspiration of our spiritual make-up. “What we accept as truth satisfies us more fully. if only we look for them. in the last part of his essay. stands ready-made and complete. To support his contention that pragmatists believe in positive truth no less than their opponents do. The exposition relies largely on Pragmatism and The Will to Believe.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 137 James’s critique of monism (in both absolute idealist and positivist forms) was that its intellectualism displaces experience (in the widest sense) as the best guide to truth and that its determinism constrains personal moral endeavor. turns in more detail to these ideas. pragmatism is not merely an epistemological matter: “it concerns the structure of the universe i t s e v (p. Schiller called his theory of truth. and our intellects supervene with the one simple duty of describing it as it is already. The British pragmatist F. 37). C. S. In this connection Lopatin refers to the pragmatist idea of the infinite plasticity of reality: the more open we are to reality. Lotze asked. Empirical generalizations are working hypotheses. 36). 123) Reality responds to our search for an ever more adequate truth. Lopatin. “who in all justice can be called the most subtle and profound of psychologists and one of today’s most outstanding thinkers” (p. 37). For this reason. “Only that truth captures us which satisfies the whole person in all his vital motives” (p. But may not our descriptions. Lopatin wants to defend pragmatism against accusations of skepticism. be themselves important additions to reality? And may not previous reality itself be there. the measure of the truth of an idea is its adequacy to the fullest possible range of human experience. whose ideas in fact much influenced Lopatin (Zenkovsky. p. They must not constrict our experience of the diversity and inexhaustible richness of reality. but must strive to harmonize the various ways we experience reality. one in accordance with our fullest and deepest experiences. Reality. the more it reveals (p. Therefore. not infallible truths. p. we naturally think. he concentrates on the view of knowledge held by James. a process in which a cooperative reality to some extent realizes in itself our ideals and our human image.

if no alternative has the clear logical or theoretical advantage-to grant the best-case scenario for naturalism-then our choice ought to be guided by moral consciousness. p. Lopatin hails The Varieties of Religious Experience as producing a profound transformation in the psychology of religious feeling (p.” which also functions as a statement of his own philosophy of “spiritualistic monism. 1-3). P. 1151. he stresses. Among various worldviews (naturalism or spiritualism. it was most clear that pragmatism expanded our ideas of experience far beyond the positivist domain. “Materialism means simply the denial that the moral order is eternal. “And James himself thinks that the only probable explanation of the relevant facts consists in the hypothesis of actual contact between the deepest layers of our spiritual life and the real divine world” (p. and so gave new life to philosophy. cf. “spiritualism means the affirmation of an eternal moral order and the letting loose of hope” (P. VRE. which itself gives rise to the great weltanschaulich search for meaning in life. but Psychological Society philosophers could take encouragement from James’sbelief that “a new dawn is breaking upon us philosophers” (p. determinism or free will). everlastingworld order. p. which alone guarantees an ideal. 42).” James wrote. Lopatin cautions.138 Randall A. 44. 39-40). our choice of worldview is a rather important one. Pragmatism might not be the last word in philosophy. Lopatin writes. “The Urgent Tasks of Present-Day Thought. He saw the war as a direct consequence of the internal . In general. and the cutting off of ultimate hopes.” p. 406-407). Poole If so. “Present and Future. And yet James did not maintain that belief in God was only a moral postulate. (Here Lopatin paraphrases James’s argument in Pragmatism [pp. in the midst of the Great War and on the threshold of revolution. Moral rationality was. The Varieties of Spiritualism Seven years after “The Present and Future of Philosophy. In Jamesian psychology of religion. 43. James’swork shows that certain irreducible religious and mystical experiences are indubitably convincing to those who have them. inner personal experiences provided immediate testimony. pp. 60-611 and “The Dilemma of Determinism” from The Will to Believe [p. The world war had heightened Lopatin’s sense of grave crisis in European culture and philosophy (pp.”Lopatin returned to the pragmatic approach to religious experience in a second major review of the contemporary philosophical scene.) This was emphatically so in the case of his approach to theism.” The essay was read at Moscow University in January 1917. 41). atheism or theism. a decisive consideration for James. 10). truth is determined here by what most fully meets all the demands of spiritual personhood [dukhovnaia lichnost’] (pp. 55.

. 16). 341-342. in the sense that we discover in it only what we seek. especially the influence of philosophical outlook on religious experience and its meaning (“Urgent Tasks. echoing Vladimir Ern’s notion that a straight line could be drawn “From Kant to Krupp.. we know. Spirit is the absolute reality that gives everything its being. in us and outside us. . which are intellectual “over-beliefs’’ and as such “secondary products” of the experiential basis (VRE. relegate them to the unconscious sphere. Lopatin stresses the scientistic character of the current philosophical outlook. in the immediate experiences and acts of our inner self. and distort and impoverish them” (p. and so brings out features of the world (external and internal) which other philosophical views leave obscure and incomprehensible.” Lopatin writes. 341). Lopatin. 74-76). investigate completely different aspects of reality” (p. James emphasizes that religious feeling and experience are the source and subject of religious philosophy and theology. In our soul. 15). .404405). valued pragmatism for its resistance to this type of reductionism.” Lopatin suggests. authentic reality is revealed to us” (p. . and. “Some philosophical views broaden and deepen religious experiences. &9). and are themselves internally enriched by them. he makes the pragmatic case for spiritualism as a philosophical worldview that best meets the full range of human experience. His account clearly draws on James (although without acknowledgment). Here. on the contrary. “Others. “Empirical knowledge and philosophy have very different objects. . 23). however. “It is necessary to recall. The central tenet of spiritualism is that “all reality. 75). Lopatin believes that the monistic principle solves the problem of how .” pp. or. on the contrary. Lopatin makes these same points. . immanent to consciousness (p. Lopatin’s pragmatist justification of spiritualism is the conclusion to an essay devoted mainly to detailing the spiritualistic worldview itself. The tendency of contemporary thought (“especially in Germany”) is. to declare that the only reality is the world we perceive in sense phenomena. This determines the “main significance”of spiritualism: it affords free and unimpeded access to religious experience and creativity. 77). at least. however. ontologically uniform in its spiritual foundations. restrict and constrain them. Spiritualism is monistic because it asserts that all reality is internally. “that contemporary pragmatists have pointed to an important truth: reality is plastic . is in its inner essence spiritual.”6As in his 1910 essay. In the 1917 essay. it is closed off to us precisely to the extent we turn away from it” (p. p. The main problem remains the illegitimate identification of knowledge as such with the contents of empirical science. once more. is the pragmatist idea of the plasticity of reality. affect the quality of the primary experience and even more do they determine how that experience is interpreted and evaluated (pp. Our intellectual constructions do.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 139 crisis in philosophy and was especially critical of German philosophical culture (pp.

p. P. only in the form of totality. James thought this a necessary condition of a universe open to possibility and real cooperation with the divine in one’s own salvation and in the world’s. but such a God might even infringe on human personhood. which is monistic or “more intimate. one “more monistic. and that this inner ontological similarity to the self enables it to be perceived by consciousness. 451-456).e. but would be completely other. then distinguishes two types of spiritualism: theism.” in that it identifies man and God. 19). while the “eachform” is willing to believe “that the substance of reality may never get totally collected.” the other “more pluralistic”: the first is the philosophy of the absolute (or absolutism). He first makes the generic distinction between spiritualism and naturalism or materialism.. or realizes its ultimate potential as spirit.’’In the “all-form. and pantheism. and of human life as part and parcel of that deep reality” (p. the world would not exist for us. For James. He then distinguishes two types of pantheism. The differences between Lopatin’s metaphysics and James’s should not be minimized. James’s defense of the “each-form’’ is based largely on a stringent ethical personalism that feared that any conception of the absolute limited man’s freedom and opportunity for personal moral endeavor. That is a significant area of agreement with Lopatin (whether or not it means James accepted the substantiality of the soul). For some reason. about something not-self or other (pp.” James’s own preference. which is dualistic in separating man and God. The result is a pluralism of persons in which God is no longer absolute (i. but neither should the similarities. that some of it may remain outside of the largest combination of it ever made” (p. “only one of the eaches. James declares that only pantheism is worthy of attention. “the vision of God as the indwelling divine rather than the external creator. James specifies his spiritualism in A Pluralistic Universe.140 Randall A. How can anything transcendent to consciousness be at the same time an object of consciousness?Spiritualism answers that transcendent being is itself mind-like or spiritual. Both are spiritualistic and personalistic. God) but finite. 20). 143). 26. personal substantiality ultimately consists). the self seems to reflect the ontological nature of the rest of the world. Thus. 20).”pp. not only do human persons not require an absolute God (in whom. He leaves no doubt that the similarity between the two types of pantheism consists in their spiritualism. and the second is “radical empiricism.’’ while his own type is the “each-form. “Spiritualism. James calls the absolute type of pantheism the “all-form. “in that both identify human substance with the divine substance” (p. theists typically contend.” primus inter pares (PU. 25-26. In its very capacity for perceiving and knowing. Otherwise. James’s personalism tended toward his well-known interest in polytheism.’’reality becomes fully divine. . Poole consciousness can know anything at all about the outside world.

Like James. not a composite of simpler parts . which included not only philosophy but also psychology (for Lopatin. His argument is straightforward: only spiritual substance has the capacity for selfdetermination.” in view of the idea of creation: it is God’s nature as love to create. however. Whether or not James ever accepted the idea of the substantial soul in his metaphysics. 11: 3 11-317).655-656).1° Georgy Chelpanov was also a spiritualist in psychology and philosophy. and a single entity.” he combined a (sometimes) generous characterization of James with criticism of his eclectic pluralism (pp. Lopatin’s strong personalism has even led to classification of his spiritualism as “pluralism.~ His 1917 essay “The Urgent Tasks of Present-Day Thought” criticized phenomenalism in psychology (without. Lopatin derived his personalism from ethics. 648-652. Human beings are therefore persons in the metaphysical sense. see any incompatibility between personalism and the absolute God of traditional theism. selective. In “James as Psychologist. Lopatin himself admitted a “relative justification of the pluralistic principle. Lopatin resolutely opposed James on these points. He called his spiritualism “concrete” to designate its strong personalism and to distinguish it from absolute idealism. Both thinkers were ultimately concerned to defend the absolute value and dignity of the person. One of his most cherished ideas was that the soul. “Monism and Pluralism. In a 1913 essay. naming James) and recommended a “spiritualistic psychology” (pp. there remains a large area in which the differences between Lopatin and James on monism and pluralism are mostly semantic. pp.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 141 Lopatin was also a personalist. while Lopatin feared it would be fragmented without a higher philosophical unity. which we experience in ourselves as free will. 51-52). James feared it would be crushed under the weight of a monistic metaphysics. that is. Grot. which he criticized for “abstract” immanentism (Positive Tusks. he disputed James’s exclusion of the idea of the soul from psychology.” he suggests that this exclusion is paradoxical in view of James’s own account that consciousness is spontaneous. let alone a possible object of psychological research. he did not think it was a useful hypothesis in psychology. Still. was directly accessible in introspe~tion. unity. and this fact introduces an infinite diversity into reality (“Urgent Tasks.7 Lopatin did not. and Chelpanov).” despite his own insistence that it was a type of monism (Zenkovsky. 45). as we have seen. of course. causal.8 His psychological method was phenomenalistic: psychology was a positive science about the phenomena of consciousness. or substantiality. but goes further than James in directly drawing ontological conclusions from moral experience. 76-80). In any event. in all its substantiality.” p. Such phenomena do not inform us about personal identity. substantial souls.” Like Lopatin. goal-directed. The substantiality of the soul was a main tenet of the spiritualistic current in Russian neo-idealism.

400). Lopatin thought that the “whole enormous sphere of so-called mystical facts” (in the occult or parapsychological sense) deserved serious a t t e n t i ~ n . mystical. which is operative in the universe” (p. one that bears a certain similarity to Lopatin’s formulation of the idea that. This is especially true of religious experiences. according to Chelpanov’s logic: Those who acknowledge in one way or another the existence of the soul. This “MORE” is true reality. For this reason. operates only with symbols of reality. as well as to his .). James writes that science. and “psychical” experiences. keeping constant sight of psychology’s interest in perennial philosophical questions about human nature. for example. It is spiritual because it is “of the same quality” as the self. 394-395). 449-45 1 ) . he in every way rejects the ‘soul”’ (p. he describes consciousness as only a spiritualist can. This autonomy must. In psychological terms. necessarily general and impersonal. James also speaks of the “MORE” as a “wider self. as James does and as it seems anyone must in thinking about the mind. in religion and metaphysics he took a different approach. Such a science is inevitably spiritualistic. “acknowledges its substantiality as well. Yet James tried to explain the self without recourse to the hypothesis of the soul by treating it as a generalization from successive states of consciousness (pp. on the other hand. What is the nature of this reality? In religious experience.”’~ Although James had little use for a spiritualistic psychology. 405).while ’~ Chelpanov devoted considerable space to James’s interest in the idea of the subliminal consciousness and in “spiritism” (or mediumism). 45611. in the soul. then indire~tly. 439-446). these properties (especially the last) mean that “James is a defender of the spiritualistic position regarding the nature of the soul” (pp. “By being religious we establish ourselves in possession of ultimate reality at the only points at which reality is given us to g u a r d (pp. For Chelpanov. 456). In The Varieties of Religious Experience. be relative. “mind-stuff or “mind-dust”). a concept he used to help account for religious. we become conscious of a higher part of the self and discover that it is “conterminous and continuous with a MORE of the same quulity.” with which the conscious person is continuous (p. while personal experience can have contact with reality itself (p. however. The contradiction results from what Chelpanov nonetheless sees as James’s main significance as a psychologist: the fact that he approached psychology as a science in its own terms (the science of the phenomena of consciousness) and furthered its autonomy vis-a-vis metaphysics as well as other sciences. 393). l 2 Chelpanov thinks James has fallen into a clear contradiction: “on the one hand. if not directly. true reality is revealed in its spiritual foundations. Poole (of. he describes the “MORE” as connected to us through the subliminal consciousness.142 Randall A. And in this respect Chelpanov says that perhaps no contemporary psychologist had done more than James to affirm that psychology is a philosophical science (p.

His approach is based not on abstract deduction from metaphysical premises. in “religious pragmatism. that James has generated so much attention and interest in Russia (p. it is to be thought.” pp. Both philosophers saw the best example of this restoration in pragmatist openness to religious experience. Jamesian . like Lopatin. exactitude with a brilliant intuition for reconstructing mental life (p. In James. 697). For Kotliarevsky. a future” (p. Kotliarevsky valued pragmatism for restoring an expansive idea of human experience in place of monistic constrictions. While Lopatin felt obliged to criticize it as metaphy~ics. that spirit was the fruit of many years of psychological research that combined. in Kotliarevsky‘s words. “They have there a past and. Nowhere is this genius more evident than in James’s reconstruction of the varieties of religious experience. “James as Religious Thinker” is the paper Kotliarevsky delivered before the Psychological Society’s meeting memorializing James in October 1910. he said. defends pragmatism against charges of crude utilitarianism. but defended in his other works as well. charges which are. This is not just another case of Russian susceptibility to the latest trend in Western philosophy and science.’~ Kotliarevsky was content to concentrate on its implications in social philosophy (including the place of religion in society). but on experience and observation. not a theory. It is no accident. 451-455). Like Lopatin. applied most characteristically in The Varieties of Religious Experience. James’s originality consists in his pragmatic method. where he found it quite congenial to his own ideas. 698). Kotliarevsky: Jamesand Russia Sergei Kotliarevsky embraced even more of James’sthought than did Lopatin. pragmatism is most interesting in its religious dimensions. Kotliarevsky. far removed from its true spirit (p. 698). 702). when placed in connection with the answers James gave to the perennial questions about the eternal and its relation to man. although not as they exist in the preconceptions and prejudices of those who pretend to the strictest empiricism (p. and thus for helping to meet our need for a balanced and integral worldview.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 143 closely related transmission theory of consciousness (“James as Psychologist. and it strenuously resists pretentious rationalism and dogmatism.” But Kotliarevsky and Lopatin differed somewhat on Jamesian pluralism. These answers deserve attention not only as material for the intellectual biography of this “great American thinker. 717). Pragmatism is a method. Kotliarevsky suggests.” whose spiritual outlook is so attractive in its freshness but also because they are organically tied to the great currents in religious-philosophical thought.

of not clearly separating the sphere of theoretical reason from practical reason. Kotliarevsky admits.) Kotliarevsky even thinks that points of contact could be established between James and Slavophilism. Kotliarevsky played an important role in the idealist revival he describes here as only partially successful. Russians are inevitably drawn to James’s own constant striving to avoid encumbering empirical science with metaphysical hypotheses (p. when victory over one-sided empiricism is too often taken to mean freedom from any scientific methodology and even from elementary logic (p. its high estimation of empiricism. The conflation of these distinct spheres. never having been overburdened by the type of scholastic intellectualism that James found so constraining. Kotliarevsky asks. Kotliarevsky writes. “but do we not distinctly sense that here James comes very close to the most urgent problems of our contemporary culture?” (pp. (It is true. is pluralism (in one important di- . the greatest tolerance with the greatest exactingness. Russian neoidealism had emerged as a powerful critique of this worldview. seek to delimit science and philosophy (and religion as well) to their own respective spheres of experience and inquiry. is monism. Poole pragmatism appeals to certain peculiarities in Russian intellectual development. Russians might take a certain satisfaction in. It has not been long. Kotliarevsky refers to the recent dominance of so-called philosophical realism. By the end of the nineteenth century. or the hypostatization of one at the expense of the other. 717-718). 718). But the best and most precious traditions in Russian higher learning include its attraction to natural science. does external recognition mean internal assimilation? People who sincerely value the progressive movement of idealism could not but be experiencing profound doubt and heavy disappointment now. 718). He manages to combine freedom and responsibility. “The defense of idealism was then in itself a certain act of courage.” Kotliarevsky writes. recognition of their legitimate rights to coexistence. as I have argued in the case of Lopatin. James strikes the necessary balance. a partly materialistic. The comparison he wants to draw between pragmatism and Russian neoidealism is that both approaches. for example. And here. partly positivistic worldview. but of fruitful use of experience and observation. a defense of freedom against hardened dogmatism. “We are accustomed to neither. however. when the Russian traditions of true empiricism were apparently in eclipse and in need of recovery. But. Now idealists no longer need to prove their rights to existence-they are generally recognized” (p. that Russia’s freedom from scholasticism may have been a consequence of inadequate logical training and too little interest in purely epistemological problems. since the monistic tendencies of scientism were ascendant.144 Randall A. Respect for their mutual autonomy. not in the sense of philosophical pretensions. 717).

Our sense of an irreducible difference between the empirical and religious aspects of the world cannot be suppressed by verbal formulas. that “unity of substance can be combined with an infinite multiplicity of attributes and modes in which the world appears” (p. 368). and it is always achieved at the cost of a great loss of spiritual and intellectual freedom. Their “naive objectivism” has become very widespread. which is “so pernicious for both religious and scientific freedom. Nor can religious needs ever be satisfied by the claims and promises of a monistic orthodoxy [pravoverie]. Their monism consists rather in thinking that natural scientific methods apply to all fields of knowledge. was a monist in philosophy. “Pragmatism and the Problem of Tolerance. scientific truths take on a supra-empirical character: science becomes a religion. But “the impossibility of an external unification of science and religion is obvious to anyone who has passed through the school of scientific criticism and who is capable of sensing the absolute autonomy of any religious conviction” (p.Kotliarevsky refers here to the example of contemporary Social Democracy. which economic determinism has infected with the “virus of atheism. Earlier in 1910. Monism characteristically collapses science and religion into one system (Ernst Heinrich Haeckel and Auguste Comte are Kotliarevsky‘s examples).” The article was written in response to the “indisputable fact” of contemporary interest in pragmatism (p. Kotliarevsky was concerned to defend the autonomy not only of science and philosophy but also of religion. we know. 376). “True Realism. this often amounts to no more than taking verbal metaphors for fruitful scientific analogies. 716).” Lopatin. With this. Kotliarevsky was therefore obliged to observe. Such unification always reproduces.who closely related it to the liberal principles of tolerance and freedom of conscience. the medieval idea of philosophy as the maidservant of theology.” constitutes by itself his great cultural contribution (p.” and the Quest for an Integral Worldview In “James as Religious Thinker.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 145 mension of the concept). In practice. thus reinforcing their sectarian cast of mind (p. before beginning his critique. But most monists are not this subtle. Such monists see themselves as true realists. 373). Monism. in one form or another. Kotliarevsky described the psychology of monism in another essay. This side of Jamesian pragmatism received special emphasis by Kotliarevsky. and appeared in the same issue of Questions of Philosophy and Psychology as Lopatin’s speech.” Kotliarevsky declared that James’s struggle with monism. 374). a few months before James’s death in August of that year. “The Present and Future of Philosophy.” Neither this virus nor promises of the .

Such usurpation is the mark of positivist realism. Against monistic orthodoxies of all types. Kotliarevsky’s review essay is a forceful statement of the neoidealist principle of autonomy and delimitation. Kotliarevsky and his Psychological Society colleagues often used the term (or. No single link in this process can pretend to absolute or exclusive significance. “Conflict beween science and metaphysics.146 Randall A. No less than everyone else. and of renewal (p. only they do not do so squarely and honestly. Poole kingdom of freedom have prevented the emergence of religious searchings among Social Democrats.. (I will return below to Kotliarevsky‘s development of a pragmatic basis for tolerance). 377).16 In these searchings. Several years earlier. In this. the concept) “contraband” to describe the distortion and muddling that result when elements from one area of thought (ethical. Metaphysics thus enters their thinking on an unconscious level. Realists fail to recognize that constructing a worldview is itself a metaphysical project (p. Kotliarevsky values pragmatism for what he called its liberating role. 627). If philosophy is experiencing a deep crisis. pragmatism presents the image of ongoing intellectual and spiritual work. leading to dis- . Kotliarevsky went further in analyzing the type of monism James opposed. much to the chagrin of the would-be keepers of orthodoxy. This is the path of living instinct.e. for each embodies the absolute striving of the human spirit forward to its eternal ends. as between science and religion. His argument shows why he would soon find James so congenial a thinker. Kotliarevsky sees a healthy protest against monistic attempts to limit the rights of the human spirit (p. Essays in the Realist Worldview. philosophically) constructed and is full of contraband. or religious) are smuggled into or usurped by another (empirical or natural scientific). it is clear that the pragmatist understanding of life cannot be reduced to biology. when not the term. 627). they cannot help asking metaphysical questions. Instead of finished dogma.” which critiques positivistic monism as a false realism. Kotliarevsky writes. 378). as Lopatin indicates (Kotliarevskyrefers to him in concluding his essay). as James himself made clear in the significance he attached to religion (p. Kotliarevsky reviewed the volume in an essay entitled. of pragmatism. as a worldview.” Kotliarevsky’s criticism of the realist worldview is that. then it could do no better than to stop chasing after “scholastic virtuosity” and return to the broader path along which people have always sought answers to the perennial questions. 379). begins only when mutual usurpation begins” (p. “On True and False Realism. In 1904. metaphysical. it has not been consciously (i. a group of leading Russian positivists published a manifesto of sorts. soon after neoidealism had become a movement in Russian social thought but before pragmatism was enlisted in the service of defending the autonomy of philosophy. mentioning in particular James’s ideas about free will and the plasticity of the world.

in which natural. Not until 1912. and an allusion to the history of churchstate relations in Russia. At the same time. irreducible disharmonies exist. Recognizing this is the first requirement of “true realism. Metaphysical speculation cannot replace scientific work.” and in this monism resembles not the spirit of true realistic science at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.” Meanwhile. a history characterized by its own type of monistic conflation. aesthetic. to the conflations and distortions of monism. we obtain the totality of man’s relations to the whole. 634) The attempt results in “spiritual amputation. as it is usually understood. in an essay entitled “On the Relative and Absolute. It is the nature of the human mind. to transcend each of the relatively distinct areas of its activity and aspire to an ever higher unity. but rather the spirit of medieval theocracya frequent analogy for Kotliarevsky. 642). to false realism.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 147 tortion and conflation. To create harmonious personhood from this disharmony comprises the greatest task of Bizdung (vospitanie). Kotliarevsky argues. which are reflected in his consciousness as a worldview” (p. any more than science alone can satisfy our ideal of a transcending unity. Kotliarevsky dwells on monism as a consequence of lack of philosophical clarity about our inherent aspiration toward a worldview. but he does not mention pragmatism as a way toward self-lucidity. free of the old superstitions of metaphysics. It is already cast in terms of the pragmatic conception of truth as adequacy to the widest possible range of human experience. monism. an integral and balanced worldview requires the free expression and development of each side of our intellectual and spiritual nature. In his 1904 review essay. and ethical ideas cannot be reconciled by the criteria of empirical knowledge. and in not trying to reduce to unity the organically irreducible. But such harmony is not at all created by the artificial stretching of our nature on the Procrustean bed of monism. “In delineating the functions of the human spirit. Realism presents itself as a true worldview in its claim to be an empirical one. not as fidelity to a part which mistakes itself for the whole. (p. But an empirical worldview is an impossible contradiction. an aspiration to a worldview. is based on a false conception of human nature. for both the individual human being and the human species as a whole. Religious. for any worldview inevitably goes beyond the bounds of empirical data and includes metaphysical elements.” does he specify pragmatism as an approach that squarely faces the metaphysical needs of reason and thus brings greater self-consciousness to the task of constructing a . This is Kotliarevsky’s conception of true realism. Failure to acknowledge it leads to contraband. in giving each of them full scope for development. This aspiration is metaphysical.

This does not imply. 101). First of all. help restore the proper balance between the categories. Kotliarevsky proposes to examine these categories from the perspective of pragmatism. Without them. Pure relativism is thus an impossibility. opening the doors to the kingdom of freedom and perfect social justice (p. in religion and morality. the state itself. which does reduce religion and morality to instruments for maintaining so- .) must not be taken as absolute ends. The significance of philosophical pragmatism thus lies most of all in recollecting the root properties of our spirit” (p. we could not begin to describe consciousness itself. “to the extent that the pragmatic method flows from the deepest. One of these properties is the mind’s natural striving to find a proper balance between the relative and the absolute.” He makes this point to contrast pragmatism with utilitarianism. 105). since it would have no awareness of itself as relative.” Kotliarevsky writes. 98). could facilitate the recovery of the absolute from relativism. deny the value of specialized philosophical research. To evaluate (in the broadest sense) means to distinguish between the absolute and relative. Social and legal means must rather be sanctioned by that which is truly absolute. contains in itself at least a latent consciousness of the absolute. In this. and to the extent that any person. Kotliarevsky stresses the necessary interdependence of the two categories: they need each other to be what they are.148 Randall A. on the fact that they carry their own sanction. An integral worldview. and arrive at the equilibrium of a true realism. on religious experience. most fundamental requirements of the mind. of course. Relativism. characteristic of monistic orthodoxies. proportional representation. 100). parliamentarianism. where relative means (electoral laws. pragmatism. that the value of religion and morality consists only in their ability to provide such sanction. By making this clear. 99). we distinguish between degrees (in the sense of “more” or “less” relative): “but what could give this perspective. Pragmatism can help work philosophy into a general worldview. is a pragmatist. he suggests that the very presence of these categories is something remarkable. Even within the category of the relative. the essence of which is experience of the absolute (p. Freedom and moral life presuppose these categories (p. “depends entirely on their real value in themselves. he does see pragmatism as a way of once again bringing philosophy to bear on the most profound problems of life. etc. Poole worldview (the idea implicit in his 1910 essays). avoids the creation of false absolutes (or idols). “The value of religious-moral principles. Though Kotliarevsky does not. For Kotliarevsky. Kotliarevsky hoped. of course. in its self-consciousness about the relative and absolute. if not recognition of the absolute” (p. which Kotliarevsky thought was then enjoying great popularity. as a participant in life. pragmatism can also draw. They are basic to all experience and thought. following James. this has special relevance to social philosophy.

700). an outstanding contribution to religious history (p. acts.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 149 cia1 order (p.” p. p. Since it is the absolute which is the source of the higher significance of everything relative (which is also why nothing is merely relative). In this hint at an idealist work ethic. Here Kotliarevsky speaks of the pragmatic value of a combination of realism and idealism (p. according to James. in all branches of human activity” (p. The Distinctiveness of Religious Experience The nature of religious experience was the main subject of Kotliarevsky‘s essay “James as Religious Thinker. 103).which need to be assessed on their own terms. James was not at all afraid to recognize the relative value of what he called “medicalmaterialism. as Kotliarevsky observes. 20). 107)-the combination of an integral worldview. p.“the world of the relative must be decisively secularized. have their bases in psychology and physiology. As Kotliarevsky puts it. This should not influence our evaluation of such experiences. Religious experiences. in Kotliarevsky‘s estimation. he stresses the distinctiveness of religious experience and thus its resistance to false monistic unities. . James’s description of this state makes perfectly clear the difference between religious and ethical experiences.” But. 699. which (to be sure. everyday work does not stand on its own but is invested with higher (ultimately transcendent) purposes. conveyed in James’s famous definition (which Kotliarevsky quotes) of religion as “the feelings. the relative must not be made into its own absolute. James’s analysis of these conversion experiences comprises. Kotliarevsky suggests that in the light of the absolute. Keeping the right balance between the relative and the absolute can also inspire our everyday work. 698. Throughout the essay. so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine” (“Jamesas Religious Thinker. in the spiritual state called saintliness.” Here he pursues the argument that Jamesian psychology of religion expands the concept of experience beyond positivistic limits. This distinctiveness is largely the result of the individuality of religious experience. freed from the conflation of spiritualia and temporalia. 106). 34). and experiences of individual men in their solitude. VRE. as does all mental life. politics and the social sphere. Paul by explaining his vision on the road to Damascus as an epileptic seizure (p. It is this distinctiveness that Kotliarevsky wants to emphasize. he thought such materialists were naive in imagining that they dispense with St. The sanctioning power of the absolute comes from its greater degree of autonomy over the relative. VRE. The mystery of conversion consists not in the psychological process behind the experience but in the result. between exalted inspiration and Kant’s categorical imperative (p. not quite in medieval form) so often comes back to life in science and art. 701).

“in the final account the truth of religion depends on whether consciousness in its prayerful state is deceptive or not” (p.”as James wrote. This type of testimony against reductive positivism was what Kotliarevsky and Lopatin most valued in James. . he highlights the exceptional importance of religion in American society and democracy. In this Kotliarevsky suggests an association among pragmatism. incomprehensible to old Europe. VRE. he shows how James drew on the American tradition of “distinctive religious syncretism” (Kotliarevsky sees Ralph Waldo Emerson and . The essence of religious experience is prayer. “It clears the barriers which stand before the creative energy of the believer” (p. 367). 708-709). . shows a surprising capacity to harmoniously fit the new environment of mutual tolerance and social cooperation” (pp. an important topic to which we will return. “These traits have made possible a development of tolerance. 710-71 1). p. Jamesian radical empiricism. and so ultimately of philosophy.Even Catholicism . he did not neglect the basic question of all religious philosophy: on what is the recognition of religious truth based? Kotliarevsky dwells on his answer: mystical experience determines religious truth (p. . “Therefore. The individuality of religious experience makes it invulnerable to science and opens it to ultimate reality. 338). than is any dialectic. But there is a certain unity in this diversity. 715). 707. p. as an astute student of religion in society. The relevant test is a pragmatic one. PU.p. James’s argument (which I outlined in connection with Lopatin) impressed Kotliarevsky (pp. was interested in James’s place within the historical context of religious life in America. The most striking characteristic of American religious life is its great diversity. .18Rationalism and intellectualism. l 9 Referring to Alexis de Tocqueville and James Bryce. through which we enter into communion with the spiritual world. . but this certainty is subjective.150 Randall A. James himself linked the “great awakening of a new popular interest in philosophy” to religious demands. “Yet. do not have immediate access to reality. Meanwhile. cf. in an atmosphere of indestructible moral unity.” Kotliarevsky writes. 142). and liberalism. Mystical states are absolutely authoritative for those who have them. abstract and symbolic. pluralism. James’s pragmatic approach to religion strives for criteria of truth based on unimpeded receptivity to the fullest range of experience. Poole For all the pragmatic value James attached to saintliness. In A Pluralistic Universe. is a more natural ally of religion. 706-707. Kotliarevsky notes. Kotliarevsky. especially in their defense of the autonomy of philosophy. “the existence of mystical states absolutely overthrows the pretension of nonmystical states to be the sole and ultimate dictators of what we may believe” (VRE. and here it cannot be denied that prayer releases energy that causes real changes in the world. which only constricts the scope of experience (pp. not least of all because the dogmatic element is overshadowed by the moral and social influence of religion on the country. 705).

William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 151 William Ellery Channing as two of the greatest representatives of this syncretism). but rather the presence of the infinite in the finite (“James as Religious Thinker. religion belonged to the sphere of practical. “Pragmatism and the Problem of Tolerance. who opposed intellectualism as the path “leading to the greatest distortion of religion. Although firmly rooted in American society and culture. “which apparently must be recognized as the most significant and outstanding phenomenon in contemporary religious life” (p. the emphasis within this tradition on morality at the expense of dogma does not mean poverty of religious experience.” pp. and entertain the idea of the immanence of the natural and supernatural. First. 713-714). Kotliarevsky compares James to Albrecht Benjamin Ritschl. but it was his own “incomparable psychological insight” that enabled him clearly to distinguish religious from purely moral experiences. James had a mastery of European religious-philosophical thought. But most of all Kotliarevsky likes to compare James to Catholic modernism. not knowledge. which can only be a matter of faith. representatives of the spirit of free thought in Christianity.” For Ritschl. Among major contemporary religious thinkers. America could teach James about the social-pragmatic function of religion. strive to make immediate internal experience the basis of faith. His proximity to the Unitarians. But it preserves its autonomy as a perfectly distinctive experience” (p. As we know. and in this Kotliarevsky suggests he took a step in the direction of the pragmatic interpretation of religion (p. James’s deep interest in mysticism helped convince him of this distinctiveness. Thinkers like Edouard Le Roy and Maurice Blonde1 might understand better than anyone the religious potential in pragmatism (pp. did not. 377). Kotliarevsky also refers to Ritschl in his earlier essay. and in the defense of the autonomous content of religion outside that sphere (p. 713). not theoretical. But then James’s appreciation of the diversity of religious experience reflected the overall harmony of American religious culture. and even here lies the highest guarantee of its truth. Like James. Another comparison he draws is to Friedrich Schleiermacher. Modernists seek to reconcile the authoritarian spirit of the church with the rights of individual self-determination and modern cultural values. 712). Kotliarevsky continues. 7 14). reason.” where his great service is said to have consisted in the attempt to establish the limits of the sphere legitimately belonging to rationalism. they reject dogmatic intellectualism. “Faith is capable of being a source of enormous moral energy and of fruitful work in the transformation of the surrounding world. interpret church dogma in a symbolic sense. lessen his intimate understanding of the stern mysticism of the Puritans. who sensed in the diversity of religious experience not the slightest diminution of faith. 714-715). Kotliarevsky re- .

The opposite danger is fanaticism. But it provides a very different basis for the defense of tolerance than do skepticism and nihilism.152 Randall A. The superiority of truth over error is obvious (apart from the fact that rarely do fanatics possess even this superiority). in Kotliarevsky‘s words. the golden mean between them (p.” Kotliarevsky proclaims in “Pragmatism and Tolerance” (p. Kotliarevsky says. George Tyrrell. not of plain indifference to them. exclude a uniformity of experiences. providing no criteria for the superiority of one truth-claim over another. which no longer leaves a place for respect for the spiritual freedom of others” (p. 372). which he repeats at the end of this essay. “where freedom of thought. a solidarity arising from this uniformity. . The “incorrect evaluation”consists. Pragmatism removes the ground from intolerance in the case of both skepticism and fanaticism. of course. 101-102).” The point of comparison here is to the individuality of religious experience that James describes. He thinks (or hopes) it is still too early to predict the outcome of the struggle between modernism and Pope Pius X. Kotliarevsky insisted. Truth. but in any event he believes that modernists such as Le Roy. 379). as a natural right of the human person. Skepticism. and Alfred Loisy have already written a “brilliant chapter in the history of contemporary religious thought” (p. Error is a l l too easily transformed into moral and social heresy. or. finally.where intolerance is the result. This individualism does not at all lead to the complete religious atomization of society. 373). Kotliarevsky refers to Dostoevsky‘s “Legend of the Grand Inquisitor” to show that in itself skepticism does not provide favorable ground for tolerance. Liberalism “Pragmatism is first of all a call to tolerance. And in “Pragmatism and the Problem of Tolerance. “In this is the special psychological danger of monism” (p. a feeling of profound tolerance toward differences and the form of their expression. 379). This is an important point for Kotliarevsky. Nor does it. does not represent any special value” (pp. “Disbelief in objective truth can very easily turn into complete contempt for it. Poole turns to the parallel between James and modernism in his 1912 essay“0n the Relative and the Absolute.” Kotliarevsky declares that modernists are kindred in spirit to pragmatists and advocates of tolerance in a milieu-Catholicism-not known for these principles. with which pragmatism is often associated. but it does not follow that someone who is in error is also wicked. leads to sheer indifference. It is. in attributing the forces of good to truth and the forces of evil to error. “Catholic modernists hope to create from this solidarity and tolerance a new bond among members of the church” (pp. 369). of an incorrect evaluation of truth and error. Tolerance. 378-379).

370). in particular). In “James as Religious Thinker. They did not provide enough space for the emergence of the spiritual premises of a viable democracy. This principle is not limited to church and state. Catholicism was Kotliarevsky’s favorite example. promotes tolerance? First. which he calls an undoubted fact of contemporary spiritual life (p. Like several of his Psychological Society colleagues (Pave1Novgorodtsev and the brothers Sergei and Evgenii Trubetskoy. in other words. higher spiritual values (“Pragmatism and Tolerance. an important principle of neoidealist social philosophy in the Moscow Psychological Society. With this we have the foundation stones underlying what can be called Kotliarevsky’s pragmatic defense of liberalism. 710-712). To support this connection. the reverse side of theocracy (Kotliarevsky‘s usual image). the rebirth and free development of which required a pluralistic separation of church and state. 716). One of these spiritual values is the absolute worth and dignity of the human person. the (personalist) cornerstone of the liberal worldview. especially in America (“James as Religious Thinker.” pp. His argument for a pragmatically based tolerance is clearly that pragmatism esteems dynamic spiritual life (as skepticism does not). in this sense. and religion. 370). We have seen how this principle .” p. they are relatively autonomous parts of a whole in which each has its own place. on freedom of conscience. according to Kotliarevsky. and that it is diverse religious experience that. philosophy. Monistic forms of religion were. so respect for them increasingly commits one to tolerance and freedom of conscience. for example). engenders respect for truth and. illiberal. Freedom of conscience concisely formulated the idea of respect for the autonomy of parts that enables the balanced and integrated development of the whole. one cannot be substituted for any of the others. as Kotliarevsky puts it.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 153 What is the actual positive link between Jamesian pragmatism and tolerance? What is the pragmatic basis of the respect for truth which. where it took on broad meaning. The prospects of Russian liberalism depended. Kotliarevsky believes that the best allies of tolerance are religious inspiration and living faith. in turn. These spheres are legitimate in their own domain. but extends to the various distinct spheres of human consciousness and experience (science. Kotliarevsky was convinced that liberalism grew from the demands of religious consciousness and that a liberal civic culture had its foundations in free spiritual life.” p. he draws on the historical development of tolerance (“Pragmatism and Tolerance. but he clearly had Russia in mind as well. Subordination of church to state in modern Russian history was its own type of monism. It had led to the atrophy of religious life. These values emerge from the process of free interplay in a pluralistic diversity of religious experience.” he sees every possibility for the establishment of an “authentic tolerance” in the growing diversity of religious experience.

the Divine. Russia was experiencing. (pp. the ultimate source of respect for liberal values. through infinitely many paths.” p. as could be seen even in the readership James has found in Russia. “But then what remains is faith in human nature.154 Randall A. Describing the type of religious consciousness that promotes the development and deepening of liberalism. After the Revolution of 1905. he thought.” It was this outlook which attracted Kotliarevsky and his colleagues. which can indeed move mountains” (“James as Religious Thinker. “decrepit [ obvetshalyi]”) form (p. 718). in fact.” It is impossible to imagine without religion.forging a link between the terrestrial and celestial.” He stressed the autonomization of religion in particular from false monistic unities because the religious sphere was. 126-127 It is not surprising that the author of these lines had a special appreciation for the author of The Varieties of Religious Experience. at the same time. sufficiently rich in creative force. so long dormant in Russian society. Kotliarevsky defined James’s main strength in his fearlessness before life. as Kotliarevsky saw it. which is capable of ascending.” p. with its infinite diversity and also its infinite possibilities. at the edge of which he stands. Religious interests. to generate an infinite diversity of symbols and forms. not monistic imposition from above. as Kotliarevsky emphasizes in another essay. 716)?l This faith is the spiritual basis of democracy.20But “it cannot be regretted enough” that these religious searching run up against the “fatal mistake”-of which Kotliarevsky apparently found the Russian church most guilty-of failing to distinguish between the eternal and its relative (he said. “The Premises of Democracy” (1905). Notes The author wishes to express special thanks to George Kline for his assistance with this chapter. a national renaissance. He wondered. “to the realization of which man is called by the feeling of his link with a higher world. The spiritualization of human lifehere is the true premise of the principle of the “kingdom of freedom. . were beginning to awaken. An integral religious unity can be achieved only through pluralistic diversity. concluding his remarks before the Psychological Society. he writes there: Its binding force consists in the feelings of piety and worship that are inherent in man before the Unfathomable. 719). 7 19). whether the necessary spiritual basis was being created for this renaissance (“James as Religious Thinker. And these feelings are sufficiently powerful. Poole underlies Kotliarevsky‘s critique of “false realism.“for in it we sense the germs of faith. to the divine” (p. Five years later.

A Revolution of the Spirit. His major work is the two-volume Polozhitel’nye zadachifilosofii (The Positive Task of Philosophy) (1886 and 1891). Sergei N. 62 (1902): 1031-1090. 10. On Ern’s paper. 5. [kn. Schiller’s Studies in Humanism). 38 (1897): 486-534. He became a member of the Psychological Society in 1898. 11. Chelpanov took a very active role in the PsychologicalSociety after 1907. pp. see Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak. 9. for example.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 155 1. 2. 6. 7. The second unit of his Introduction to Philosophy bears the title. 63-80. He was a member of the central committee of the Constitutional-Democratic (Kadet)party and was elected to the First State Duma. that the ontological basis of all reality . Poole. especially pp. Positive Tasks. Balaban was not a significant figure in the PsychologicalSociety (the overview was his only essay to appear in the journal). He became coeditor of its journal in 1894 and editor in 1905. where he was to serve as professor and chair of philosophy until 1923. Krupp industries of Essen were major suppliers of German armanents. 1976). Chelpanov states. 321 (1896): 264-298. presumably with a view to preparing readers for the more interpretive essays which were to follow. S. though its origins and appropriatenesshave been disputed. pp. Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal and Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak. Marian Schwartz (NewYork. On the Moscow Psychological Society.” 8. See Omry Ronen. He played a leading role in the Russian Liberation Movement. delivered in 1914. University of Notre Dame. “The Ontological Problem. mostly famous cannons. C. his “Spiritualizm kak psikhologicheskaia gipoteza” (Spiritualism as a Psychological Hypothesis) VFP 8: 3. Trubetskoi: An Intellectual among the Intelligentsia in Prerevolutionary Russia (Belmont. kn. and RandallA. for the section entitled. and the rule-of-law state and foreign policy (1909). trans. 362. Kotliarevsky defended four dissertations at Moscow University: on the Franciscans (1901). He also lectured at the Higher Women’s Courses (1908-1917). “The concept of substance and the concept of causation in the strict sense of the word. 1990). In 1912 he established the Institute of Psychology at Moscow University. 1885-1922” (Ph. 4.” and includes a chapter on spiritualism. 3.D. He often criticized the idea. see Scherrer. “Poniatie o dushe PO dannym vnutrennego opyta” (The Concept of the Soul on the Evidence of Inner Experience) VFP 7: 2. “The Moscow Psychological Society and the Neo-Idealist Development of Russian Liberalism. In 1909. 213-224. Crisis of Value in Russia. 11. upon his move from Kiev to Moscow University. 1996). which culminated in the Revolution of 1905. pp. eds. However.. In 1909 Questions of Philosophy and Psychology published an overview (see Balaban) of pragmatism (focusing on James’s Pragmatism and F. Lev Mikhailovich Lopatin was the senior philosophy professor in the Psychological Society. 1997). 338-340. he became professor of state law at Moscow University. The term “Silver Age” has been widely adopted as a term of convenience. kn. dissertation. in the form of his own conclusions. He became deputy chair of the Psychological Society in 1909. that the self is substantial. p. Also see. constitutional law (1907). Mass. see Meyers. Lamennais and modern Catholicism (1904). 1890-1924. (The Method of Introspection in Psychology) “Metod samonabliudeniia v psikhologii” VFP 13: 2. 16-22. The Fallacy of the SilverAge in Twentieth-Century Russian Literature (Amsterdam..

13. He wrote there that the inevitability of metaphysical suppositions needs to be acknowledged and justified.” pp. distorting it on an unconscious level and preventing clear and precise discourse. 67). The free struggle with evil was the source of the “ethics of human dignity. Overcoming evil and cosmic dualism was the goal of human activity. M. 16-18). “On the Relation of Psychology to Philosophy.” adduced James’s understanding of religious experience in support of pluralism. 18. is a type of monism (cf. “Survey. According to Korelina (p. James. 333. 17. By “religious searchings” he likely referred to the God-building (bogostroitelstvo) movement within Bolshevism. 391-394). James’s Principles ofpsychology was listed here among recent psychological works that assume the existence of the soul. optimism and pessimism were equally untenable monisms. . The conclusion to his essay.” a review essay of Henri Bargy. Khvostov (1868-1920) was the main Russian representative of pluralism in metaphysics. 19. argued that the soul is an inevitable concept in psychology. 434). 1902). 12. Lopatin appears to have introduced the concept in the first volume of The Positive Tasks of Philosophy.” Chelpanov defined psychology as the science of the soul.” pp. Here and above Kotliarevskii apparently meant the Marxist ideology underlying the “Russian Social-Democrat Workers Party” of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Lopatin was himself attracted to “spiritism” and participated in seances. so conceived (Khvostov.156 Randall A. La religion duns la socittt aux Ihts-Unis (Paris. 70-73. and to lies” (Positive Tasks. Chelpanov made the straightforward argument that unity of consciousness and identity of self presuppose substantiality (pp. Every case of lack of consciousness in the scholarly (nauchnyi) sphere leads only to confusion of concepts. 320-321. to ambiguity. and that spiritualism. “a purely American genius. “Urgent Tasks. 14. 16. V. as does part of his discussion of immortality (p. pp.” the substantiality of the soul is the defining criterion of spiritualism (3 19). I. In his “Survey of Contemporary Theories of the Soul. Lopatin’s spiritualistic monism) (198-200). . . “The Pluralist Worldview. but the outcome was not predetermined. and criticized the recent “psychology without a soul” movement (without mentioning James).” was discussed in connection with his ideas on the relationship between society and the individual (pp. 116). Kotliarevsky mistakenly placed this passage in The Varieties ofReligious Experience. Poole is spiritual and comprised of monads. so conceived.. metaphysical ideas can figure in thought only as contraband. “Why not call things by their names?” Otherwise.” as Khvostov entitled one of his books ( 19 12). 31 7-3 19). appropriately enough. Chelpanov also outlined James’s argument (which denies personal identity) in “Survey. His account clearly draws on James (without mentioning him). Since these forces were in themselves irrational.” p. In another essay. which he took to mean the reality of good and evil as cosmic forces. His first essay in Questions of Philosophy and Psychology was. “Is it desirable to perpetuate such contraband of reason? . 15. “Religion in American Society.

Aleksandr. for James. he called James’s tendency toward polytheism a “strange admission. The Principles ofPsychology]. kn. . 5 (1890): kn. 709-7 10). . Kotliarevsky gave this example in another essay. The Principles of Psychology]. 75 (1904): 624-644. VFP 1. [Review of William James. M.M. Grot. Ia. kn. . kn. “Za piat’desiat let” (Vospominaniia o L. L’vu Mikhailovichu Lopatinu k tridtsatiletiiu nauchno-pedagogicheskoi deiatel’nosti. VFP 3: kn. “Dzhems. Lopatin]). kn. . . 89 (1907): 309-323. VFP 24: 4. kn. “Ob istinnom i mnimom realizme” (On True and False Realism). Moscow. kak psikholog (James as Psychologist).” VFP 21: 4.” probably a symbol of his aversion to monism (pp. Voprosyfilosofii no. The essay argued that. kak religioznyi myslitel” (James as Religious Thinker). Filosofskii sbornik. 11 (1993): 115-121. M. 119 (1913): 313-338. kn. “0 zadachakh zhurnala” (On the Tasks of the Journal). 11 Khvostov. VFP 22: 4. . Kotliarevsky. 1 (1889): V-XX. “Eshche o zadachakh zhurnala” (More on the Tasks of the Journal). “Pragmatizm (Pragmatism). VFP 11: 2. 104 (1910): 437-456. since 1905.” VFP 20: 4. N. 105 (1910): 697-719. 99 (1909): 574-618. N. especially in the waning of utopianism (the reference to James is on p. N. kn. 97-107. “The Philosophy of the End. kn. VFP 21: 3. VFP 2: 1. “Pliuralisticheskoe miroponimanie” (The Pluralistic World View). Korelina. VFP 15: 5. . Ot Moskovskogo Psikhologicheskogo Obshchestva. . 6 (1891): i-vi. Vvedenie vfilosofiiu (Introduction to Philosophy). Works Cited (“ VFP” designates Voprosyfilosofii i psikhologii.“Ocherk sovremennykh uchenii o dushe” (Survey of Contemporary Theories of the Soul). 21. 109 (1911): 361-394. I. VFP 18: 4. VFP 21: 5. . Trubetskoi’s two-volume study of Vladimir Solovyov (1913).“Dzhems. G. kn. 1881-191 1. 52 (1900): 287-333.William James in the Moscow Psychological Society 157 20. Lopatine) (Twenty-Five Years [Reminiscences of L. VFP 2: 2. Kiev. Chelpanov. 89-90. (1892): 69-76. 1912. Russia had been on the path of genuine cultural reorientation. kn. S. “Pragmatizm i problema terpimosti” (Pragmatism and the Problem of Tolerance). “Ob otnoshenii psikhologii k filosofii” (On the Relation of Psychology to Philosophy). Pp. [Reviewof William James. P.” a review of E. “Filosofiia kontsa” (The Philosophy of the End).) Balaban. 318). A. Kotliarevsky denied that. V. this aspiration to unity with the divine has anything to do with identity of substance. kn. 1907. . In this connection. 103 (1910): 368-379.“Ob otnositel’nom i absoliutnom” (On the Relative and the Absolute). .

159-174. “Monizm i pliuralizm” (Monism and Pluralism). . VFP 16: 2. The Hague: Mouton. VFP 24: 1. Scherrer.. Oblast’ umozritel’nykh voprosov (The Sphere of Speculative Questions). Moscow. Translated by George L. kn. Shein. Moscow. 1986. Zenkovsky. Conn. A History of Russian Philosophy. 103 (1910): 263-305. . ed. VFP 23: 5. V. Pp. M. Polozhitel’nye zadachi filosofii (The Positive Tasks of Philosophy). 1886). “Predposylki demokratii” (The Premises of Democracy). N. . VFP 21: kn. An English translation of this essay can be found in Readings in Russian Philosophical Thought. Myers. Kline. . L. New Haven. 71 (1904): 1-33. VFP28: 1. 191 1 (1st ed. Also published in VFP21: 3. Zakon prichinnoi sviazi. kak osnova umozritel’nogo znaniia deistvitel’nosti (The Law of Causality as the Basis of Speculative Knowledge of Reality). 1891. Vinogradov. Die Entwicklung des religiosen Selbstverstandnisses ihrer Intelligencija-Mitglieder ( 1 901-1 917). kn. Berlin. 2d.kn. VFP 15: 1. Gerald E. “Neotlozhnye zadachi sovremennoi mysli” (Urgent Tasks of Contemporary Thought). . . D. 1973.: Yale University Press. 1910. Polozhitel’nye zadachi filosofii (The Positive Tasks of Philosophy). 115 (1912): 435-471. Jutta. ed. 2. 1968. . 136 (1917): 1-80.V. William James. His Life and Thought. Die Petersburger religios-philosophische Vereinigungen. 103 (1910): 249-262. Moscow. Poole . Lopatin. “Spiritualizm. kn. kn. 77 (1905): 104-127. 2. 1. Nastoiashchee i budushchee filosofii (The Present and Future of Philosophy). 116 (1913): 68-92. kak monisticheskaia sistema filosofii” (Spiritualism as a Monistic System of Philosophy).158 Randall A. Louis J. kn. “Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk deiatel’nosti Moskovskogo Psikhologicheskogo Obshchestva za 25 let” (A Brief Historical Sketch of the Moscow Psychological Society’s Activity over Twenty-Five Years). 1953. “Religiia v amerikanskom obshchestve” (Religion in American Society). Vol. New York Columbia University Press.

Things 1903. and D.159- I . It is of fundamental importance. S. 18661938) is one of the most prominent philosophers twentieth-century Russia has produced. Nietzsche). as well. Great Vigils. pp. Blaise Pascal. 1939.Lev Shestov’s James: “A Knight of Free Creativity” Brian Horowitz 1911 THE PHILOSOPHER LEVSHFSTOV. In his own time his writings were praised by Lucien Levy-Bruhl. and Afiny i Ierusalem (Athens and Jerusalem). this key essay has been bypassed by critical regard. 291-314). Tolstogo i F. Shestov sets forth the fundamental paradigm that he would employ over the next two decades in his interpretations of St. For in analyzing aspects of the thought of William James. 1902. D. already known for his writings on Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Among the most famous are: Dobro v uchenii gr. Tertullian. Sejren Kierkegaard. Nitssche (The Good in the Teaching of Count Tolstoy and F. “Logika religioznogo tvorchestva (Pamiati Villiiama Dzhemsa)” (The Logic of Religious Creativity [In Memory of William James]) is one of the seminal essays in the early reception of James in Russia (Shestov. in signalling a key idea that would recur in Shestov’s works. Lev Shestov (Lev Shvartsman. Lawrence. The reason for this acclaim comes from the books of philosophical inquiry written from 1898 until his death. Martin Buber.Apofeoz bezpochvennosti (Opyt adogmaticheskogo myshleniia) (All Are Possible: An Experiment in Adogmatic Thinking). William Barrett. N . H. Na vesakh lova (In Job‘s Balances). Dostoevskii i Nitsshe (filosofiia tragedii) (Dostoevsky and Nietzsche: The Philosophy of Tragedy). and Edmund Husserl. registered the death of his esteemed American colleague William James. Martin Luther. 1905. and other religious leaders and thinkers. For all the attention that Shestov’s critical writings have received. 1929. Since his death he has been celebrated by Albert Camus. Mirsky. Paul.

character interested him” ( 1:113). These seemed like perfect days in his life. the philosopher’s daughter. it should be a free and creative description of the individual’s search for his own religious salvation. who wanted to “dethrone” abstract reason from its privileged position in Western culture. death. I should have waited until the whole thing was finished (Quoted in BaranoffChestov 1: 101). 1:112). expressing the conviction that only faith can provide answers to the most vital questions facing individuals: the meaning of life. did not satisfy you at all. the volume of essays in which the article on James appeared. It would have had meaning and significance. and parapsychology. perhaps. in the oeuvre of each philosopher one finds a receptivity to such varied kinds of cognition as mystical experience. in francophone Switzerland.Shestov himself spoke of the tremendous import of the volume. he lamented that he published it at all. Shestov took logic and its use in Western philosophy as his primary target of disdain. and artistic creation. . philosophy should not consist of a group of abstract propositions the aim of which is to be universally valid in all places at all times. often entertaining friends from Russia. It was written at a pivotal time. In a letter of May 1909 to his parents. since he considered the ideas therein to be merely the seeds of future work rather than finished ideas realized in their own right. as it was taking shape in the early years of this century. In his view. they both were committed anti-Kantians. . madness. Finally. since he lived in comfort with his family in a ten-room villa. . There cannot be any doubt as to the significance in Shestov’s intellectual evolution of Great Vigils. Natalia Baranoff-Chestov. Shestov was attracted to James most likely because he saw underlying affinities between his own thought and James’s. rather. I understand that you mean that [it] did not fully satisfy you or. Furthermore. You are probably right. Both were attracted to existentialism. . Shestov was in Coppet. when he was about to engage entirely new philosophical concerns. that I should write less. had the other parts been ready. Yet the idyll was broken by two key events of the period: the death of Leo Tolstoy and that of William James (Baranoff-Chestov. For example. rather than a philosophical. He wrote: “Regarding your comment about Glreat] Vligils]. intuition. . . when he wrote his essay on James. but for different reasons. He explored the relations of ideas to reality. . After all. it is the beginning of a larger work.160 Brian Horowitz In his works Shestov led a sustained attack on positivist philosophy and the idea that reason alone could provide answers to metaphysical questions. writes in her two-volume biography of her father: “[GreatVigils]completes the first period of Shestov’s creativity. love. when questions primarily of a literary. and both were sensitive to the importance of subjective experience as a primary source of knowledge.

. While philosophy.Lev Shestov’s James: ‘2Knight of Free Creativity” 161 Shestov’s essay on James. absolute definition. Shestov claims. but aligns itself with the subjective and unverifiable. concentrates solely on The Varieties of Religious Experience and Pragmatism. 293). Shestov asserts a belief in a supernatural power that decides the fate of all individuals. He begins his examination by posing a general question: how should religious faith be defined? Should one base its validity on irrational and ineffable experience.E. Contrary to commonly held notions. faith is infinite in possibilities. Paradoxically. to the prior question about the essence of religious faith. Therefore. and certainty.. results from a personal revelation or spiritual transformation. Shestov mentions. In fact. “Was he an enemy of science? No doubt about that either. The history of philosophy knows many Thaleses. religion and philosophy are antagonistic.. this faith in such a power provides no readily apparent utility and thus results in making a person . for example. for the fundamental problem concerns the relation of religion to philosophy. philosophy’s Adam” (p. faith does the opposite. 292-293). In Shestov’s discussion. Faith. 291). or should one rely on rational arguments? Leaving aside for a moment the answer to that question. the answer to the issue of James’s preference for science or religion lies not in a psychological investigation of James himself. Turning to William James as to an ally. or even theology. the individual’s urge toward universal intelligibility. In Shestov’s view. while philosophy offers one truth for everyone. however. Shestov asks about James himself: “What was he? A scientist? No doubt about it. the final one in this collection.c.Was he a believer? It appears so: one would be hard put to find among contemporary scholars anyone else who would strive with such passionate intensity to break through the limits placed on acceptable interests by positive philosophy. But this was merely an illusion. nor in a study of his ideas. He writes that in the Middle Ages “philosophy was the servant of theology. and verifiable laws. Shestov claims that “if [James] were asked what the fundamental flaw of all philosophical and theological constructs might be. But the Greek philosopher (640-546 B.” But he quickly counters. rather than reign and govern. It does not strive to be universal. Thales represents reason. Thales committed philosophy’s original sin by attempting to find a universal source of being” (pp. he would probably reply: their incessant striving to force all of life to submit to a single idea. Against the omnipotence of reason. it takes us farther afield. religion itself swore a vassal’s oath of unconditional fidelity-to none other than that same Thales. the medieval philosophers who staged the defeat of faith by surrendering it to philosophy’s control. objective. But sworn defenders of positive religion have considered him to be an atheist” (p. Rather.) was not alone in his error. attempts to discover universal.

Paul asks. Shestov sees a reliance on reason in Paul. and utility). Shestov emphasizes the opposition between reason and faith.e. Recall Socrates before his judges. with objective truth? Are the dead resurrected or are they not? And. most important for us here. successful proselytizers chose utility over useless faith. while joining wisdom with universality. For example. if the dead are not resurrected. Nevertheless. Setting James aside briefly. intimate and continuous search for self-knowledge. (pp. the parallel between Paul and Socrates inheres in their need for a firm. In Christian history. food and drink could in no way seduce or tempt him. What should one do with auctoritar (authority) and ratio (reason). in fact. and eternally valid philosophy. that is. whose attitude to logic he describes as analogous to that of Socrates. he was convinced that in either case the good remains the good. In Shestov’s view. or change. spreading religion with the help of wisdom. while their faith had its original source in an irrational and unverifiable personal experience. he considers such belief to be humanity’s most elevated spiritual act. he would have abandoned his lofty mission and surrendered to the pleasures of the body.162 Brian Horowitz feel insecure and anxious. had he not trusted in resurrection. It is impossible to argue with him-impossible and unnecessary. but he did not refute the alternative. even in light of altered circumstances. wisdom and madness (aligning religious faith with madness. logic. using impersonal. he would not have fought the wild animals. abstract arguments in their proselytizing. Perhaps. He considers both to be disciples of Thales: What utility. They could not tolerate doubt. on this one point alone they would be irreconcilable. he claims. only one is true-either the dead are resurrected or they are not. Paul was certain resurrection is assured. In this connection.. Socrates admitted the possibility of the soul’s immortality. on one point Socrates would likely have agreed with St. from a singular. fear. If the apostle Paul were to encounter Socrates. Tertullian. and Martin Luther relinquished the particularity of revelation for the universality of reason. immutable. 298-299) For Shestov. i. faith emerges from experience. while religious faith creates the opposite: insecurity. He claims that. and despair. Moreover. or. as he puts it here. not everyone reasons in this manner-far from it. However. . Shestov continues his discussion of faith and reason by disclosing the hidden rationalism of the greatest Christian leaders. while Socrates held that the good rests unchanged for eternity. it is reason that engenders this feeling of security and comfort. Tertium non datur (No third choice is given)-Thus Thales would have received his due in full by both the greatest of the pagans and the greatest of the Christians. Paul: of the two statements. Paul. Nevertheless. objectivity. Perhaps. diffidence. was there in struggling with the beasts in Ephesus. had he learned that with death we cease to exist. insecurity.

as forming ‘religions. the dichotomies of faith and reason. which is a basic premise of The Varieties of Religious Experience. He poses the problem this way: “Living human truth is contaminated and perishes in the atmosphere of pluralism (mnozhestvennost’). he interprets faith and utility as a conflict between the individual and society. as madness. for which society will take revenge by isolating and ridiculing that person. a positive intellectual content is associated with a faith-state. and this explains the passionate loyalty of religious persons everywhere to the minutest details of their so widely differing creeds. he defines any deviation away from reason. even faith. James preferred utility and therefore repudiated his apotheosis of faith. 398-399). Shestov apparently considered him above this dichotomy. do not hold. While acknowledging James’s good intentions. Taking creeds and faith-state together. for James. 310). Shestov identifies religion with madness. Rather. or to remain true to itself and to be rejected by mankind as ‘madness”’ (p. “the gnosiological teaching” of pragmatism and contends that the ideas in Pragmatism clash with those found in The Varieties of Religious Experience. on account of their extraordinary influence upon action and endurance. In Shestov’s view. Taking his cue from Romanticism. thus ceasing to be itself. to class them amongst the most important biological functions of mankind” (pp. he believes that what we call reason rarely occurs. a concept he contrasts with utility. 3 11). madness has . Just as faith and reason are not in conflict for James.” by “refuting the ideal of the rationalists and speaking with contempt about the tasks set by positive philosophy” (p. however.Lev Shestov’s James: ‘X Knight of Free Creativity” 163 Returning now to James. since the two become integrated to create belief or conviction. Social nonconformity or madness for James is not an inherent element of faith. For James. since all rational thought is buttressed by emotions and nonrational religious faith. individual and society. The argument on the origin of religion in The Varieties of Religious Experience underscores this unity: “When. Rather. . madness and utility. we are obliged. He calls this desire for utility. confronted with the choice between power without faith (utility) or faith without power (madness). While both agree that humans possess a distinct religious need. .’ . so too madness and utility and the individual and society are not antipodes. In addition. Claiming that society is organized by a rational doctrine. He admired the American’s attempt to overcome “the opposition between madness and wisdom. as it is for Shestov. faith is not in conflict with reason. Shestov here switches sides. Truth must choose between two alternatives: either to rule over the people and for that purpose to conform to ‘societal’demands. complaining that James actually forged a path similar to his rationalist predecessors when he valorized usefulness and practical value in religious experience. it gets invincibly stamped in upon belief. Shestov’s view of madness differs radically from James’s.

Nevertheless. James would not have agreed with Shestov’sview that utility is the opposite of faith/madness. “The sceptics did not desire to recognize any single theory. Shestov accused him of returning to the established philosophical tradition. any single truth. He also would have protested Shestov’s assertion that the idea of utility. and they disputed the right of those who hold any convictions whatsoever. And he raised these selective. European. prompting him to reject madness. James has a different idea of utility from Shestov. influences revealed themselves. of complying with accepted intellectual norms. Shestov accused James of inconsistency. of his idea of “madness. They allowed only themselves to be right. And the beginning had much promise. and not as a sign of submission to society. if you will. and therefore is associated with the pluralistic essence of “truth and “faith-utility coheres with faith. for definite. . (p. Rather. Shestov describes the influences operative on James as follows: Let a person freely create. But James did not call himself a student of [John Stuart] Mill by chance. “[James] began to sort ‘madness’ into categories and departments and selected only those that were socially useful. and encouraging him to defend social utility. and good. too. which serves as the premise of pragmatism. 42). assignable reasons” (p. from the very start he set off with the idea that he would create a finished theory of knowledge that would subordinate public opinion and become universally accepted and obligatory. which frightened the American. would not give in. a knight of free creativity. and each creative act is always its own justification. For example in Pragmatism he writes. I say. useful madnesses to the rank of truth. society’s acknowledgement. is in contradiction with the idea of faith in The Varieties ofReligious Experience. “The true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief. logical and gnosiological limits have no basis in reality-this is how James began. 3 11). led a vicious battle against the dogmatists. . obligatory” theory of h o w l edge.164 Brian Horowitz clinical and legal implications. James considers utility as an essential value of selfhood. attributing his contradictions to the influence of an English tradition.The same old story was repeated” (p. In the final analysis. 31 1-312). not realizing it himself. Anglo-Saxon. . James yet demanded approval.” In other words. 31 1) Lamenting James’s desire to create a “universal. themselves dogmatic. . would not return to the old positions. Taking utility as a positive affirmation of subjectivity. Furthermore. referring to types of antisocial behavior. such as criminality. utility in Jamesian terms refers to individual conscience and choice. they permitted only themselves to theorize” (pp. It seemed that James would not yield. He compared James’s simultaneous employment and criticism of positivism to the procedures of the ancient sceptics. who.

but failing. 245). however. Unable to translate his personal vision into reality. Similarly. verifiable truth and common sense. There was no choice there-one had to accept darkness as the natural condition of existence. Shestov writes: “Luther was carried to those extreme limits of human life where the brightest light of reason was not strong enough clearly to illumine the outline of a new reality. Luther descended from the spiritual or heavenly realm down to the earthly. in a word. who proclaim. “Luther himself created the teaching (doctrina). the themes are the same as those outlined in the article on James: the utility of universal reason versus the madness of the individual’s search for truth.Lev Shestov’s James: ‘2Knight of Free Creativity” 165 The paradigm of a thinker trying. always and to everyone-is doomed either to experience eternal disappointment or to live with illusions: all embodied truths are only embodied delusions. For example. would recur in Shestov’s writings after Great Vigils. that there is no faith without authority” (p. Here. also written largely between 1910 to 1914. relying on an intense emotional revelation. to seize it with his rough human hands. Perhaps one will say that humanity has only benefited from this-but after all that is not important: does truth really have to be useful? Did pragmatism not die the day after its birth? (Works 1: 184) . Nonetheless. An authority was found on which people might lean for support. The ironic use of “earthly” and the comparison with Aristotle serve as indications that. with Adolph Harnack as their mouthpiece. Shestov writes that Luther was transformed. Those who elicited Shestov’s initial admiration and subsequent disdain were the Greek philosophers Plato and Plotinus and the nineteenth-century Russian writers Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy. 274). he acquired that strength that empowered him to wrestle with Catholicism. Despite this unusual grouping of names. He discovered that the early Luther. a cliff onto which all his students and followers have hurriedly scrambled-right down to contemporary liberal theologians. for Shestov. in Potestas Clavium (mast’kliuchei [The Power of the Keys]). written between 1911 and 1914. to overcome rationalism.created it according to the rules worked out by his eternal nemesis Aristotle. or renounce life itself” (p. to “embody” it-so that later he can show it everywhere. Luther descended from his mystical heights and transmitted his ideas by appealing to universal. turning away from revelation to reason. Luther was mistaken in relying on reason. Shestov treats the young Martin Luther in similar ways. was the lowly monk‘s earthly triumph: by merging with Aristotle. in Sola Fide. Shestov ends part two of Potestas Clavium this way: He who wants to capture truth.Shestov criticized a myriad of artists and philosophers who hide difficult and esoteric truths under a veneer of rationality. then. attempted to purify the church in harmony with the ideals of pure faith. of one making an unsuccessful attempt to return theology to its origins in revelation.

and as he himself feared. In essay after essay on Blaise Pascal. to appear a fool. Socrates. which gives no profit. Since the portrait created only vaguely resembles James. What was his purpose? Shestov often relates the ideas of other thinkers as a contrast to his own. 2: 281). utility versus madness4isplays the unending influence of this paradigm. Therefore people should not sleep. He even came to love his madness. the more such an attitude toward life grew in him. has as its focus the loss of reason and the affliction of madness. it is obvious that Shestov reduces and manipulates James’s ideas. By contrasting his own thought to James’s. Pascal’s alienation from others emerges from his sense that salvation demands that we live in accordance with faith. what usually frightened others gave birth to great hopes in him. Shestov read Shakespeare by reacting against the critic Georg Brandes. For example. In a similar way. written in 1923. Where James studies madness sympathetically. Shestov employs the dichotomy between reason and faith he formulated with regard to James. Shestov’s use of the familiar dichotomies-reason versus faith. Edmund Husserl. people should not live in a state of spiritual unconsciousness.166 Brian Horowitz Despite great changes in his life following the October Revolution of 1917-Shestov left Russia for France and years of penurious existence-his writings reveal a fmed consistency in his thinking. and Harnack-all supposedly hidden rationalists. Shestov denounces it as the victory of reason. his retreat from common truths and disagreements with philosophy. Paul. We recall how he retreated from the single and nonmaterial truth proclaimed by the renaissance. His use of the grotesque “loyal inhabitants of its stable” and his identification with Pascal’s preferences show his solidarity. “The final judgment is not on earth. “He no longer fears. And the longer he lived. Shestov forcefully illuminates his own . Pascal held his faith. Although tempted to recant. on the contrary. he mocks a virtue that is happy with itself and the loyal inhabitants of its stable. as others fear. He appropriates James. but in heaven. Pascal differs from the majority of Shestov’s heroes. and only in isolated places. and not only James. how he hated Descartes and despised the summum bonurn of the ancient philosophers” (2: 315). His first two works are exemplary in this regard. the entire essay on Pascal. In fact. and he interpreted Dostoevsky through Friedrich Nietzsche. Shestov emphasizes Pascal’s alienation from others: “What commonly assuaged others aroused a great anxiety in him and. Shestov’s sympathy is clearly on Pascal’s side. Nevertheless. to aid him in articulating his own philosophy. where James praises utility. no one should ever sleep” (2: 282-283). lumping James with Thales. For contemporary scholars reading Shestov’s interpretation of James. and Scaren Kierkegaard. Shestov passionately advocates its appropriation. Since he never returns to the “stability” or “solidity”of reason. Consequently he became a more and more alien and frightening figure” (Works. one wonders at Shestov’s motivation.

in particular. 2 vols. or be considered normal by propagating logical reasoning and expressing ideas that already bear the world’s approval.Lev Shestov’s James: ‘2Knight of Free Creativiv” 167 position on religion. he overestimates James’sreliance on and attraction to reason. Thales. Works Cited Baranoff-Chestov. Nevertheless. St. Therefore. than the discovery of a paradigm that Shestov would apply across the board to an understanding of the life and thought of artists and philosophers. “The Logic of Religious Creativity” appears to be more about Shestov and his ideas than it does about the American who. or they are based on reason and are therefore wrong. types: either they are based on faith and are therefore good. and ascribes to James a dichotomy of madness versus utility that does not neatly fit James’s position in Pragmatism. But surely pragmatism does not avoid the common fate of those who pay heavily for Thales’s fall from grace” (Great Vigils. applying the Shestov grid with which to lambast their deficiencies. 3 14). who deified reason rather than revelation. not with the philosophers reaching back to faith for the basis of their thought. with his analysis of William James. According to Shestov. . Vol. Shestov. We note first the ahistorical aspect of Shestov’s thought. We see such a self-serving appropriation in his examination of James. he distorts the ideas of his adversaries. Lev. universal reason. and madness. as Natalie Baranoff-Chestov concedes. 6 of Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works). Philosophies come in two. Therefore. Beginning with Great Vigils. he belongs. Shestov asserted that thinkers confront a choice. in the end James chose utility and the advantages derived from abstract. either of exploiting the experience of revelation or of relying on reason. what is most surprising about Shestov’s work at the time of and after Great Vigils is less the shift away from literary interests to philosophical ones. He wrote: “In the final analysis can one reproach James for turning away from ‘madness’ and heading in the direction of wise utility? Hardly. Furthermore. There is no middle ground. His final comment on James reveals Shestov’s ultimate disappointment. and William James are compared and contrasted as if they were contemporaries. it seems. and. We are also aware of Shestov’s evaluative criteria. but with the long line of philosophers. Velikie kanuny (Great Vigils). reason. Plato. Luther. 1911. society. and only two. Paris: La Presse Libre. starting from Thales. 1983. Petersburg: Shipovnik. merely served as a convenient mirror. Natalie. p. Analysis of the article on William James points to recurrent features in all of Shestov’s writings. especially in The Varieties of Religious Experience. La Vie de Lton Chestov. They may either accept madness and its accompanying illumination.

168 Brian Horowitz (Sola Fide. Moscow: Nauka. Luther and the Church). By Faith Alone. 1993. . Liuter i tserkov' . 2 vols. . Tol'ko veroiu: grecheskaia i srednevekovaia filosofiia. Sochineniia (Works). 1966. Greek and Medieval Philosophy. Paris: YMCA. Sola Fide.

transformation. such specialization had ceased to meet the demands of the public. and in the new art. what responses they evoked. I am interested in the fate in Russia of the philosophical and psychological ideas of James. or psychology. To quote a contemporary. or distortion. In the new atmosphere of religious inquiry that marked the revolutionary moods of the first years of the century.169 - HEN WE SPEAK OF THE MIGRATION of . Political and social history had crowded the history of culture out of university curricula. at the turn of the century the atmosphere in Russian universities tended “to exclude all spiritual culture” (Fedotov. it is more interesting to consider. not how accurately another culture perceived them. but rather what use it made of them. However. 1896). what were their consequences. to The Varieties of Religious Experience (Russian translation. we ordinarily refer to the process as assimilation. the so-called theological academies. This approach to the intellectual history of pragmatism fits in exactly with its own theoretical premises. The study of religion was left to the theologians. ethnography. The efforts of James’s popularizers contributed to the great change that had taken place in the academic milieu by the beginning of the 1910s. from his Psychology: Briefer Course (Russian translation.9 James and Konovalov: The Varieties of Religious Experience and Russian Theology between Revolutions Alexander Etkind W ideas into another culture. The tradition of mysticism proved to be an area for new research in the work of historians. Interest in religious questions had acquired the status of a scholarly discipline and had been legitimized under the guise of the study of folklore. concerning the ideas of James. 175). . who had been trained and who now taught in church-sponsored institutions. in collective “journalistic” volumes. p. 1910). which includes his paradoxical theory of the emotions.

not just aesthetically. 10) Marvelous raptures are characteristic of the individual as such. Criticizing the Russian followers of Marx and Nietzsche. editor of the 1910 translation of The Varieties of Religious Experience. ahistorical: religious life is given by divine revelation. By aestheticizing James’s philosophy. space-time. and as such is not subject to critical analysis. Another possible answer was. insisted that ideas and projects in the spiritual sphere must be judged by their consequences in real life.” According to his analysis. but as literary tropes that enable us to describe more ordinary spheres of life. Therefore. Christian. sphere of its rational consciousness. The philosopher Semyon Lurye. Nikolai Berdyaev asked disapprovingly. and not of his literary reflections. but in all the fullness of its conscious and unconscious life. on the contrary. following James. the Russian philosopher rejected any “literal interpretation” of mystical phenomena and called them “metaphors. . Lapshin reduced its emotional content (Lapshin.’ But to oppose to all this the philosophical system they sought-integrated.. . not in the separate . and nationalistic-proved . Trying to find a compromise between James and Kant.with his mysterious transformations and marvelous raptures. the translator of James’s Psychology: Briefer Course.. Lurye repeated in his 1908 reviews of works by Russian philosophers. embodied in the unchanging institutions of the church. 1911). This dilemma was famously embodied in the collectivevolume Signposts.“Who knows what philosophy will become fashionable with us tomorrow-perhaps the pragmatic philosophy of James and Bergson?” (p. and the only measure of being remains the individual . but he insisted on the literal reality of Jamesian phenomena: The “I” must be taken. but the consequences of these ideas are only literary.the transcendental “I” turns into an abstraction without content. The desired sociopolitical changes required transformation of society’s religious life. Ideas should be judged by the consequences to which they lead.” In Lapshin’s view. Lurye. The historical wealth of James’s examples had revealed that the Kantian categories describing human experience were both incomplete and uninteresting. the fundamental branch of which was under the influence of neo-Kantianism. mystical experience does not fit the Kantian categories of subject-object. On this basis Lurye accused his contemporaries of turning real life into lifeless literature. in his introduction once again contrasted James and Kant. .170 Alexander Etkind The situation was similar in Russian philosophy. The philosopher Ivan Lapshin. But in this case . (“Foreword. . etc. Jamesian influences combined in Lurye with a sincere desire to escape the limitations of traditional literaturocentrism. 28).”p. in a 1905 essay referred to The Varieties of Religious Experience as “a book surprising in its profundity and richness of content. 1905. mystical phenomena are significant not in themselves.

. greatly surpasses the latter in the boldness and directness of its aspirations. It is easier. the editor of Russian Thought and one of the authors of Signposts. movement is known under the name of Russian sectarianism. even without the intelligentsia. Such were the most radical of the Russian sectarians. . Minsky collaborated with Lenin in 1905 and in 1909 proclaimed Leo Tolstoy the Russian Luther (On Social Themes. 106). A. the Petrine reforms had prevented a reformation in Russia. pro-capitalist tendencies that he hoped to instill in Russian thought (cited from M. but the best forces of the people. “I feel myself a Protestant. which form its core and heart. p. In fact. the peasant sectarians themselves. the so-called Khlysts. In search of such leaders. He was not alone in this effort. the great cause of religious reform. to understand such conjectures as working in the opposite direction: The intellectuals .” The doctrine of the Orthodox Church is directed toward “reviving eschatologicalbelief that has been overcome by Protestantism. According to Dmitri Merezhkovsky. who.”p.though less profound in thought than the European one. p. Liberal on the Right). . and now Nietzsche. In his essays in Russian Thought and by the very publication of a translation of The Varieties of Religious Experience Lurye was trying to contrast the Protestant Reformation and American pragmatism with those versions of Orthodox traditionalism that were visible behind the liberal faGade of Signposts. the intellectual elite looked for support in sects that had existed among the Russian common people for a long time (see Etkind. 105) Missing for a Russian Reformation was any unity between the popular masses and their possible leaders from the intelligentsia. . As Nikolai Minsky wrote. in a private letter proclaimed.” Struve wrote. a revolution will take place that will outdo the Protestant Reformation and will become the realization of apocalyptic prophecies (Merezhkovsky. . . This logic of intellectual populism had been repeated many times in Russia in relation to Fourier. 30). seemed ready to fit the latest notions of European thought. (“The People and the Intelligentsia. Khlyst). What people were talking about in Europe had already been realized in the Russian peasantry. of course. 269. The proud claims of the European aermensch our peasants actually realized” (“The People and the Intelligentsia.James and Konovalov 171 a more difficult matter than the authors of Signposts had hoped. Kolerov. one among the intellectuals and the other among the common people. with clear thought and buoyant conscience continued .” p. Our protestantism. unite into one. Peter Struve. . . . explaining the conflict between this belief and those individualistic. 253). Marx. when two religious movements. In its search for a basis of religious reform. p. See also Pipes. This huge . “in affirming the supreme rights of any religious ‘I’went to the limit and became something like autodidact Nietzscheans. .

the result of an inner crisis and of direct communion with God. According to Gershenzon. elemental mystical forces operate everywhere. but mystical ecstasy. and therefore “we have become cripples.” who abstained from alcohol (this sect maintained a stable existence from 1894 until the 1930s). he noted with irony. Dmitry Filosofov. In 1911 a book by N. If Minsky was enraptured by the results of his own invention. this religious transformation is of a Protestant type: sudden. however. The influence of pragmatism is palpable in the Signposts article of Mikhail Gershenzon. Almost all the examples Gershenzon cited were Protestant. not dependence on authority. Arseniev in his review of Signposts. Like his contemporary Max Weber. even in the souls of Russian intellectuals. but sudden (though perhaps repeated many times) primal discovery. second birth). But in fact it was an entirely mundane affair: A peasant healer cured people of drunkenness. which Gershenzon called rebirth (Jamespreferred an even more radical term. The only salvation would be a radical change of consciousness. James summed up the Protestant tradition to which he himself belonged and which he sincerely believed to be the apogee of mankind’s religious hi~tory. 84). Evidently the variety of religious experience that James dealt with and to which he directed his readers’ attention was limited to particular historical forms. Petersburg society of “brethren. without intermediaries. with a deep gulf between our true ‘I’ and our consciousness” (p. Shemelin appeared in Kharkov entitled The . whom he cited with respect (p. another writer from Merezhkovsky‘s circle. refuse to recognize them or make contact with them. In condemning him on dogmatic and aesthetic grounds.172 Alexander Etkind time and again interpreted a peasant faith that was strange to them in accordance with their favorite books. Ivan Churikov. employed an analogous construction to denounce the sects.2 Critics were not slow in dwelling on this peculiarity of Gershenzon’s article.~ James’s philosophical substitution of the particular for the general and of Protestant experience for religious experience was subjected to criticism immediately. 69).” wrote K. Analyzing the St. but a direct experience. Filosofov did not notice his divergence from James. usually nothing comparable happens. not a historical tradition. whose philosophy made use of the opposition between consciousness and the “subconscious” precisely in the sense given these terms by James. For James religion is not a social institution. not a routine ritual. K. But in contemporary cultivated society. but a psychological state. “The chronicle of Russian sectarianism is rich in sharp transitions to a new way of life. which thus differed markedly from the Orthodox nature of the other articles in Signposts. Those intellectuals. Filosofov identified its leader. In essence. as a Nietzschean irberrnenschand condemned his cult as anti-Christian. as soon as it became popular among representatives of another confession. using methods appropriate for this purpose.

Religion as a social institution is more important than religion as spiritual experience. 81. mystical states in themselves contain no evidence as to whether their source is evil or good. To distinguish among good and evil spirits.85. mystics of the Eastern church must have a spiritual director. therefore Orthodox mystics. Phenomena separated by centuries in the . Therefore. The cause to which Antony dedicated his life was the strengthening of monasticism. ~ the other hand. which is inimical to Orthodoxy. affirmed Shemelin. In this sense the Internal Mission was one of the specialized institutions of control over the private feelings of people. even anchorites. For recognizing them there are no distinguishing features accessible to the individual. “James is absolutely ignorant. Orthodox mysticism recognizes only divine revelation. In the twentieth century.” James is not such an empiricist and pragmatist as he would like to appear: he has a religious system of his own. which from the beginning of its historic existence has broken its “vital connection with the Orthodox Church” (pp. in the opinion of the Orthodox critic Shemelin. have never broken their connection with the Orthodox Church. Antony of Volyn (who is gratefully acknowledged in the book). the work of the Internal Mission reminds one of earlier historical epochs. an Orthodox critique of The Varieties of Religious Experience. every attempt at religious reform first of all involved conflict with the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Antony played a key role in slowing church reform on the eve of the revolution. A member of the Synod and a man of extreme views. the so-called Internal Mission (Vnutrenniaia missiia) concentrated its efforts on the struggle with the peasant sects. In distinction from their colleagues who were engaged in propagating Orthodoxy among Muslims and the “heathen. Of all this. It is for this reason that he is so popular among the Russian intelligentsia. as in the sixteenth. The greatest feats of asceticism. have no value. professionals who had a position in a bureaucratic hierarchy. Demons mask themselves as angels.98). who constitute the church. if imposed on oneself by one’s own will.Jamesand Konovalov 173 Religious-PhilosophicalViews of W James in Connection with the Mystical Currents of Contemporary L+. a phenomenon characteristic of the later nineteenth ~ e n t u r yOn .” agents of the Internal Mission worked with Christian schismatics and sects among the Russian peasantry. According to the version of Orthodox doctrine set forth by Shemelin following Antony. and the greatest misfortune is to enter into communion with demons. without whom they cannot undertake anything. which he saw as the chief support of the old order.which is given not to individuals but to the whole society of believers. These agents were priests or monks who had a theological education and read learned publications. of the Inquisition and the Counter-Reformation. A special organ of the Russian Orthodox Church. In these arguments the Kharkov theologian followed the local bishop. the Orthodox Church‘s opinion is the highest authority and more important than any revelations received directly.

Konovalov was a well-known hi~torian. such as accounts by missionaries or administrators.1908. The council of the academy accepted the candidacy of Konovalov for the position. but he did manage to obtain access to the archives of the provincial courts and ecclesiastical consistories. I believe. A curious example of this phenomenon is the fate of Dmitry Konovalov (1876?). prepared for by a strict ascetic regime and conditioned . had an important influence on his views. he successfully defended at the academy a dissertation entitled “Religious Ecstasy among Russian Mystical Sects.working there in the clinic for nerve diseases and in the psychiatric clinic. the crowning achievement of which was The Golden Bough of Sir James Fraser. In the 1910s. . Issue 1” of the proposed investigation. the published version was on1y“Part 1. was revealing the customs and mores of people who spoke his language and from all indications belonged to the population of the metropolis. In 1905 it was decided to establish at the Moscow Theological Academy a new chair for the history and analysis of Russian sectarianism. The author explained at the defense that what was presented was the part of the work devoted to a description of the “corporal manifestations of sectarian ecstasy in their sequential development. combining in one synchronic segment the peculiarities of different eras. he therefore enrolled in the medical faculty of Moscow University. On October 24. According to his own testimony. 628). creating a sort of historical fold. In its content Konovalov’s approach was also different from anthropological constructions fashionable at the end of the nineteenth century. but he did not yet have a higher theological degree. Konovalov.174 Alexander Etkind history of Western civilization in Russia were laid one on top of the other.” At the defense Konovalov defined the concept of religious ecstasy as “a peculiar agitation of the spirit.by the psycho-physical constitution of the sectarian ecstatics themselves” (“Psychology. In his methodology he followed in the footsteps of the British “armchair anthropologists. he did not succeed in obtaining ecclesiastical authorization to do fieldwork on the sects.” who constructed their narratives by collecting and systematizing dubious sources. The British writers. a species of neuro-psychic excitation. evoked by artificial religious exercises. work with cases in the archives convinced him that to study the sects a theological education was insufficient. a historian of the Russian sects. on the other hand. to be sure. Konovalov’s dissertation had been published before the defense (ReligiousEcstasy): Actually. . Within this fold colorful and contradictory events took place. as the title page indicated. The philosophy and psychology of James.~ After graduating from the Moscow Theological Academy.” . were concerned with far-off colonies. In accordance with accepted procedures.”p. Konovalov’s conception could rather be described as psychological.

and head. As they approach the Holy Spirit. Missionary theology. whirling (which the Khlysts engaged in. individuals become “living gods” and fulfill in the community the functions of leaders. was akin to psychiatric medicine with its rigid model of health and its prescriptions for all violations of the model. and wails. jumping. pant. running. or complex. digestion. formed according to medical models. and finally. and especially respiration. in particular the Kiev psychiatrist Sikorsky). mixed. weep and laugh. with its conception of a dogmatic norm. Konovalov interpreted the phenomena he described so as to enable the reader to understand the meaning his subjects themselves ascribed to them. would describe morbid conditions: excitation of the circulatory system. All this colorful picture was described with the aid of classificatory graphs. stretching. glandular secretions. On the basis of this analysis the author undertook to delve into unresolved problems of the origin of the Russian sects. yawn and hiccup. arms and shoulders. With no less detail the sectarians’ movements during the ritual are described: local movements (eyes. kneeling). utter various kinds of groans. movements of various kinds. For this epistemological exercise. In distinction from the psychiatry of his time. larger movements (walking. lips. In hundreds of eloquent examples the sectarians sigh. of pure description. he had chosen an exotic and very dangerous field. however. tongue. But Konovalov was trying to get away from value judgments (and the enforcing actions that directly followed from them) and reach the promised land of academic knowledge. cries. as a basic part of the ritual and a combination of its other elements. all changes in breathing were described as respiratory spasms and divided into simple. and galloping). getting up. But the unique quality of his book was the abundantly documented array of data on the bodily symptoms of religious ecstasy. excitations of the functions of speech.James and Konovalov 175 The sectarians’ ecstasy as a ritual observance was described symptom by symptom. and snort. and. The scholarly investigator did not aim to medicalize religious phenomena and proclaim the sectarians psychopaths or degenerates (which some of his predecessors in the study of Russian sects had already done. social mechanisms in the life of the community are connected with the phenomenon of ecstasy. The sectarians identify their ecstatic experiences as actions of the Holy Spirit. very much like the American Shakers). The distinction in principle between his psychological approach and that of the psychiatrist was understood with difficulty by his contemporaries. stamping. just as a psychiatrist. For example. “Complex spasms” were further classified according to speech markers: they included either unintelligible sounds or fragmentary words and sentences. Therefore. or rather a neuropathologist. Thus respiratory symptoms were more important than other bodily functions because respiration was symbolically connected with the Holy Spirit. One of .

Konovalov evidently borrowed it from the psychiatrists. but are never crowded out of religious experience. G. that of turning somersaults for the sake of Jewish gold!”(Ibid. . .. .)’ A case can be made alleging that the source of Konovalov’s new approach was William James’stheory of the emotions and his pragmatic approach to the history of religion. and marriage. On the same page he described analogous phenomena (convulsive contraction of the facial muscles at the moment of ecstasy) among . Mr. but the spirit of the sectarians the author neglects entirely. did not know the sects. . In the historical development of ritual. become individualized. The Moscow missionary I. from their usual clinical picture of “la grande hystkrie. The missionaries’ exposition was usually limited to criticism of the sectarians’ doctrines of the Trinity. the incarnation. . p. Aivazov reproached Konovalov for the same things that the Moscow psychologist Sokolov praised: Mr. Professor P.” . In Konovalov’s treatment scholarship concerning the sects was transformed from ideological propaganda into scientific description.. and sect scholars did not h o w psychiatry. with few exceptions.Until now no investigator of Russian sectarianism has possessed the range of knowledge that Mr. Sokolov. and his Russian follower made use of both. who taught psychology in the Moscow Theological Academy. . (Minutes of the Meetings. . Following James. from exclusive interest in content into almost equally exclusive interest in the form of religious experiences. Yet that is where a theologian must direct his attention.176 Alexander Etkind the official opponents at the defense. when their moral understanding knows only one ecstasy. . Konovalov’s view of all the external manifestations of religious ecstasy among the sectarians as consequences of a particular condition of their organisms is profoundly mistaken. and others talking about . 423) One can easily imagine the surprise of readers who until then had known of the customs and beliefs of the Russian sects only from the works of the missionaries of the Orthodox Church. Also entirely unfamiliar to Russians was Konovalov’s comparativist perspective. Konovalov has become its slave. Konovalov. from murky theological arguments into ethnographic examples bolstered by hundreds of documentary references. In this respect James’s psychology of the emotions was in accord with his history of religion. It is not for research into “belches” that the Academy awards the degree in Theology. bodily sensations change form. In studying psychiatry. P. said in his response: In itself this scheme is not new: Mr. 6) Aivazov then introduced into the discussion a topic that scarcely seems relevant to the debates among the respected faculty of the academy: “What sort of ‘religious ecstasy’ are Messrs.Konovalovwas more interested in extreme and shockinglyvivid examples than in moderate ones. Sokolov. (p. Konovalov commands: psychiatrists.

Lange reproached James for “narrow radicalism” precisely because of his theory of the emotions. 133). 113). James’s theory of the emotions had been known in Russia as early as 1896 with translation of his Psychology: Briefer Course. Works 6: 113. as well as analogies with the psychiatric clinic-all this surprised Russian theologians and even ethnographers. 286-288).but on the contrary. was familiar to him in Protestant sects (early Quakers. later British. p. hysterical French women. a hypothesis about the dependence of Konovalov’s Religious Ecstasy on James’s Varieties of Religious Experience would be too easy to disprove. Whirling. at approximately the same time a “kinship” between the pragmatism of James and the empiriocriticism of Mach was being discussed in Russia (Frank. American Shakers. we fear not because we are frightened. . Pentecostals). And in truth. approximately in the forms found among the Russian Khlysts. The problem of influence is made more complicated by the fact that Konovalov’s work was written before the publication of the Russian translation of The Vurieties of Religious Experience (although Konovalov cites the English edition). This idea was subjected to obligatory criticism.8In fact. the prophet Mohammed. Ernest Gellner faced a parallel problem in relation to the celebrated Polish. and also by the fact that philosophical ideas essentially similar to James’spragmatism were known already at the beginning of the century under other names. to the level of psychological speculations. Shakers. Konovalov stressed. and Sufis. The constant comparisons between Russian and Protestant sects. dervishes. Noting the similarity in the approaches of Malinowski and James. not the unique character of any particular religious group (which his material on the Russian sects would have made very easy).” Following James. but we fear because we tremble. But Konovalov cites James only among hundreds of other authors. but we are sad because we weep. and beyond Christianity among shamanists. We will be on firmer ground if we descend from the philosophical level to a floor below. For this reason. and twenty years later Vygotsky was still writing about its “radical” and “false” character (Vygotsky. about whom Malinowski had written his dissertation in 1910. In 1914 the Odessan psychologist Nikolai Lange noted that James’s theory of the emotions was “so well known that we can limit ourselves to a very brief exposition of it” (pp. It had become popular chiefly because of its conclusions.James and Konovalov 177 South Russian Khlysts. along with the less frequent juxtapositions with heathens and shamanists. Gellner maintained that Malinowski had derived his “functionalism” not from James’s pragmatism but from the empiriocriticism of Ernst Mach. and even Katerina from Dostoevsky‘s story “The Landlady. the universality of the mechanisms he was describing. Coll. James’s famous paradoxes were carried from one psychology textbook to the other: we weep not because we are sad. anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. which were associated with materialism and even with nihilism.

the sectarians experienced ecstasy because they groaned. For example. which is a special process of their bodies manifested in concrete. It was just in this connection that Konovalov cited The Varieties of Religious Experience (p. By the combined effect of religious indoctrination. which offered its own understanding of the relation between sex. James would say that in this case their organs were working as resonators of their religious feeling. . . and whirling because in their ecstasy they were seeing the Holy Spirit. This I know because I feel it in myself.” (Religious Ecstasy. With regard to the Khlysts this problem was especially important in view of the charges that their ecstatic ceremony concluded with ritualized group sex-“communal sin” [ sval’nyi grekh]. The sectarians excite themselves to the point of religious ecstasy. trembled. and religion. . According to Konovalov. because we both felt trembling in the stomach.” Konovalov related Certain sectarian mystics say that at moments of ecstatic excitation they feel some sort of trembling in the stomach or the womb. and reached its highest point just at the time Konovalov’s book was published: The enemies of Grigory Rasputin attributed his reputed debauchery to his alleged connection with the Khly~ts. Konovalov turned their argument around. trembling.178 Alexander Etkind It was precisely James’s theory of the emotions that was the basis for Konovalov’s radical research concerning the sects. 45) Unlike his subjects. but. the sectarians develop in themselves particular sensitivity to bodily states of this kind. an important influence for Konovalov was his treatment of the classic problem of the relation between sexual and religious feeling.he and I were joined in the spirit a year ago. physically palpable symptoms. In the first chapter of Varieties James argued against the treatment of religion as a product of the sexual instinct. and as for him. .The history of these accusations begins as early as the seventeenth century. they interpret these phenomena as evidence of the presence in their bodies of the Holy Spirit. and whirled in a special way. culture. I see him trembling. If the sectarians thought they were groaning. 72). . and group pressure. Praskovya Pershenkova at an investigation in 1851 declared . he believes in the trembling as a physical fact. . : “Agap Aleksandrov is my father confessor [dukhovnik]. . Konovalov does not believe that trembling in the stomach is the work of the Holy Spirit. .~ In just those years Russian thought was undergoing the influence of psychoanalysis. This was precisely the way James reversed the logic of human emotions. Along with James’s theory of the emotions. which supposedly is produced in them by the Holy Spirit. . In his chapter “Excitation of the Digestive System. was developed by the labors of Orthodox missionaries. like the sectarians. ascetic life. Feeling with their usual sensory organs the ecstatic trembling of their own stomachs or that of their partners. p.

19n). Eros of the lrnpossible).”1° The possibility of interpreting this ritual as a substitute for sexual gratification seems self-evident. 192fn. Metaphors referring to breathing. in the manner of the actions of harlots. as if being raped by the spirit of the abyss. but that the theoretical significance of the new school’s doctrines is great. According to Konovalov: In view of the absence in the report of Archpriest Zotikov of evidence of erotic hallucinations and real sexual arousal on the part of those sectarian women who performed seductive movements of their hips during a prayer service. that editorial note testifies to the direct influence of psychoanalysis on the circle of Russian Thought (see Etkind. 191). p. now backwards. James maintained. (Editor’s note to James [Dzhems] 1910. moving. not Freud. The Saratov psychiatrist N. the relation between sexual and religious feeling. Instead. the female sex. wriggle their bodies. that this understanding would coincide with the way the customs of Russian sectarians were regarded by their fiercest enemies. there is absolutely no basis for considering these movements to be voluptuous. extending the same now forwards. Semyon Lurye. p. which required one “in the end [to] look at the immediate content of the religious consciousness” (VRE. editor of the Russian translation. Let us note. But he at once rejected this interpretation. however. in a different context and among half a dozen other psychologists. 17-20). 79) The problem immediately underwent further discussion. . For example. Konovalov compared the movements of the Leaper women with classic French descriptions of hysterical attacks in which it was easy to see a reproduction of the sexual act. did he mention Freud (p. but James. and eating are no less important in descriptions of mystical experience than metaphors of erotic passion. which his readers would undoubtedly have regarded as Freudian. Konovalov cited the following colorful description by Archpriest Zotikov of the life of a Transcaucasian sect: “In assemblies of the Leapers [pryguny] . Starokotlitsky in a 1911 article gave a detailed exposition of James’s . Of the therapeutic effectiveness of Freudian “psychoanalysis” only medical specialists can judge. . and that it has brought a breath of fresh air into the study of the psyche there can hardly be any doubt. .James and Konovalov 179 with no mention of Freud’s theories. (Religious Ecstasy. in a key question of his work. . and his Russian follower agreed with him (VRE. the missionaries. he followed. he precisely followed James’s rule. pp. has been attracting more and more attention. only elsewhere in the book. As for Konovalov. I. provided this latter passage with an extended commentary: The school of Freud .) Against the background of the many facts that demonstrate Freud’s popularity in Russia of the 1910s.

Konovalov’s materials. Antony accused Konovalov and his defenders at the Moscow Theological Academy of being “professional enemies” of the Orthodox faith.” Moreover. . 1909). Together with its telegram to the Synod about Konovalov. .will appear as dark spots on the pages of the history of theological education in our Church (June 19. Konovalov’s dissertation was subjected to furious criticism from quite another direction. had supplanted the “liberation movement” of the recent past. The chief blow was dealt by Bishop Antony of Volyn. there appeared a letter from Nikon. and once again reviewed. newspaper reports on Rasputin. the “annual assembly” of one of the influential organizations of the extreme right sent the following telegram to the Ober-Procurator of the Most Holy Synod: The Russian Monarchist assembly in Moscow.180 Alexander Etkind theory of religion. on October 30. The radically oriented psychiatrist was troubled by those mysticoerotic diversions that. For our purposes it is more important that Antony perceived in Konovalov’s work the influence of pragmatism as he understood it: “If Christianity developed from the self-delusions of ecstatics. mockery of Orthodoxy. as he wrote. a sectarian Khlyst. . the Monarchist assembly expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Stolypin for removing from the stage the “blasphemous play” of Oscar Wilde. that the entire case be summoned . (Moscow News November 2. 1909). . The sexual theory of religion seemed to him a means of fighting these dark influences.” p. Sexual metaphors are more important than others because they point directly to the general source of all religious experience (“On the Question. . finally. The extreme rightists began a newspaper campaign against Konovalov. 284). Konovalov . finds in [his] work no theology at all. bishop of Vologda: “The names of gentlemen like Mr. having learned of the award of the degree of Master of Theology to Docent Konovalov . who wrote a huge report on Konovalov’s dissertation (The Bell. and respectfully requests . SalomR and petitioned for the prohibition of Gorky’s novel Ispoved’ (A Confession). his own observations of the “religio-erotomanic psychosis” of one of his patients. . In Kolokol (The Bell). June 18. Freud’s theory of hysteria. He discovered in it “scientific nihilism” and “naked enumeration of well known phenomena with an enormous quantity of completely useless references. 1908. James and Konovalov are wrong. The missionary Aivazov wrote half a dozen articles denouncing his dissertation. and. Starokotlitsky maintained. . then of course there is no difference between good and . if there is no God and no future life. 1908) The dissertation of a virtually unknown theologian was then linked to the noisiest artistic scandals of the day. the paper of the Internal Mission. and temptation for the faithful. Not a week had passed since the day of its defense when. .

. 233). 1908). (pp. and who reports that it produced on them a “staggering impression” (April 12. The Theological Herald published a letter from the well-known historian Elpidifor Barsov. standing apart from all political moods and personal agendas. the scientific conscience” (p. pp. . . namely.1909). and the fashionable current of thought which now prevails in the academic milieu recognizes only the concepts of profitable and unprofitable. . the bishop of Volokolamsk. . p. . .” Compare the latter formulation with the denunciation of pragmatism a year later by the Orthodox philosopher Semyon Frank in Russian Thought: “‘Pragmatism’ . 225. Konovalov had his defenders. on August 31 the Synod removed the rector of the academy. 655657) Golos Moskyy (Voice of Moscow) published a letter from a working missionary who read to some Khlysts selections from Konovalov’s book. 9 1).James and Konovalov 181 evil.” regarding the decision as juridically improper. . Manifestations of sectarian ecstasy . honor and dishonor . On June 16. the Synod revoked the decision of the Moscow Academy concerning the award to Konovalov of a higher degree (Journals. . I see with satisfaction that he is the first and only investigator of sectarianism who has done the job right. accepted by a learned symposium. from his post. Of course. . the following decree was issued by the Most Holy Synod “Taking into consideration the statement of Bishop Antony” that Konovalov’s dissertation includes “alluringly blasphemous” judgments. . Trotsky of what had taken place. has been reevaluated by the knights of journalistic pandemonium. Thus was realized in practice the standard of giving the collective judgment of the Orthodox Church priority over the personal experience of one of its members. .After reading with understandable pleasure Konovalov’s book.November 19. concluding that “[alll the noise generated by Konovalov’s book may be explained by the unfamiliarity . .1909. of his method. a collector of Old Russian writings: It is striking that a strictly scholarly work. At the same time Konovalov was asked “to submit within a month‘s time a resignation from the service. Furthermore. Locked in my cell. has quickly merged with a religious and religio-philosophical movement and as such has undertaken to reform the entire soul of humanity. declaring as prejudice and evil what had formed the basis of the contemporary worldview. . . but for that he was dismissed (Minutes. since the Holy Synod itself had assigned the awarding of master’s degrees as a matter to be finally decided by the councils of the seminaries ( Voice. I consider it my duty to say my own dispassionate word.The Historical Herald published a survey by V. The paper reported the withdrawal of Konovalov’s degree “with feelings of extreme and profound perplexity.” Konovalov most humbly asked that he be allowed to remain in his position while writing a dissertation on a new subject. 232).

. and sometimes it happened that the sectarians “spoke for hours on end in rhyme.” Prishvin believed. p. I. as a physiologist or medical psychiatrist would: for him religious experiences are not separate from the human body. 138). . Konovalov cited dozens of examples of glossolalia among the Khlysts. speaking by the sectarians in languages unknown and incomprehensible to them. but are closely connected with it” (pp. automatic writing (of words or senseless combinations of letters). never developed favorably (see Etkind. evokes automatic operation of the function of speech and in general has . the material and ideas of Konovalov. 29). Russian Thought published an article by the young Mikhail Prishvin. Citing many examples from the life of Russian and Western sects. . like poetic inspiration.14 These “words” were uttered with a particular rhythm. who was beginning his career with studies of the sects. intersecting with the material and ideas of James. Melnikov (Pecherski) had written about it. a major part of which consisted of totally senseless combinations of sounds. 1201-1203). as in other instances.182 Alexander Etkind Konovalov regards . entitled “The Power of Darkness.12 In 1930 he was a member of the university Institute of History. . During the entire Soviet period of his life the author of the book on sectarian ecstasy published nothing. and writer P. where his field of research was defined as “history of religions. the author distinguished the following phenomena of ecstasy: automatic speech (coherent enunciation of distinct sounds). later a well-known nature writer.13 However.became the source of a quite unexpected development. “Prophetic ecstasy. 43-53). “Russian Sects”). official. and he condemned energetically the decision of the synod (pp. religious movements” (Scientific Workers. who in the 1920s held a monopoly in this field. before him the sect scholar. Apparently Konovalov’s relations with Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich. but it reflects so graphically the incredibly monstrous conditions under which we live at the present time that it is impossible to remain silent about it” (p.” Konovalov was not the first discoverer of Khlyst glossolalia.” The article characterized the synod’s decision as a “crying moral misdeed” and used language suggestive of the approaching revolution: “In its nature . But. Konovalov’s work had been accomplished “with remarkable knowledge of the subject. this event lies beyond the boundaries of the chief currents of Russian life. glossolalia (automatic enunciation of incomprehensible words). Konovalov’s colleague at the academy. The third and last part of his dissertation examined manifestations of religious ecstasy in the functions of speech. Between 1911 and 1917 Dmitri Konovalov taught at the Moscow Higher Women’s Courses. Konovalov had collected an unparalleled quantity of material and had subjected it to unusually calm analysis.” The respectable Moscow Weekly published an article by the psychologist Sokolov.

55) Many times Shklovsky refers here to the “splendid book” by Dmitry Konovalov. which was close to him both in material and in method. is that not also the essence of art? Though he was not yet ready for such formulations. According to James. sometimes even extremely grotesque ones. Such an exception is the trans-sense language of the sectarian mystics.James and Konovalov 183 a tendency to be expressed in rhymed verses. the Orthodox theologian P.” Shklovsky referred to William James’s psychology of the emotions.15 The bold juxtaposition of Russian Symbolism with Russian mystical sects was made by Strakhov in the very same year that Andrei Bely’s novel The Silver Dove appeared. Strakhov asked.” (p.” The purpose of this article. which dramatized the same idea. which we encounter not only among sectarian mystics. it is genuine poetry. Thus in 1915 the Moscow theologian Strakhov hypothesized a similarity between the glossolalia of the Russian sectarians and the “trans-sense language” [zaum’]of the Russian futurists. . In order to describe the paradoxical nature of nonverbal “sound speech. 136. “On Poetry and Trans-Sense Language. 249. 136). only purer. Here the effect is enhanced by the fact that the sectarians identified their trans-sense language with glossolalia. In fact. But there are exceptions.” Konovalov concluded (Religious Ecstasy. almost ten years before the first works of the Formalist school Konovalov had analyzed the form of mystical experiences in conscious isolation from their content. . Shklovsky explains. Strakhov in 1910 took up an interesting question connected with the literature of the time. p. expanding his sentence as follows: “in the ‘Symbolist’literature of the recent past and in non-jocular futurism” (p. with . one of the first by the future leader of the Formalist school. to put together completely incomprehensible combinations of words. Shklovsky did make a still more unexpected move: As we have already noted. This is not nonsense and not music. but even in the ‘Symbolist’literature of our recent past?” (Strakhov. “Is not this the cause of all the efforts. trans-sense language rarely appears in its purest form. On several pages citing examples of Khlyst trans-sense language taken . was to explain the recent experiments by the Russian Futurists with trans-sense verses consisting of meaningless sound combinations.251). If the essence of emotions lies in the form of their expression.I6 In the 1915 edition of his essay Strakhov developed the comparison.). Criticizing James and making use of Konovalov’s material. one of the characteristics of mystical states is their ineffability. this theory was evidently an important methodological model for the Formalist school. pp. the gift of speaking in foreign tongues. Indeed. This idea became central to a 1916 article by Viktor Shklovsky. the impossibility of expressing them in words.

In 1911. he did not assert that the fathers of Russian Futurism were themselves Khlysts or even that they were themselves personally acquainted with the Russian sectarians.58) Shklovsky is proclaiming here a direct succession between the old experiments of the Khlysts and the new experiments of the Futurists.69-78). But fruits are more valuable than roots. 65-66. Neither James nor Konovalov had claimed that their historical works served aesthetic aims. but for their usefulness. 2. and bodily Protestantism. may prove to be quite different from what their authors intended. literary tropes in relation to other literary tropes. the sectarians loved to say. It seems to me that there was a modicum of sincerity in this. the Futurists became acquainted with their predecessors in the sphere of meaningless sound-speech by reading about them. Ideas are important not for their origin. This use. The Meaning of Creative Work]). Having with extraordinary effectiveness historicized images of folk ecstasy. . Rather. practical heterodoxy. just as Shklovsky did. Smysl tvorchestva. Notes Translated by Hugh McLean 1. however.It is interesting that the Futurist authors of trans-sense poetry have assured us that they had attained all languages in a single minute and were even trying to write Hebrew. . Konovalov concluded his investigation by returning to literary associations. Filosofiia svobody. Their authors precisely consider them some sort of alien language . his confirmation consisted of examples taken from Konovalov’s dissertation (Kruchenykh in Lawton. The wind bloweth where it listeth. also plays an important part in The Varieties of Religious Experience (Lectures 7-8). calling them “people of exceptional integrity” who spoke the language of the Holy Spirit in pronouncing meaningless sounds.Moscow: Pravda. most frequently. It was this section that was most appreciated by his contemporaries. Gershenzon’s central example. When Aleksei Kruchenykh in his 1913 manifestos took the Russian sectarians as models. however. wrote James. Shklovsky was ready to take very far the analogy he had discovered: In all these models there is one thing in common: these sounds are trying to become speech. (p. or that they would prove useful as metaphors of avant-garde art. 1989. As a Pushkin . in Konovalov’s book. but their ideas live if people make use of them. pp. the language of Jerusalem. [Philosophyof Freedom. Berdyaev called The Varieties of Religious Experience a “renowned book” (Berdiaev. However. Their authors may remain silent. p.184 Alexander Etkind from Konovalov. 244). the English Puritan John Bunyan.

Religious Ecstasy. 121. Strakhov’s 1910 article was entitled “Pragmatism in Science and Religion (Apropos W. 14. On the personal context of Weber’s “Protestant ethic” see Arthur Mitzman. 9. to the conclusions of Michel Foucault. On Mahowski’s connection to James. The resemblance between Pushkin’s poem and a religious conversion fitted Gershenzon’s deepest interests. p. 22. 11.” . 7. (New York Vintage Books. 6. The Iron Cage: An Historical Interpretation of Max Weber.: Transaction Books. Bolsheviks: The Beginning of the Century in the Archive of Mikhail Prishvin). 77. bol’sheviki: Nachalo veka v arkhive Mikhaila Prishvina” (Khlysts. chap. On Prishvin’s interest in Russian sects see Alexander Etkind “Khlysty. Konovalov found in the archives of speeches by the seventeenthcentury Moscow Khlyst Sergei Osipov: “rentre fente rente finitrifunt. Konovalov. Oktiabr’ 11 (November 1996): 155-176. 10. (New Brunswick. Sokolov described Aivazov as “an ignorant. since he was the author of a single book. Parts of the same work were also published in Bogoslovskii vestnik (Theological Herald) for 1907-1908. Calvin. p. refutation of this hypothesis appears in Ernest Gellner. 1985). Soviet bibliographies do not mention Konovalov. See Ia. 4.” Revue des e‘tudes slaves 1 (1997): 223-248. 8. 1990). 1968). 1: An Introduction. Gal’tseva (Moscow: Kniga. “Discourse and Revolution (Diskurs i revoliutsiia). of course. 12.” Tambov Khlysts in 1904 prayed: “Khristos nekrata ne tan fan tan fatison” (Konovalov. The latter formulation is clearly borrowed from The Varieties of Religious Experience. “The savage. 1990). dekadenty. cited from Pushkin v russkoi fiZosofskoi kritike (Pushkin in Russian Philosophical Criticism) edited by R. and Pushkin-what united them in their triumphant understanding of the world?” Gershenzon asked in Mudrost’ Pushkina (Pushkin’s Wisdom). Information from the annual issues of Vsia Moskva (All Moscow) from 1911 to 1917. 1957). Konovalov’s defenders were also not abstemious in their language. James’s Book Varieties of Religious Experience). 3. I refer. pp. p. A. Culture.” which is curious in itself.Iarnes and Konovalov 185 scholar. 1930). See The History of Sexuality. identifies him as a “writer. Anti-Religious Literature over 12 Years 1919-1929 (Moscow: Bezbozhnik. Glan. 15. 13. On the role of these accusations in prerevolutionary discourse see Alexander Etkind. Decadents. vol. 36). Gershenzon had been interested in this figure for other reasons: Pushkin’s poem “The Pilgrim (Strannik)”is considered a translation from The Pilgrim’s Progress. USSR 19361945.” p. n. see Edmund Leach. 1990).J. N. free-and-easy young man who speaks Russian poorly” (“The Power of Darkness. 219.d. For example. citing a report in Tserkovnyi vestnik (Ecclesiastical Herald) 30 (1889): 256.” Khlyst-Leapers in 1901 near Kiev expressed their ecstasy as follows: “Abdol sir fu mla konal seir chika. An article on Konovalov in the Novyi entsiklopedicheskii slovar’ (New Encyclopedic Dictionary). 5 . Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bibliografiia (Moscow. Works of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences. Identity. 4. 167-169). Man and Culture (London: Firth..

nachalo 20-go veka (Khlyst: The Sects. 1986).pp. Works Cited Aivazov. 1996). The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism (San Diego: San Diego State University Press. and by Gerald Janacek. Etkind. S. G. Sytin. D. Frank. Boulder. V. Nikolai. Beginning of the Twentieth Century). St. p.186 Alexander Etkind 16. P. Moscow: Pravda. 1912. “About Poetry and the Zaum Language. . 1909. Europe. Leningrad: Biblioteka AN SSSR. Moscow: I. pp. “Filosofskaia istina i intelligentskaia pravda” (Philosophical Verity and the Intelligentsia’s Truth).. On the sectarian prototypes for The Silver Dove see Etkind. Eros of the Impossible: The History of Psychoanalysis in Russia. Neugasimaia lampada: Stat’i PO tserkovnym i religioznym voprosam (The Unextinguishable Lamp: Articles on Ecclesiastical and Religious Questions). esp. Colo: Westview Press. Petersburg: Zemlia. I. 1998. . A reference to the linguistic experiments of the Russian sectarians known as “shtundists” is found in an even earlier article by Shklovskii. The Symbolists were acquainted with Konovalov’s work. Filosofov. Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie.2: 35.] In Intelligentsiia v Rossii (The Intelligentsia in Russia). In Vekhi. 1991. Evropy i my (Russia. L. Literature and Revolution. Khlyst: Sekty. literatura i revolutsiia.] Bogoslovskii vestnik (Theological Herald) 3 (1908): 655-657. ibid. Blok Inventory). Barsov. The influence of Konovalov on Kruchenykh and the circle of the Cubo-Futurists of the 1910s is mentioned by Charlotte Douglas. Moscow: Russkaia pechatnia. 1984. “Brave Lads: From ‘The Golden Cockerel’ to The Silver Dove and Back to Petersburg” Molodtsy: Ot Zolotogo petushka k Serebriannomu golubiu i obratno v Peterburg.” Wiener Slawistischer Almanach 36 (1995): 5-48. 185-199. 17. Berdiaev. K dissertatsii Konovalova “Religioznyi ekstaz v russkom sektantstve” (About the Dissertation of Konovalov “Religious Ecstasy among the Russian Sectarians”). Bloka: opisanie (Library of A. “Russkie sekty i sovetskii kommunizm: proekt Vladimira Bonch-Bruevicha” (Russian Sects and Soviet Communism: Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich‘s Project). G. Matiushin and their Circles” in The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1895-1985 (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum ofArt. Russkaia mysl’ (Russian Thought) 5 (1910): 90-120. Alexander. “Beyond Reason: Malevich. From the Depths). Minuvshee (The Past) 19 (1996): 275-319. Blok‘s library contained a copy of it along with Prishvin’s review: see Biblioteka A. Arsen’ev. and Us). [Rev.187. Iz glubiny (Signposts. Elpidifor. Zaum. 1910. D. of Vekhi. 28-31. K. and in “Voskreshenie slova” (Resurrection of the Word). [Letter to the Editor. 41. p. K.”in his Gamburgskii schet. “Puti i priemy pokaianiia” (Ways and Means of Repentance). Paris: YMCA Press. . “Pragmatizm kak filosofskoe uchenie” (Pragmatism as a Philosophical Teaching). 1973. Fedotov. 1997. Rossiia.

Fizicheskie iavleniia v kartine sektantskogo ekstaza (Physical Phenomena in the Picture of Sectarian Ecstasy).” 1909. Liberal on the Right. Richard. Ne mir.Vol’f. James in Connection with Mystical Currents in Contemporary Life). 1-93. . Antireligioznaia literatura za 12 let (1917-1929) (Anti-Religious Literature over 12 Years [ 1917-19291). . 1912-1 928.: Harvard University Press. Moscow: Sovetskii pisatel’. Nikolai.In Vekhi. 1908. A. Ithaca. N.Jamesand Konovalov 187 Gershenzon. M.). V. N. M. N. Lamanskii).Y. 1980. . Religiozno-filosofskievozzreniia V Dzemsa v sviazi s misticheskimi techeniiami sovremennoi zhizni (The Religious-Philosophical Views of W. “0poezii i zaumnom iazyke” (On Poetry and Trans-Sense Language). Lawton.Pt. Shklovskii. Merezhkovskii. I. In Gamburgskii schet: Stat’i-vospominaniia-esse (The Hamburg Reckoning: Articles-Reminiscences-Essays). D. Dzhems (W. but the Sword The Russian ReligiousPhilosophical Press from “Problems of Idealism” to “Signposts. Petersburg: Akademiia nauk. “Revoliutsiia i religiia” (Revolution and Religion). Lur’e. Vselenskoe chuvstvo (Universal Feeling). Lamanskogo (Collected Essays in Honor ofV. Moscow: Pravda. 1905-1944. . I. Lange. Russian Futurism through Its Manifestos. “Misticheskoe poznanie i ‘Vselenskoe chuvstvo”’ (Mystical Cognition and ‘Universal Feeling’). Moscow: Bezbozhnik. Bogoslovskii vestnik 3 (December 1908). 1930. 1905. S. M.Iz glubiny. Russkaia mysl’4 (April 1908): 41-56. N. St. Pp. 1990. Kolerov.). Petersburg: 0.” 1996. Petersburg: Aleteiia. Russkaia mysl’ 10 (October 1909): 43-52 (2nd num. St. . Lapshin.“Psikhologiia sektantskogo ekstaza” (The Psychology of Sectarian Ecstasy). Cambridge. St. 1996. Ia. Kharkov: 19 1 1. 1988. V. 191 1. I. Minskii. “Religioznyiekstaz” (Po povodu dissertatsii D. ed. St. Russkaia mysl’ 9 (September 1909): 99-110 (2nd num. G. Petersburg: “Obshchestvennaia pol’za. Russkaia religiozno-filosofskaiapechat’ ot “Problem idealizma” do “Vekh. Mass. Moscow: AN SSSR.” 1902-1909 (Not Peace. Iaroshevskii. no mech. 1. Pipes. Na obshchestvennye temy (On Social Themes). Shemelin. no.: Cornell University Press. 1930. Prishvin. James). “Religioznaia mistika i filosofiia” (Religious Mysticism and Philosophy). . G. “Narod i intelligentsiia” (The People and the Intelligentsia). Dmitrii. In V. Konovalov. Konovalov]). Psikhicheskii mir: Izbrannye psikhologicheskie trudy (The Psychic World Selected Psychological Works). In Sbornik v chest’ X I. 1991. “Reliognye iskaniia v sovremennoi literature” (Religious Searchings in Contemporary Literature). Tvorcheskoesamosoznanie (Creative Self-Knowledge). Anna. 1. 2d ed. Nauchnye rabotniki Moskvy (Moscow Scientific Workers). Religioznyi ekstaz v russkom misticheskom sektantstve (Religious Ecstasy in Russian Mystical Sectarianism). Moscow: “Institut prakticheskoi psikhologii. Russkaia mysl’3 (March 1907): 17-34 (2nd num. 1910. Konovalova) (Religious Ecstasy [Concerning the Dissertation of D. Russkaia mysl‘ 10 (October 1908): 44-67.). G.“Predislovie” (Foreword).” 1902-1909). Mnogoobrazie. Glan.Sergiev Posad. edited by M G.

Nauka i religiia (Science and Religion). V . Moscow: Pedagogika. Moskovskii ezhenedel’nik (Moscow Weekly) November 15. 1968. . S.Psikhologiia iskusstva (PsychologyofArt). Zhurnaly Sobranii Soveta Dukhovnoi Akademii za 1909 (Minutes of the Meetings of the Council of the Theological Academy for 1909). Zaporozhets et al. AS USSR). 1982-1984. Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works). G. Strakhov. Vol. “K voprosu o vozdeistvii polovogo instinkta na religiiu” (v sviazi s opisaniem sluchaia religiozno-erotomanicheskogo pomeshatel’stva) (On the Question of the Influence of the Sexual Instinct on Religion [In Connection with the Description of a Case of Religious-Erotomaniac Insanity]). .Moscow: Pedagogika. 1915. Moscow: Nauka. edited by M. Istoricheskii vestnik (Historical Messenger) 3(1909): 1201-1203. P. Moscow: Kushnerev. Korsakov Journal of Neuropathology and Psychiairy) 2-3 (191 1). 6 vols. eds. ed. P. I. Sergiev Posad. N. Korsakova (S. Trotskii. [Review of Konovalov affair]. S. 6. 1936-1945: Bibliografiia.1908. M. Starokotlitskii. V. 1987. 1910. G. S . L. Iaroshevskii.188 Alexander Etkind Sokolov. Vygotskii. Zhurnal nevropatologii i psikhiatrii im. “Vlast’ t’my” (The Power of Darkness). P. Iaroshevskii. A. Trudy Institut istorii A N SSSR (Works of the Institute of History. .

the mother of his children. Gorky and Andreeva were evicted from the hotel in which they were staying. he apparently did not appear in public during a brief trip in mid-April. pp. only to learn of yet another postponement. just after the scandal broke. he had parted from Peshkova over two years earlier. 605-613). Gorky‘s trip had already been marred by the scandal surrounding his companion.189- . had been with Andreeva for some time. On May 30 he lectured there on “The Tsar. where. the Duma and the People” (the topic of talks in other cities as well) and the following day he visited Harvard University. and probably did not give the arrangement much thought until. When he arrived in the United States that April. Gorky’s talk in Boston took place later than originally planned. he was still legally married to Ekaterina Peshkova. Gorky saw James again around the end of August. while he was staying in the Adirondacks at a summer estate which belonged to John and Prestonia AKSIM M . his initial meeting with James took place (Chronicle. the actress Maria Andreeva.10 Gorky and God-Building Barry I? Scherr GORKY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY of actually talking with William James on at least two occasions during his visit to the United States in 1906. However. The first of these meetings occurred in Cambridge on May 31. since divorce was hardly an option in Orthodox Russia. and in early May a crowd had already gathered at the railroad station to greet him. among other things. and many of the public appearances that had been arranged for Gorky in April and May were canceled or postponed. one of the New York newspapers broke the news about this affront to American morals. with the assistance of a Russian government trying to undermine Gorky‘s efforts to gain financial and political support for the Bolshevik cause.

this time noting that he “is revered here as a star of the first magnitude” (Selected Letters. who had just informed him of the death of their younger child. in a 1933 letter. using English-language sources. with a quotation. Mother. p. “a book which is excellently written. Anuchkin. The Glenmore Summer Institute of the Cultural Sciences. References to his Cambridge meeting. but was not able to complete the project before his death (SS 29: 258). and both he and William James lectured on occasion at Glenmore. who wrote on a variety of topics related to Siberia. 118).190 Barry l ? Scherr Martin. during which he seems to have had a conversation with James at some length (through an interpreter). the question of influence on Gorky‘s thought is harder to determine. James. Much later. working both in the elaborate main log house and in a more modest annex. Gorky says that James had expressed an interest in shamanism and had asked about Russian materials dealing with it. The Russian writer does not appear to have made enough of an impression on James to rate a mention in either his letters or formal writings. 115).” adding the qualifier “but he is also an American” (Selected Letters. he finished one of his most overtly political plays Enemies. and that the “miracle” (Gorky‘s quotes) of Keller was somehow linked by James to his own philosophy. Thus Gorky concludes his article “0 pisatcliakh-samouch-kakh” (On Self-Taught Writers). Writing at about the same time to Ekaterina Peshkova. Here. founded by Thomas Davidson. to V. Gorky goes on to say that he later found James’s words elaborated in The Varieties of Religious Experience. yet ‘muddled’ in a typically American manner and which in essence-although none too . had begun a work on the topic. was located near the Martins’ Adirondacks complex. of somewhat dubious authenticity. He was not particularly taken with most of the lecturers at Glenmore or with American psychologists in general. which portrays James as expressing amazement at the phenomenon of ordinary Russian peasants becoming poets. In a footnote Gorky goes on to suggest that James’s questions and remarks indicated a good knowledge of Russian literature and also mentions the impressive Russian holdings at Harvard’s library (SS 24: 136-137). but he praises James as “a wonderful old man. occur mostly well after the event but are more detailed in what they say about James. states Gorky. published in 191 1. 1912. he again praises James. John Dewey had a summer house nearby as well. well-to-do Fabian Socialists who had provided Gorky and Andreeva a place to live at their Staten Island residence after three consecutive hotels had evicted them. I. and also wrote the bulk of his most propagandistic novel. but Gorky refers to their meetings on several occasions. In a letter of October 12. he says that William James had advised him to meet Helen Keller (who was to make an unpleasant impression on Gorky).’ That Gorky was impressed by and liked James is clear. before setting sail for Italy in October. p. whom he mentions rather satirically in letters back to Russia.

and blind after a childhood case of meningitis. In a letter to the economist Dalmat Lutokhin. not just as one well-known individual being formally introduced to another. dumb. Gorky denies any link to Bergson but says that “I can accept a kinship with James. who. is also revealing. Gorky developed certain ideas that were nascent in some of his writings over the previous several years. including the notions that reality is immediately given in experience. which he and Piatnitsky had discussed (Archive4 : 135) and which had just been published in Russian. A brief comment from the mid-l920s. and he cannot let a hint of admiration for anything Western. Gorky clearly reveals his public persona even if the occasion is a personal letter. write. Gorky asks about obtaining James’s The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy. Why would Gorky admit to a kinship with James and not with Bergson? The answer may well involve Gorky’s advocacy of God-building. whose works he had already read. be it Helen Keller or James’s writing. and speak at the institute). but James himself had no hesitation about admitting an affinity with Bergson. when Gorky was still living in Italy and not yet so dogmatic in his support of the Soviet Union. 346). But The Varieties of Religious Experience was not the first of James’s works to catch Gorky‘s attention. In a 1903 letter to his colleague Konstantin Piatnitsky.2It is of course necessary to read this negative reference to James in light of the date and circumstances. writing to the head of a Soviet institute which could boast of its own “Helen Keller” (Olga Skorokhodova. During this period. Along with the many important differences between them. and one can speculate that he met James. and that the dualism of subject and object or of mind and body can be overcome by emphasizing a concrete reality that contains these antipodes (Perry 2: 603). with its analytical quality. and in fact the two men expressed a great deal of admiration for each other. peek through. Here. that thinking. but for several years the ultimate direction of Russian Marxist thought hung in the balance. had learned to read. is opposed to the flow of existence. albeit with many reservations” (Archive 14: 397). In the early 1930s Gorky‘s public pronouncements were vehement in their anti-Western bias. but out of a desire to converse with the famous philosopher and psychologist. Lenin’s implacable opposition to mythmaking and religion eventually won out. deaf. Thus his awareness of and interest in James predated his visit to the United States. there existed significant points of convergence.Gorky and God-Building 191 deftly-‘sanctifies’ his own country’s experience of a dreadfully hypertrophied capitalism” (Selected Letters. p. Gorky may not have been willing to call himself a Bergsonian. the effort to combine socialism with religion by several leading Bolsheviks during the half-decade that immediately followed the abortive 1905 revolution in Russia. in both his nonfiction and fiction. While his chief inspiration clearly came .

” in reflecting many of the concepts also found in The Will to Believe may well have resonated with Gorky’s thoughts about religion. The second major contention is that several interesting points of contact between God-building and James’s thought occur in Gorky’s writing. In his article “‘Nietzschean Marxism’ in Russia” and also in a piece devoted to arguably the most Nietzschean of the group. Scherr from other sources. two arguments will be put forward. and frequently obscure manner of the German metaphysicists. Now James. 3). each emphasized different aspects of the general problem of belief.a distinct version (or actually several versions. which must have occurred only after his ideas about God-building were well formed (and possibly even after he had moved beyond his enthusiasm for the notion). Stanislav Volsky. Thus when Gorky‘s own writings are examined separately. p. with its clarity. influenced by such traditions as Kantian idealism. and American Protestant religious thought. which shows certain resemblances to James not just in its content but also in the manner of presentation. He adopts several of the major features found in the writings of his cohort but does so in a less systematic and more literary form. Before turning to Gorky’s writings on God-building it will be useful to review the broader movement. while the major figures all shared somewhat similar concerns and often went back to the same sources. and his tendency to compose lectures or essays aimed at a broad audience. but so too was his very method of writing. Read. was far removed from the abstract. and both are concerned with aspects of the individual in that world. as has been noted by various scholars (e. While the very interest in Nietzsche was a factor that united all . it is not unreasonable to suppose that he gleaned some kindred ideas from the essays in The Will to Believe.192 Barry P. and the Nietzschean notion of a perfected mankind in the future (Religious and AntiReligious Thought. p. not only was James’s thought opposed to that of the Hegelians. which. would seem very far removed from the followers of Hegel who. the efforts by the “young Hegelians” to transform theology (the philosophical study of God) into a philosophical study of man. 77. God-building does not refer to a single coherent movement. Indeed. pp. 103-108). since Gorky‘s own ideas were constantly evolving) of God-building can be discovered.g. First. that work. British empiricism. Kline has described links between the seemingly antagonistic Nietzsche and Marx: both are oriented toward the future of mankind rather than toward the past. however. dense. When he did come across the 1910 translation of The Varieties of Religious Experience. along with Nietzsche. Williams. for all its “American muddle. In the following pages. George Kline has cited three chief sources for the ideology behind “God-building”: nineteenth-century Russian radical thought. had the most direct influence on the various Marxist theoreticians who were close to Gorky during the years of God-building.

177). hardly sees the individual as necessarily remaining a passive recipient of what life brings. at some of the actual writings of Bogdanov and Lunachar~ky. want still more. they too were hardly monolithic in their thought. Anatoly Luncharsky. was more of a “collectivist.” p. is more Nietzschean than Marxist (p. to rule over nature (1: 38-41).” even though certain concepts found in his writings are also important for suggesting a link between God-building and the thought of William James. thus it becomes a tool that the ruling classes can use to maintain the status quo (1: 62-64). Shifting more into a Marxist mode of thought. As a result. pp. God-building seeks to replace conventional religion. albeit briefly and only partially. God-building. 34-41). the Nietzschean Marxists differed over whether those phenomena should take on collective or individual forms (“‘Nietzschean Marxism’ in Russia. belief in magic has been replaced by belief (or faith) in labor and in the individual’s own capabilities. according to Kline. At this point people. then. whose theoretical writings made him the most prominent of these figures in his day and the major opponent to Lenin among the Bolsheviks right after 1905 (Williams. 170).” with the latter somewhat closer to Nietzsche than the former. The critical leap in his thinking is the notion that religion normally (but not always. turns out to be a major influence on “God-building’’ among the Russian Marxists. but in Lunacharsky‘s highly optimistic and human-centered view it resolves the contradictions between the human needs and what life provides by conquering the elements through labor and technology. that their acting on it will eventually prove so powerful that the individual will move from self-defense to the attack. and that in modern times.~ In Religion and Socialism Lunacharsky makes the claim that religion is fundamental to human endeavor and creativity: “the first steps of religion are inextricably linked to the first steps of science and poetry” (1: 37). In essence.Gorky and God-Building 193 these revolutionaries in opposition to Lenin at the time that God-building was coming to the fore. Thus it is possible to divide the Nietzschean Marxists into “collectivists” and “individualists. admits Lunacharsky) provides not just an explanation and an ally for coping with the world as it is but also a justification for that world. Marxist that he is. with a religion that exalts science and the individual. with the advancement of science. Lunacharsky goes on to say that religion arises naturally through the efforts of humans to explain the contradictions between their needs and what life gives them (1: 54-55). restless in the pride of their accomplishments. But Lunacharsky. . Aleksandr Bogdanov. He says that people need to act on nature in a rational way. In dealing with free will and creativity. based on fear of the unknown and submission. whom Kline describes as more “individualist” in his orientation. To gain an understanding of the lines of thought that led to the emergence of God-building it is important to look. The religious impulse remains.

The set of ideas that came to be called Empirical Criticism (or Empiriocriticism) had arisen in Central Europe under the influence of (the non-Marxists) Ernst Mach and Richard Avenarius. laboring collective (3: 50).. 304-305). 39). an organizing form of experience that would shape the socialist view of the masses” (p. “A.” pp. A. some of the concerns found in his writings enter into Gorky’s comments on the topic. By the 1920s. Bogdanov was to become more sensitive to the oppressive possibilities of the collective.. but he continued to believe. The key point. whether physical or mental. but. But. highlighted by Bogdanov’s emphasis on mankind (chelovechestvo) rather than Lunacharsky‘s (individual) man (chelovek). for him “collectivism was a religion. it is important not to leave out the “collectivist” view. He may be less interested in religion per se. Bogdanov.g. among others. in his utopian manner. Bogdanov is also notable for working out the notion that he termed Empiriomonism. It would also be an ideology. as Williams notes. Clowes. as central as Nietzschean ideas were to God-building. . and even promised a triumph over death. and it is interesting to note how many of the recent discussions of God-building take place in the context of discussing Nietzsche’s influence in Russia (see. that are scientifically knowable.194 Barry l? Schert This faith in the ultimate power of the individual to triumph has a strongly Nietzschean element. Kline. Lunacharsky himself refers to Nietzsche more than once in his book. but by the organized. he was frequently attacked for a central formulation in his thought: “Mankind. Looked at as a whole. Tait). . Bogdanov is heading in the same direction as Lunacharsky. with his idealistic glorification of the power of labor. Bogdanov goes out of his way to stress that he does not mean that people create the world but that they perceive its natural laws in an objective fashion. e. is ultimately the glorification of the collective above the individual. organizes the world for itself” (3: 47). which is more evident in the writings of Bogdanov. [ Clollectivism would provide a surrogate ‘victory over death‘ in which the individual would live on through the memory of the collective. which consists of ”neutral” elements. though. Science does not therefore deal with . Despite his emphasis on the collective rather than the individual. Loe. in its labor and cognition. Bogdanov’s thought is most notable for its emphasis on systems and on organization. and that objectivity is not obtained by the individual. that a heightened cultural awareness and scientific progress would prevent the collective from encouraging passivity and would also prevent the emergence of an “organizational elite” within it (Sochor. As Bogdanov himself notes. with its emphasis on science and the leading intellectual trends of his day? While Bogdanov lacked Lunacharsky’s interest in religion (and thus is not central for God-building proper). There is something very modern in his marxism. Their key belief was that knowledge of the world could be gained only through immediate experience.

a sense that those in the future will benefit from the deeds of the best individuals in the present. Loe). his profound interest in religion made him closer to Lunacharsky in many respects. takes pains to point out that Gorky should not be seen as a pupil of Lunacharsky “first of all because of the discernible differences between the two. Sesterhenn undertakes an exploration of Gorky’s work going well back into the 1890s. This is a specific instance of his more general theory. In some cases (“The Story of the Siskin Who Lied and of the Woodpecker. were in the early work (cf. which centered on the notion of “organization. whose study of God-building is the most complete to date. pp. As for Gorky. a Lover of Truth” [ 18931 or “The Reader” [ 18981) it is possible to find direct echoes from Nietzsche.Gorky and God-Building 195 the discovery of some abstract “truths. although Gorky’s particular reading of Nietzsche and an admixture of elements that would appear to have come from (or via) Bogdanov caused him to move in directions very much his own. but also because many of Gorky’s ideas about God-building were in place before he would have come across Lunacharsky’s own ideas on the topic (pp. most notably the . thereby replacing Mach‘s dualistic approach with a monistic one. and power that emanate from his rebels against society.135-139). it is not difficult to find in the work of his early period such Nietzschean elements as a glorification of the strong. to note just how prevalent some of the Nietzschean elements. Both Bogdanov’s collectivism and his emphasis on direct experience were to prove important for the development of Gorky’s ideas on God-building. critical for Gorky’s version of God-building. like several of his cohort. In part to justify this point of view. especially his Thus Spuke Zurathustra. For all that Gorky was later to be hailed as the inspiration of socialist realism. but to Mach and his followers. hence “Empiriomonism” (Boll. 41-46). Bogdanov instead tried to offer a historical (Marxist) explanation to find relationships between the physical and mental elements. creativity. he asserted that all experience could be approached through a single principle.” The elements that comprise experience do not appear singly but in various combinations which exhibit organized features. science is relative in its truth. To Lenin.” but with the creation of hypotheses. Raimund Sesterhenn. but he felt that the movement was too descriptive and accepting of the status quo. was attracted to the scientific aura of Empirical Criticism. and the qualities of freedom. the whole point was the discovery of absolute truth based on evidence. he went on to claim that a universal organizational process applies to all phenomena on all levels. an emphasis on the need for courageous and bold action. which improve as the study of experience improves. In other cases. ranging from the sphere of the atom to that of society (Bogdanov 3: 30-33). the individual figures or the story lines simply provide strong hints of an influence. Bogdanov.

in retrospect. This emphasis on religious feeling appears as well in what. when people will know a harmonious development of their capabilities and will experience an inner unity (contrast the split between reason and feeling represented by the two chief male figures in Mother). ~ focus on the power of the individual.6 Here he states that “religious feeling is joyful and proud in its consciousness of a harmonic link that unites Man and the Universe” (p. everything else is the product of his hands and his mind. his 1907 response to a questionnaire on the topic that had been sent out by the journal Mercure de France. Sesterhenn suggests a revealing contrast between the protagonist. 593) and talks as well of “Man’s joyous feeling of inner freedom” and of his hopes for the future. God) comes out clearly during Satin’s famous speech from Act IV of The Lower Depths ( 1902. M-a-n! How magnificent! How proud that word sounds! M-a-n! (PSS. 36-40). 8: 56-57). as the representative of reason. 108)..196 Barry P.. Pavel. Particularly notable in this regard is his 1906 novel. are associated with religious imagery. can be seen as Gorky‘s programmatic statement on religion. He also points to the figure of Rybin. significantly. the chief interest from the modern reader’s viewpoint probably lies in the novel’s explorations of its characters’ spiritual yearnings rather than in the work‘s inflated revolutionary rhetoric. 7:177) It was Nietzsche as well who pointed out that in his own day a religious feeling or sensibility was on the rise. The topic appears sporadically throughout his work and appears to have become particularly intense in the period just preceding the emergence of God-building. Mother. who seems to have been inspired by a religious impulse throughout much of his life. That this was broadly true in Russia at the turn of the century is evidenced by the very appearance of a concept such as God-building among Russia’s Marxists. but this brief utterance already contains much of what he was to mean by God-building. Both. In his expo- . everything is for mankind! Only man exists. Gorky had not yet come up with the precise word. who wants to start a new religion among the peasantry. Scherr “vagabonds” (or b ~ s i a k i ) This . 238-250). It is only a slight exaggeration to say that this work is built on an unresolved and at times problematic tension between its overt political emphasis and its undercurrent of religious belief (see Scherr. as the representative of feeling (pp. It was also true of Gorky himself. hence pre-God-building): Everything is in mankind. on the human being’s capability for creating anything (including. even as theism itself was on the wane (Kline. Indeed.create a God who is a friend of the people” (PSS. by implication. Religious and Anti-Religious Thought. p. especially pp. This character states at one point that it is necessary to “invent a new faith . and his associate Andrei Nakhodka.

the faith in endless progress. The optimism with which the future is regarded.. While largely agreeing with Gorky‘s pronouncements on religion.Gorky and God-Building 197 sition. anthropologism. is an . what is more. Matvei.the person with a religion of labor. he sees a spiritual perfection which will lead to the emergence of a new psychological type (a “new man”) who. and economism (11: 31). is his 1908 novel. was a (the highest) form of “naturalist religion. 126). points to the profoundly religious nature of the work. can worship only what is human (11: 42). i. The fictional work in which Gorky writes about God-building most directly.” or a religion which submits to the forces of nature (11: 36). Lunacharsky took him to task on one point. Still.While Lunacharsky‘s objections to Gorky’s casual phrase could seem excessive (and he seems to be apologizing for making so much of so little in his own article). The phrase that launched Lunacharsky‘s attack seems to reflect in part the process of translating from Russian into French and then back into Russian. and that he is not afraid to allow something of the mystical to creep into his writings on the topic. in which even the title. which refers specifically to the church rite. will make continual advances in the arts and science (Sesterhenn. and the conviction that there are no limits to human potential also resonate with more conventional marxism and foreshadow notions that were to be expressed in much pro-Bolshevik fiction of the 1920s as well as socialist realist writings of the subsequent decades. as something which my descendants will overcome” (Selected Letters. not one. religious feeling is presented as a dynamic force.” is instructive. Gorky’s own phrasing referred not to the universe but to “the spirit of all life” (Archive 14: 22). He labels the harmonic link between man and the universe as “cosmism”and contrasts it to another element. p. He notes that there are really two religious feelings being described by Gorky. A Confession. The protagonist. in his letter responding to Lunacharsky‘s article. in approaching nature more as conventional religion does.e. his comments and the reply do hint that Gorky is not limited by socialist strictures in his approach to religion. variously called humanism. expressed in his article “The Future of Religion. That disagreement. in living up to his full potential. would open the door to mysticism. To insist on a harmonic link of man and the universe would be to create a dualism in socialist thought and. pp. according to Lunacharsky. But the socialist. Cosmism. Gorky went on to reassert an ultimate harmony: “I am inclined to look upon nature’s imperfections and its enmity toward me as imperfections in my own cognitive mechanism. historicism. indeed the work in which he coins the very term. it expands the consciousness of the individual and creates a sense of pride and joy. There is also a future-oriented historical dimension to Gorky‘s sense of religion.161-162).

but finds the monks to be no better than people on the outside. of course. and that this spirit of equality is expressed through the figure of Christ. The God-builders are the common people. motivates Matvei’s actions throughout. is presented as someone without permanent links to others. goading it into action” (PSS. The people. meanwhile are divided into the eternal God-builders and those who are slaves of the drive to gain control over the God-builders. understand that the law of life is not in exalting a single individual but in raising everyone to a higher level. Having decided to go to Siberia. almost an older if more spiritual version of the bosiak the new religion is still very much made up of individuals. p. After parting with Iegudiil. pointing to the need for an entirely new type of religious feeling. comprise a coherent vision of God-building and perhaps the most effective summary of Gorky’s own religiosity. A quite different view of the individual’s transformation appears in Gorky’s essay “Destruction of the Personality” (1909). 9: 340). If the earlier works put a greater emphasis on the strong figure. 213). He talks of faith as a great and creative feeling. His lack of ties and his interest in creating a new religion also. here individualism is attacked in Iegudiil’s description of life’s law. Iegudiil. the latter have distorted the true meaning of Christ (PSS 9: 341). People. is significant in this vision. Scherr orphan who wanders about Russia as a kind of spiritual pilgrim. Gorky emphasizes the corruption and evil in the existing order. the prophet of the new religion. he says. Matvei goes on to work at a factory where he feels a union of strength between himself and his fellow workers. In a scene of religious fervor at the end of the novel a sick girl is able to walk again because of the mass spirit of the workers. He goes to various monasteries. somebody who is in his own way seeking God. Throughout. a former priest and monk. The view of God-building in the novel marks a departure for Gorky in several ways. but out of an abundance of strength: God lives within us. not a single person. to find significance in one’s life. he is resting by the road when an old man named Iegudiil comes by. Due to Lenin’s objec- . bears a certain resemblance to Zarathustra in his enthusiasm for life and impious attitude toward formal religion (Clowes. this force is enormous and always badgers a youthful human intellect. And yet Matvei is the individual seeker. and it is the masses. spread over a single long passage in the latter part of the novel. And the very need to believe. The figure of Christ as a revolutionary not only sympathetic to the people but also of them. who heal the child. who are immortal and who comprise life’s essence (9: 342). His various utterances. hint at a connection to Rybin in Gorky’s Mother. not outside. who is a child of the people (9: 348). and Iegudiil.198 Barry P. And he goes on to say that God is not created out of human weakness. the human incarnation of God. which “arises from an abundance of the life force in man.

and despite Bogdanov’s support. because the masses already possess it. At the end of part 2 Gorky finally comes to express a kind of God-building without God: “Our earth will one day appear in the universe as the place where life has conquered death. The “I” is said to have emerged out of the need for specializationwithin the larger community. Gorky starts out with an assertion about the creative power of the mass over the individual: “In myth and the epos.” which is in fact largely the point of the essay.thereby narrowing and distorting its tasks. or when the individual tries to assert authority over the collective. It consists of two parts. needs to create an immortal God and to make the masses acknowledge the god-like qualities of the “I.in order to preserve their position. as soon as that link is weakened or lost. . The title of the collection turns out to be significant. it came into conflict with the immortal God created by the individual. It is not difficult to discern here the direct influence of Bogdanov. the creative impulse withers. Gorky develops the notion that individuals can express their f u l l creative potential only when they are imbued with the spirit of the collective. in addition to the greater emphasis on the collective. a shorter and more theoretical introduction. the individual also killed off the external source of its own creativity. The collective does not have to seek immortality. and makes its forces serve the will of the people to bring them happiness” (PSS 24: 78-79). For present purposes. followed by an analysis of developments from the nineteenth century up to the time of the article. then here he is more Bogdanovist. as the place where the free art of living for art. Here. will arise! The life of mankind consists of creativity. originally submitted to the Bolshevik newspaper Proletarian at the beginning of 1908. In killing off that God. can also mean something like “Disintegration of the Individual.it is the collective creativity of an entire people that is expressed. individuals had to limit the creativity of the collective. however.~ The Russian title.” most often translated as here. of striving for victory over the resistance of lifeless matter. the individual. contemporary individualism is attempting to resurrect the notion of God in order to regain its lost strength (PSS 24: 30-31). not the individual thinking of a single person” (PSS 24:26). “Razrushenie lichnosti. of creating the magnificent. .” But as the “1”’s power grew. Though at first the “I” maintained its close link with the collective. and at numerous places elsewhere in the essay. Gorky is moving away from . was initially rejected and then published in a 1909 collection entitled Essays on the Philosophy of Collectivism.eventually. the essay. most of the key passages are to be found in part 1. if A Confession displays Gorky in a more Lunacharskian (or at least individualistic) approach regarding the path toward God-building. leading to a focus on the Russian intelligentsia and particularly its need to battle against philistinism. or colle~tivist.Gorky and God-Building 199 tions. as in language . of the desire to conquer all its secrets.

a similarity exists between Soviet criticisms of James and the reasons for Lenin’s harsh rejection of Bogdanov: the emphasis on experience. it will be recalled. which is seen as neutral and not coming with any necessary values attached to it.”More relevant to God-building. among others.” If truth is to be gleaned through experience. 21-27). his reduction of reality to pure experience (which was seen as a rejection of objective reality) and for his pragmatic approach to the notion of “truth. then there is little room for the Leninist-Marxist notion of “scientific.” with its insistence on the inherent social significance of knowledge or historical processes. “agnostic. Even in the absence of any direct link to Gorky. On the other hand.” Both cornerstones of his thought were seen as presenting an American (capitalist) outlook supporting the status quo and ignoring laws of social development (Ryder. While much of what has been described would seem to bear little relationship to the James of The Varieties of Religious Experience.”but also “reactionary” and “imperialist.” pp. be it Empiriomonism or Radical Empiricism.200 Barry I! Scherr some of the religious motifs found in A Confession. and Avenarius (i. with its praise of “Man” and its presentation of a spiritual wan- . The political context aside. among other things. Mach. And yet the similarities are equally striking: there. it could be argued that a Jamesian “will to believe” underlies Marx’s views on the issue of class (Gavin. it would be worth noting that James was treated hardly any better in Soviet publications than were the “deviations” of the Nietzschean Marxists. 357-377). in both there is almost a mystical sense of the power that can arise through the will of the masses. where the formal church plays no role and the collective gives rise to immortality.e. In discussions of James. too. from a philosophical or political point of view. “Some Marxist Interpretations”). by going back to classical marxism.. some modern (non-Soviet) commentators have even seen points of affinity between James’s idealistic pragmatism and the social idealism of the early M a n (Gavin. a modern political note often appeared: in brief biographical descriptions he was regularly labeled. is. not only “subjective. the individual gained strength through his link to the collective. it is of course necessary to keep in mind that Gorky would have been well along on the path that led to God-building even before his discovery of James. while The Lower Depths. “Dewey. within Soviet philosophical circles James’s pragmatism was attacked as related to the ideas of Nietzsche. The Nietzschean elements. pp. various kinds of parallels do exist. and here too there is a distinction between the old religion (that which needs to create an immortal God) and the new. were present even from the early 1890s. some of the major influences on Bogdanov circa 1905). Marx. To turn more specificallyto Gorky and God-building.8 James himself is specifically taken to task for.

”9 (Note the approximate similarity to Lunacharsky’s description of the manner in which religion originates. “Is Life Worth Living?” while implying that belief is a necessary step for overcoming pessimism. The second essay in that collection. “To trust our religious demands means first of all to live in the light of them. 3 9 4 1 ) . 56). several of the concepts presented by James could well have strengthened and directed Gorky‘s efforts to work out a religious philosophy of his own.” Second. that of believing the natural world to be “a sign of something more spiritual and eternal than itself.” rooted in “the contradiction between the phenomena of nature and the craving of the heart to believe that behind nature there is a spirit whose expression nature is. first of all. 42-43). the notion that belief itself can overcome pessimism and make life worth living runs throughout Gorky’s work at this time and is an essential component of God-building. James says that he does not want to argue about the existence of God. those who experience a different inner need. “Is Life Worth Living?”asks the reader to imagine a person who is contemplating suicide due to a pessimistic outlook on life.) The two ways out of this pessimism.” and.pp. so be it. but to show that. pp. However. he does. in characters such as Matvei in A Confession (to say nothing of several figures in The Lower Depths). if He does exist.” find that their demand is just as strong as that of those who seek scientific laws of the universe. “Reflex Action and Theism” represents an effort by James to argue that theism “satisfied the demands of practical rationality” and that through it “lay deliverance from debilitating melancholy” (Levinson. Even so. says relatively little about the directions in which belief should go. While Gorky does not take on scientific thought with the boldness of James. First. are either that the need to read the facts religiously could cease. or “supplementary facts may be discovered or believed in” (WB.’O In arguing that it is perfectly acceptable to believe. he asserts that even scientific “truth” starts not so much with fact as with an inner need to gratify the human desire for establishing a harmonious and logical universe. He “would form the . which is short on specifics but long on the power that arises from the ability of people to believe in themselves. 51-52). deal with similar states of desperation on the part of his figures to understand the world: they are trying to satisfy a need that lies outside the answers provided by “science. if we are not certain. Two other essays in the collection are more important in this regard.Gorky and God-Building 201 derer in the figure of Luka predates the Russian publication of The Will to Believe. The answer that James himself works toward in this essay is quite modest: “Believe that life is worth living. In a famous passage. says James. for even “the world of physics is probably not absolute” (pp. and your belief will help create the fact” (p. he says. and to act as if the invisible world they suggest were real. James asserts that this kind of pessimism is “an essentially religious disease.

if one knew that submitting to this passional need were wrong. . The rationale for God. belief is important not because it can explain the actual order of things (though according to James a belief in God might be an accurate representation of the way things are). While both tend to frame their discussions more in social than in moral terms. Here. looks toward religious feeling as an energizing force.p. then it becomes necessary to do battle on their behalf: “The capacity of the strenuous mood lies so deep down among our natural human possibilities that even if there were no metaphysical or traditional grounds for believing in God. their concern is more with the power and the significance that is to incur to those doing the building. “The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life” goes on to consider. neither Gorky nor Lunacharsky focuses on the “God” who is to be “built”. which expands the capabilities of the individual and gives them the power to make their lives better. and getting out of the game of existence its keenest possibilities of zest” ( WB. In both.202 Barry I? Scherr most adequate possible object for minds framed like our own to conceive as lying at the root of the universe. The last section of the essay uses words such as “strenuous. and that he would “forfeit [his] sole chance in life of getting on the winning side” if he were not willing “to run the risk of acting as if my passional need of taking the world religiously might be prophetic and right” ( WB. anything more than God is notpossible” ( WB. 31).”“endurance. is by implication similar to that given by James: such a being is necessary to make sense of and to give both order and direction to the universe. Again. Yeager has argued that James is not giving license to belief in all cases. he specificallyemphasizes the opposite: that there is an inner will to believe. supporting our own strenuous efforts” (Vanden Burgt. Here the notion is not so much that belief gives comfort or solace. In essence-and this could .Anything short of God is not rational.”“strong. D. Gorky uses the notion more for a social and historical purpose. but for the manner in which it expands human capabilities. 93). though. the demands placed on the believer.”and “courage”to describe the qualities incumbent upon the person who believes in a God. . 481. not really stated by Gorky. then relying on this need offends neither intellect nor duty (pp. M. 161). Gorky.p. In the title essay of the collection James offers yet another rationale for belief. . then one should not do so. once the imperative ideals are given the significance of representing an accepted world order.” he argues that the mere fact that we do not absolutely know faith to be “true” does not give us grounds for rejecting it.474). God becomes more human-centered. men would postulate one simply as a pretext for living hard. as in “Reflex Action and Theism. both at the end of A Confession and also in his answer to the Mercure de France questionnaire. but that “God is an energizing force in life. among other things. p. p. James uses God as psychological and philosophical construct. But in the absence of such proof.” “energy. 20). In fact.

315-316). otherwise he would exist on a totally different plane (Vanden Burgt. pp. Furthermore. if God were omnipotent and perfectly good.g. James. As we have seen. p. p. Vanden Burgt. His God is specifically finite. and in a manner that has evoked controversy. p. . In the lectures that comprise The Varieties of Religious Experience. in James’s formulation. acts. and experiences of individual men in their solitude. and that unless the need turns out to be pernicious. viewed in this way. who represents the best of the human race (and not something totally different or beyond it). 145) would go so far as to say that his conception of God is the weakest aspect of his religious philosophy. in another oft-quoted passage. cf. as well as in his emphasis on the sense of harmony arising from religious feeling-James is saying that the need for belief is inherent. especially in The Varieties of Religious Experience.105). This concern with evil (and with the battle against it) is central to James. simply a greater and more inclusive being than humans. he would have found something very close to James’s view to meet the needs of his God-building: a God who is finite. then not to believe is cutting off the possibility for a profound fulfillment. 272. Note that this God need be only “psychologically real”. 311). in his earlier essays he already defined belief in God as causing the individual to work more strenuously toward the improvement of the world: “James’s God is psychologically real to the individual and induces that individual to participate more vigorously in the actualizing of life’s possibilities” (Alexander. who induces people to fight against the evil in the world and to strive toward a greater good. 34). who inspires people toward good actions-comprise something close to certain aspects of James’s concept of God. then that concept would clash with the reality of evil and would leave people with no role to play in deciding the fate of the universe (Cooper. James does. truth is not just epistemological but also social and historical (Bruns. It is perhaps not too great a reach to argue that. 112-113). had Gorky paid more attention to the notion of God. James. defines religion for his purposes as “thefeelings. so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine” (p. God is not a metaphysical being but simply a way of talking about experience. pp. to talk about the nature of God in much greater detail. and who ultimately represents not a theological entity but instead a useful way of talking about and modeling reality. go on. p. In this regard Gorky‘s references to Christ-as a figure more on the human level. p. Since according to his pragmatism any idea that helps deal with reality or its belongings is “true” of that reality. VRE. then the notion of God represents the (or rather “a”) truth. 3 12). Some (e. of course. James starts with the notion that God is at least a reasonable hypothesis of the human mind (Alexander.Gorky and God-Building 203 well have been a critical point for Gorky in his presentation of such characters as Matvei.

on saintliness. and furthermore on the more extreme cases that embody intense experiences. pp. Those who are genuinely saintly are able to serve as a positive force in society by encouraging reform and pointing to the dangers of purely material comfort. He then goes on to group the individual testimonies in chapters with titles such as “The Sick Soul. for it is precisely here that James makes a comprehensive effort to ascertain the worth of religion “in terms of human nature.” “Saintliness. along with its focus on the individual. is worthy of respect since it recognizes the existence of evil more profoundly than do the “healthy-minded’’(Moore. in one of his essays in The Will to Believe. Such negative features of religion as bigotry and religious persecution result from the efforts of religious institutions to impose their will upon others. they thus play a crucial role in enabling society and then the world to become a better place (xli). included as well an awareness of the larger group (not quite the Marxist collective. the social order. p. to the extent James reflects mainstream American Protestantism. the novel probably could have been called The Conversion) when he accepts the God-building notions of Iegudiil. Surprisingly. is less a purely religious phenomenon per se than an acceptance of belief that allows the individual to overcome the divided self (or to heal the sick soul).” James had talked as well of the interaction between the individual and the community. 88). William Spohn (1994) nonetheless finds that. Smith points out in his introduction to The Varieties. according to Spohn.” “The Divided Self. James’s outlook on religion. firsthand individual religious experience is innocent (p. but at least the community) and. Gorky’s Matvei is just such a sick soul.204 Barry I. In a spirited defense of James. m i ) . and on the role of great men. meanwhile. 58). Earlier. As John E. the lectures on saintliness deserve more attention than they have received. he thought in terms of societies as evolving toward what would presumabiy be a better future (Levinson. “Great Men and Their Environment. 79-81). a degree of elitism can indeed be detected in his approach to religion. in contrast. while the individual will not have an effect if that impulse cannot gain the sympathy of the community ( W B . the notion of conversion. In other words. and his focus on the individual can also be said to . Yet. mix).! Scherr His emphasis is on the individual.”and so forth. p. James’s own focus on action. 174). James has been accused of “elitism” precisely because of his emphasis on private emotions that are experienced only by the few (Lash. his faith in democratic procedures. When Gorky read these lectures he could well have come across some familiar concepts.” “Conversion. The sick soul. p. and the course of history” (VRE. as presented in James. who is able to overcome his condition (indeed. noting that the latter stagnates without the impulse of the individual. more important. For instance. There are some pitfalls in this insistence on extreme experience. James’s remarks on saintliness turn out to be particularly appropriate.

his instances often bear the traces of the world that he knew best. First. Be that as it may. Iegudiil) seem to have experienced religion in precisely that way: they have attained a direct. and yet it still needs to be considered in any general discussion of religion (Levinson. Johnson. mysticism. Gorky on the one hand would have been opposed to mysticism as such (and this topic is just one of several that could have caused his mixed response to the lectures). 41). Here too James has been criticized. it cannot be investigated in the way that other religious experiences can. 114-115). who attempted suicide in 1887. During two of his later lectures on religious experience James dealt with another controversial topic. to strike a biographical note. 402-405). pp.was also not without his moments of melancholy. reflected an inner need of his own. there are no minds and bodies . unreflective union with the “more” that James sees to be at the center of his inquiry.Gorky and God-Building 205 have “endorsed the most common American spirituality of the time while jettisoning its outmoded doctrinal baggage” (Spohn. pp.”or depression (Perry 2: 324. Indeed. in Varieties (pp. p. Since mystical experience is so intensely private and unreflective. and yet it is worth noting that his wandering holy men (Luka. James’s approach is. Jantzen). Mysticism. pluralistic. 134-135) he offers a direct account of his own experience. in that it allows for the wide variety of experiences. Second.). as Wesley Cooper notes: “Ultimately the world is not dualistic but monistic. . it needs to be kept in mind that for all of James’sefforts to avoid linking his ideas to a specific religion. in giving people a direct. much of the impetus for James’s interest in religion came from his own crises and his own bouts with “melancholy. pp. Several other points that can be made about James’s investigations of religion are also of particular significance for Gorky. Gorky. pp. And yet that very pluralism can be seen as reflecting a monistic outlook. if they can reach it at all. and it could reasonably be argued that his own intense interest in religion. primarily for focusing on intense experiences that are not necessarily at the core of Christian mysticism (cf. . in the various stages of organization that give us the experience of a more or less ordered cosmos” (p. 2 14-2 15). provides an experience that is different in kind from the religious experience of the person who is simply aware of a continuity with a wider self (VRE. unreflective knowledge that others struggle to reach. which after all put him in a distinct minority among the Marxists with whom he was associated by the time of God-building. disguising his source by claiming that the “original” is in French. And yet James himself purposefully lists examples from several traditions (VRE. 265). He is less interested in the narrow specifics of mystical experiences in any one tradition than in their general consequences (Hood. pp. 145-146). but rather a pluralistic monism of pure experiences in all their variety. 317ff. Compare Gorky’s comment in his letter to . if anything.

James is less concerned with notions of immortality as such.206 Barry P. Finally. Religion. so too could this list of differences. this analysis has turned James into a God-builder (or Gorky into a Jamesian) while gliding past the profound differences that separate the two: Gorky begins with the social and historical aspects of the issue. feeling which leads to the sense of a link between the individual and the universe.126). while James starts with the psychological and philosophical. Later in that same letter he excitedly refers to a notion he heard from Bogdanov: “And if there is unity of matter and force. To be sure. In Gorky. the previous pages have been devoted to showing that there are enough affinities between James’sthought and God-building so that Gorky‘s reading of the essays in The Will to Believe might well have shaped the direction he took in his own think- . and that means harmony!” (Selected Letters. 276-277). but it results in a sense of well-being that replaces fear and emptiness (Levinson. Scherr Lunacharsky. 112). Gorky‘s claim that immortality can be found within the collective. equally important to both is the role that “feeling” plays in religious experience. was only one of the ways to attain a united self. But the point is not to arrive at a balance sheet. pp. p. more important than thought in this regard. while for James it is precisely the individual’s relationship with the “more” offered by religious experience that lies at the heart of his investigation.quoted above. even when writing most directly about individual experiences Gorky has in mind the collective as primary. even in fictional accounts. James felt. 400). that means monism is the basic law of the universe. 37-38). but he too talks of the individual attaining deliverance by gaining the awareness that the higher part of the self is continuous with some “more. was meant as a way of dealing with one of the basic fears that causes people to turn to religion. much as Godbuilding gives solace to Matvei. as noted above. James has much to say about the subconscious and the inner motivations of individuals. for whom it was important to maintain a monistic system. pp. which he derived from Bogdanov. The interest in physics serves as a reminder that Gorky tried to frame Godbuilding in scientific terms. he is much less oriented toward the future than is Gorky. Just as the analysis of similarities between James and Gorky could be expanded beyond what has been given here. but Gorky rarely explores these in depth. in which he insists on an ultimate harmony and denies the charge of dualism to Gorky. Interestingly. which contains the impulses and hints that ultimately lead to religious conduct and the development of religious ideas (Moore. p. p.” some unseen world. that is of the same quality as the self (VRE. it is. Rather. James’s entire approach to religion is notable specifically because in making religion a hypothesis rather than a dogma he does not “require anti-scientific premises that are beyond belief for modern minds” (Cooper. it is feeling. although James does talk about improvements in society that result from individuals acting on belief.

Gorky and God-Building


ing about religion. Some years later, when he came across James’s writings again, it could well have been that certain passages in The Varieties of Religious Experience reminded him of his own thoughts at the time of his concern with God-building. One final similarity needs to be highlighted. James, especially in The Varieties, but also in the “popular” philosophical essays of The Will to Believe, is remarkable for the manner in which he manages to engage his audience and to reach a broad readership while discussing enormously complex ideas. Part of the effect results from his reliance on actual case histories (which comprise more than half the text in The Varieties),but also it results from his tendency to operate in a number of different ways more or less simultaneously while discussing religious experience (Nmager, pp. 63-65). As Troels Nnrager goes on to note, the consequent “polyphony” may work better as a rhetorical device than as a research strategy (p. 65), but James’s ability to reach and to influence his reader cannot be denied. In a sense, then, James is at his most successful when he is at his most literary. Gorky as well, of course, is at his most effective when he allows his literary powers full sway; hence, he presents God-building more convincingly in the course of A Confession than in his letters or essays. But the resemblance runs still deeper. Just as James relies both on the sheer accumulation of striking examples and on his power to describe, so too does Gorky achieve his goals through his talent in presenting specific scenes and incidental but memorable characters (Iegudiil, after all, appears for only a relatively brief portion of the novel). Gorky, like James, ultimately creates a whole out of the most disparate parts, but for both it is these very parts, these seeming asides, and their rhetorical skill in conveying them, that engage the reader’s attention and enable each of them to convey so forcefully his own notion of just what comprises religious experience. Notes
1. It is not clear exactly what Gorky had in mind; James’s interest in religion extended into mysticism and a range of practices, so it is possible he asked Gorky about shamanism in Russia. However, no work by James on that topic appears among the unfinished pieces that have since been published in his collected works. 2. Gorky would have read The Varieties only after it had been translated into Russian in 1910. 3. Note that these are not the only Russian sources for the ideas linked to Godbuilding. In her fine discussion of the “collectivist myth” in the early twentieth century, Edith Clowes cites the Marxist critic Andreevich (Evgeny Andreevich Solovyov) as an important influence on Gorky and a forerunner of the ideas that resulted in God-building (The Revolution of Moral Consciousness,pp. 200-209).


Barry P. Scherr

4. For a summary of Bogdanov’s version of Marxism, see chap. 3 (“Bogdanovism”) in Sochor’s Revolution and Culture. 5. Sesterhenn emphasizes the role of the prose poem “Chelovek” (1904) in this regard (pp. 163-174) and also analyzes several other items. Loe, examining an overlapping but different set of works, points to the Nietzschean elements already evident in Gorky’s very first published story, “Makar Chudra” (1892). 6. Gorky’s response, translated into French, appears in Mercure de France 66 (1907): 592-595. Lunacharsky translated the piece back into Russian near the beginning of his article “Budushchee religii” (10: 5-7). A thorough analysis of Gorky’s remarks can be found in Sesterhenn (pp. 43-55). 7. Not surprisingly, Bogdanov himself (3: 127-128) preferred this work to the God-building thrust of A Confession. 8. Interestingly, Mach himself sent a letter to James, praising the book and comparing religion and science: “Religious inspiration is certainly very similar to the scientific inspiration which one feels when new problems first present themselves in a form which is not yet fully clear” (quoted in Perry 2: 341). 9. The need for religious belief as a way out of pessimism pervades The Varieties of Religious Experience as well; thus Roger Johnson (pp. 115-1 16) describes three kinds of “melancholy” that lead to the drive for religion: depression, a sense that life is meaningless, and a fear of the universe. 10. The emphasis in this passage belongs to James, as does that in subsequent quotations from his works.

Works Cited
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.“Some Marxist Interpretations of James’ Pragmatism: A Summary and Reply.” Studies in Soviet Thought 29, no. 4 (1985): 279-294. Gor’kii, M. Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works [SS]). 30 vols. Moscow: GIKhL, 1949-1956. . Polnoe sobranie sochinenii: Khudozhestvennye proizvedeniia (Complete Collected Works: Artistic Writings [PSS]). 25 vols. Moscow: Nauka, 1968-1976. Gorky, Maksim. Selected Letters. Tr. and ed. by Andrew Barratt and Barry P. Scherr. Oxford Clarendon Press, 1997. Hood, Ralph W., Jr. “The Soulful Self of William James.” In The Struggle for SeF A Companion to William James’s “TheVarietiesof Religious Experience,” edited by Donald Capps and Janet L. Jacobs. Newton, Kans.: Mennonite Press, 1995. Pp. 209-219. Jantzen,Grace M. “Mysticism and Experience.” Religious Studies25, no. 3 (1989):295315. Johnson, Roger A. “Varieties of Helplessness and Religious Experience.” In The Strugglefor SeF A Companion to William lames’s “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” edited by Donald Capps and Janet L. Jacobs. Newton, Kans.: Mennonite Press, 1995. Pp. 107-1 17. Kline, George L. “Changing Attitudes toward the Individual.” In The Tranformation of Russian Society: Aspects of Social Change since 1861, edited by Cyril E. Black. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960. Pp. 606-625. . Religious and Anti-Religious Thought in Russia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. . “‘Nietzschean Marxism’ in Russia.” Boston College Studies in Philosophy 2 (1969): 166-183. .“The Nietzschean Marxism of Stanislav Volsky.” In Western Philosophical Systems in Russian Literature: A Collection of Critical Studies, edited by Anthony M. Mlikotin. University of Southern California Studies in Slavic Humanities, No. 3. Los Angeles: University of Southern California Press, 1979. Pp. 177-195. Lash, Nicholas. Easter in Ordinary: Reflections on Human Experience and the Knowledge ofGod. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame, 1988. Letopis’ zhizni i tvorchestva A. M. Gor’kogo (Chronicle of the Life and Works of A. M. Gorky). Vol. 1. Moscow: AN SSSR, 1958. Levinson, Henry Samuel. The Religious InvestigationsofHenry James. Chapel H i k University of North Carolina Press, 1981. Loe, Mary Louise. “Gorky and Nietzsche: The Quest for a Russian Superman.” In Nietzsche in Russia, edited by Bernice Glazer Rosenthal. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986. Pp. 251-73. Lunacharskii, A. V. “Budushchee religii” (The Future of Religion). Obrazovanie 10 (1907): 1-23 and 11 (1907): 30-67. . Religiia i sotsializrn (Religion and Socialism). 2 vols. St. Petersburg: Shipovnik, 1908-191 1. Moore, John Morrison. Theories of Religious Experience: With Special Reference to James, Otto and Bergson. New York Round Table Press, 1938. Nsrager, Troels. “Blowing Alternately Hot and Cold: William James and the Complex Strategies of the Varieties.” In The Strugglefor S e v A Companion to William James’s “The Varietiesof Religious Experience,” edited by Donald Capps and Janet L. Jacobs. Newton, Kans.: Mennonite Press, 1995. Pp. 61-71.


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Perry, Ralph Barton. The Thought and Character of William James. 2 vols. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1935. Read, Christopher. Religion, Revolution and the Russian Intelligentsia 1900-1912: The Vekhi Debate and Its Intellectual Background. London: Macmillan, 1979. Ryder, John. “Soviet Studies in American Thought, Part 11: Pragmatism and Naturalism.” Transactions of the Charles s. Peirce Society 24, no. 3 (1988): 349-394. Scherr, Barry P. “Shadow Narratives and the Novel: The Role of Rybin in Gorky‘s Mother.” Twentieth-Century Russian Literature: Selected Papers from the Fifth World Congress of Central and East European Studies, edited by Karen L. Ryan and Barry P. Scherr. London: Macmillan, 2000. Pp. 25-41. Sesterhenn, Raimund. Das Bogostroitel’stvo bei Gor’kij und Lunai-arskij bis 1909: Zur ideologischen und literarischen Vorgeschichte der Parteischule von Capri. Munich: Otto Sagner, 1982. Sochor, Zenovia A. Revolution and Culture: The Bogdanov-Lenin Controversy. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1988. . “A. A. Bogdanov: In Search of Cultural Liberation.” In Nietzsche in Russia, edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1986. Pp. 293-3 11. Spohn, William C., S.J. “William James on Religious Experience: An Elitist Account?” American Journal of Theology Q Philosophy 15, no. 1 (1994): 27-41. Tait, A. L. “Lunacharsky: A ‘Nietzschean Marxist?”’ In Nietzsche in Russia, edited by Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1986. Pp. 275-292. Vanden Burgt, Robert J. The Religious Philosophy of William James. Chicago: NelsonHall, 1981. Williams, Robert C. The Other Bolsheviks: Lenin and His Critics, 1904-1914. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. Yeager, D. M. “Passion and Suspicion: Religious Affections in ‘The Will to Believe.’” The Journal of Religion 69, no. 4 (1989): 467-483.

James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality
Edith W Clowes

INCE THE DEMISE OF THE SOVIET UNION there has been a small but noteworthy resurgence of interest in the thought of William James. This reception, limited though it may be, so far points to a pattern of concerns in contemporary thought that deserves further probing. The first major event in the post-Soviet reception of James was the 1993 reprinting in a scholarly edition, with a new afterword by the philosopher P. S. Gurevich, of the Russian translation of The Varieties of Religious Experience first published in 1910. This was the first of James’s works to be republished in post-Soviet times.’ What is of interest to his Russian readers is James’s particular approach to religion. In his afterword, “Grumblings of the Soul and Mystical Experience,” Gurevich singles out four points that relate James’s concerns closely to those currently discussed in Russian intellectual circles. They have to do with the notion of pragmatism, the high valuation of intuition in James’s thought, his interest in mystical experience, and his strong emphasis on personal feeling and insight. Gurevich expresses a strong appreciation of James’s positive, “pragmatic” emphasis in his treatment of religion: James is more concerned with the uses of religion for living and finding meaning in one’s life than he is with traditional theological questions about God’s existence and true nature (p. 413). Gurevich calls James’s approach a “phenomenology of religion,” highlighting its orientation toward the clear, sensitive description of religious consciousness unencumbered by theoretical frameworks2 This point will resonate with other Russian writings on religion in which personal use and experience take precedence over institution, doctrine, and ritual.




‘the word “subconscious” still grate[d] on one’s ears. This interest in mystical experience will be a continuing theme among leading Russian thinkers and writers concerned with questions of spirituality in a secular. Mysticism is the foretaste of a productive religious epoch.212 Edith W Clowes On James’s strong endorsement of intuition as a way of knowing that is on a par with. scientific world. 423). He finds James’s attention to individual. direct. observed knowledge over revealed. This point of view is in keeping with a long-lived Russian resistance to Western rationalism and systematicity that values logical. [Mysticism] possesses a solid predictive potential [and] philosophical perspicacity. (pp. reproducible. “subjective” knowledge. 416). and logical arguments are but its superficial manifestation” (p. 4 18). as the philosopher notes. in Gurevich‘s view.’ he articulates the supposition that the ‘something’ with which we interact in religious experience is the subconscious continuation of our conscious life” (p. It serves as a completely independent and self-sufficient medium for perceiving the world” (p. . .” Gurevich also notes the relation of religious experience to the psychic subconscious: “Written in those years when. . Despite this claim. 419-420) Gurevich hastens to address his contemporaries’ scepticism about mystical insight. 420). psychologists. intuitive conviction resides in the depths of our spirit. James’s positive emphasis on mystical experience comes to Gurevich as a welcome relief after decades of single-minded (Soviet) scientific thinking: Today after decades of being isolated from world culture.” James.” he writes. it is interesting to note that Gurevich takes the opportunity to juxtapose James and the famous nineteenth-century Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. students of culture-have found that their own discoveries often share insights similar to those in ancient texts whose authors had no access to modern empiricist theories (p. “lies in its exposure of the phenomenon of religion as a concrete personal relation between the individual and the Divinity. Gurevich‘s final point concerning the significance of personal religious experience is relevant because it resonates so well with overriding issues in lateand post-Soviet religious thought. calling into question Solovyov’s belief that “the content of the absolute can and should be proven true through the reflection of our reason and brought into a logical system. pointing out that scientists and scholars-physicists. however. reason and logic Gurevich remarks: “In James’s opinion. . and even more fundamental than.who relies heavily on rationalism in his thought. we realize that mysticism is by no means just a collection of naive illusions and blind beliefs that darken the blinding light of reason. associative. would argue that “Intuition is in no way an exhaust valve for the cognizing mind. personal experience to be the very finest aspect of The Varieties of Religious Experience: “The chief value of this book.

later. And here we can see a slight. there is a strong centripetal tendency to treat these and other Russian writers and thinkers as the originators of a tradition. For example. “The Renaissance of Anthropology” Gurevich sees the emergence of a “philosophical anthropology” that is based on the “philosophy of pragmatism” and contemporary sociobiology and focuses attention on human nature and personal experience (p. contemporary usage of “pluralism” is probably the relevant one for Epstein’s discussion: along with “democracy.~ a usage of a term will bring James to mind.” “parliament. to an interest in the spiritually integrated personality. These figures are at the center of attention in philosophical circles. the emphasis on individual experience will point us toward a major concern in post-Soviet religious thought: the move away from the mass “homo sovieticus. Major efforts have been made and are still under way to republish works of Solovyov.” and. “Pluralism” suggests to the American philosopher the strong differences between individuals in the realm of personal experience. The Phenomenon ofMan (1993). As Gurevich remarks . In addition. and opinion.”of variety of thought. In contrast. too. Gurevich takes up a position against Michel Foucault’s forecasting in The Order of Things of the death of the self. Beyond these slender references to James and pragmatism there would appear to be little direct response specifically to James in late-Soviet and postSoviet t h ~ u g h tOccasionally . in his introductory article. Frank. Berdyaev. point of view. “privatization. “The Teaching of Yakov Abramov” (199 l). suggesting that he is responding chiefly to the popular Russian usage of the term in the 1980s. but still a possible.”“pluralism” was also one of the key words of the last years of Soviet rule. A more immediate.” who serves the Soviet state. the cultural critic Mikhail Epstein criticizes the word “pluralism” that is central to James’svocabulary. Rozanov. 13). Shestov.James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality 213 Here. In his edited volume of European existential writings. Epstein focuses on the superficiality of the pluralist notion of “difference. in his fictionalized novel-essay. experience. as well as the religious-philosophical criticism of Merezhkovsky and many others. Foucault announces the late-twentieth-century “death of man. A predominant event for many intellectuals in the 1990s was the return to print of the rich corpus of prerevolutionary religious philosophy. Parodying Nietzsche’s announcement of the death of God in Thus Spuke Zuruthustru.” What is meant is the loss of the notion of the integral self as the object of human knowledge in the modern era. Another circumstance to keep in mind when we discuss contemporary responses to non-Russian philosophers is the fervent and rapid republication and reappropriation of Russia’s own religious and philosophical heritage. and it is their thought that is frequently the point of departure for thinkers like Gurevich and Epstein. Florensky. impact of American pragmatism.

Wachtel. The second writer is also the best known to Western readers. who was born in 1950 in Moscow and has now emigrated to the United States. It is interesting to note that the lives of these three men span the whole Soviet era and are witness to the fact that serious religious sensibility. was very active in the glasnost era among younger intellectuals experimenting with cultural limits. which first appeared in tamizdat (unofficial publication outside the borders of the Soviet Union) in 1978 and in English translation in 1987. 16).Among his most creative works is “The Teaching of . The personalism and ancillary notions of healthy spirituality-the suffering spirit. Mikhail Epstein.” “ [ T]he generation of Heidegger and Gadamer were brought up in large part on the ethical works of Tolstoy [and] on the artistic intuition of Dostoevsky that opened up the limitless world of human subjectivity. He has since become best known for his critical “culturology” and his semi-fictional. important parallels between James’s thought and the historical Russian concern with what might be called the religious subconscious do exist and bear discussion. In this atmosphere of national rediscovery there is little likelihood that foreign philosophers will garner much attention. Our next step is to examine the religious writings of three thinkers whose religious sensibility is in some way comparable to James’s.214 Edith W Clowes about Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in his essay “The Renaissance of Anthropology. and mysticismdeveloped in The Varieties of Religious Experience share common ground with quasi-religious Russian experiences. Thus we are justified in drawing on The Varieties of Religious Experience and Gurevich‘s exposition of some of its main points as markers for mapping out a part of the territory of recent Russian religious thought. born in 1918 in M o s ~ o wPomerants . The oldest of the three is Pomerants. from Pisarev’s cult of science in the early 1860’s to the God-seekers’ and God-builders’ mystical search for ecstasy and enthusiasm in the early years of the twentieth century. sanctity. The considerable affinity between James’s own religious disposition and those of his Russian nineteenth. remained vital. He is best known as a personalist and pluralist thinker who rebuked Solzhenitsyn in the 1970s for his attempt to impose new absolutist values. and the cultural theorist Mikhail Epstein. though driven underground. From its beginnings [thinkers in] the personalist tradition in Russian philosophy have been distinguished as pathbreakers” (p. the well-known novelist Andrei Bitov. Andrei Bitov was born in 1937 in Leningrad and became famous for his latter-day modernist novel Pushkin House. semi-critical essays probing religious sensibility. Despite these reservations.~ is an Indologist by training and one of the first people to reintroduce Eastern thought into post-Stalinist intellectual discourse.and twentieth-century counterparts Dostoevsky and Tolstoy has been well illuminated in this volume by Orwin. They are the religious essayist Grigory Pomerants. and Miller.

. .blinder strata of character. are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making. they differ in the ways they treat science. world philosophy was largely closed to students. . are not there. Like Gurevich. while for . 14). poetry or science. scientific culture. Nikolai has chosen to study literature in order to “learn to be human” (Coming Out ofthe Trance. a literature student Nikolai and a science student Viktor argue about which discourse.”“irrational” thinking5 For all the differences between the two thinkers.”in which a number of followers of the philosopher and teacher Abramov try to write down what their mentor said in his conversations. Pomerants does not accept science as absolute truth and argues that our concept of “reality” is shaped through religious experience as well as by scientific observation. (p. a dialogue between three students written as early as the 1950s (when empirical. Pomerants’s efforts to justify individual. the darker. and the need for a concept of selfhood that validates personal. the world of generalized objects. which the intellect contemplates. both Pomerants and Bitov criticize a scientific culture based only on observable. the third dimension. the vital element. as the concept of the seven days of creation is in Jesuit theology” (Coming Out of the Trance. is without solidity or life. as well as “Marxist. 395) Although both validate a notion of subjective selfhood. At the time. In James’sview. despite concerted efforts to erase “subjective. in Pomerants’s view is not as completely segregated from religious thinking as its proponents have claimed. We have a mound of facts that blow the model to bits. 24).the movement. Scientific thinking. As in stereoscopic or kinetoscopicpictures seen outside the instrument. He claims that physics creates as many myths as religion does: “[Wlhere has science gotten to? . and how work is actually done. Words are left-atom. scientific generalization is lifeless.” science had a firm hold on truth).James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality 215 Yakov Abramov. In his early writings from the 1960s (published only in the 1990s in a volume entitled Coming Out of the Trance [ 1995]). has the greater validity. subjective perception. as far from its original meaning. p. The concept of an atom is interpreted in contemporary science as loosely. In “The Survival of an Abstraction” (1953-1959). Some of the major issues with which these thinkers are associated are those we have identified in Gurevich‘s discussion of James: religious need in a secular. vacuum. Compared with this world of living individualized feelings. and directly perceive how events happen. . the truth value of mystical insight. subjective perception can be compared to James’s thought near the end of Varieties: Individuality is founded in feeling: and the recesses of feeling. reproduceable evidence. . p. Pomerants’s thinking resembles that of the earlytwentieth-century physicist and philosopher Pave1 Yushkevich in his emphasis on the strong underlying mythopoetic tendency in scientific writing.

He loves.216 Edith W Clowes Pomerants science is discredited by its unexamined tendency to create myth around its discoveries. The two talk about the relative merits of poetic and scientific thinking. as a group they share certain problematic values. something that science with its narrow attachment to “fact”does not allow. There must be a certain sluggishness in the ethical character of a genuine scientist who has buckets of ideas. . humorously known as Doctor Doctorovich. during which conversations the narrator mounts a serious critique of scientific discourse. and. who is studying the behavior patterns of birds. for example. There is no place here for speculative thinking: [A] certain narrowness is indeed characteristic of science. As Pomerants sees it. by extension. or at best. the role of nature and the environment in our lives. . 42) Although scientists would seem to be very honest about their limitations and admirably rigorous about their definition of the truth. who remains nameless. an icon painter who appears in the second of the book‘s three sections. In scientific discourse there is a gap between the specific detail and the whole theoretical picture. In his most recent work. It is dilettantism. if it is rigorously practiced. Doctor Doctorovich does admit that science. is on the Kurish Spit in the Baltic Sea.” The narrator continues: “I think that it was not I who persuaded him-these thoughts had been pining away in him for a long time now” (p. entitled “Birds” (written in the 1960s). In the first of three main sections of the book. He is visiting an ornithologist-naturalist friend. For example. A beautiful thought taken on faith can lead one far and irretrievably in the wrong direction. For James science simply cannot satisfy the need for personal religious experience. On the other hand. is narrow and spiritually unsatisfying. 44). Doctor Doctorovich himself has needs and desires that are real but cannot be addressed through his scientific approach to reality. It’s true in our thinking there is a gap between the one and the many. In addition. . The Monkey Link (1995). Andrei Bitov is likewise concerned with the limits of scientific thinking. to speculate and play with the possibilities available in existence. (p. A brilliant idea that we cannot prove or confirm by experiment is considered unprofessional. science denies religious need but contradicts itself by serving the religious need for mythic meaning. which concerns itself less with world problems than with things that can be precisely established. Doctor Doctorovich and Pave1 Petrovich. fol- . Bitov also probes a scientific way of thinking. although he loves to poke fun at myths. as it should be. he is often caught spinning his own metaphors. a leisuretime activity. so that “his [scientific] imperative weakened. the first-person writer and narrator. they tend to discount the importance of the irrational in human nature. In his conversations with the narrator Doctor Doctorovich is “seduced” by a more unfettered kind of thinking.

to a state of ecstasy. and sky. 25-26). revivifying relationship between words and things: “Here everything was reserved in this reserve-including the geography. 302). The concretization of concepts. 169). VRE]. waged a “more effective war [on the environment] than war itself” (p. unnatural culture. It follows from this that its quality must be directly experienced. for example. sea. looking to sea and the horizon: “My feet in the sand as if rooted. is the sense of the failure of words to convey deeper layers of experience. a sense of the essential nature of things and the epiphenomena1 character of words. I leaned back against the dune.” hyperrational cast of mind have. woods. and birds were not just close to hand but they answered the innermost fantasies that we have when we pronounce these words with our eyes closed: bay. . One key to mystic experience for James. The narrator steps for a moment as if outside of himself into the idyllic landscape of the sanctuary. Finally. shorelines.James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality 217 low this line of thinking into a debate about the relative value of faith in God and in the theory of evolution and still further to political beliefs and criticism of Soviet ideology.” that he sees in our bookish. He seeks to unite word with thing and then through pure perception to dispense with the word. He goes walking on the dunes and then sits. woods. Once again this idyll is translated into a fresh. birds. p. There was no name for . dunes. To the resolutely and arrogantly empirical methods of science the narrator contrasts a mystical approach to knowing reality. Here the narrator has a quasi-mystical experience: He literally feels himself drawn out of himself. In The Monkey Link Bitov’s narrator experiments with going beyond words to a different consciousness of reality. mystical insight is at the heart of the religious experience. the realization of the dictionary” (pp. For James. bay. For a moment he feels that he has overcome the intellectual’s handicap of knowing the words without having any experience of the things to which they refer. What has been demoted to virtual reality of a writer’s text is now reinstated as the “real. He further describes the state of mind of the person undergoing a mystical experience: “The subject of [the mystical state of mind] immediately says that it defies expression. p. it cannot be imparted or transferred to others” (VRE. It involves the sensation of uniting with some higher power by going beyond oneself and one’s limited consciousness.” The narrator eventually comes to a different consciousness. . This inadequacy of words James calls “ineffability” (VRE. as for Bitov. 380) or “neizrechennost”’(Mnogoobruzie [Rn.p. what we might call the “virtual reality. Doctor Doctorovich admits that all the constructions of the Soviet era with its “scientific. Living on the Kurish Spit he seeks to overcome the verbal abstraction. losing his own “small ego” and his particular take on things. . grasses. that no adequate report of its contents can be given in words. bounded by words and logic. tr. 297).

41). 41) Bitov as a writer can use words more freely to speculate about the ways in which language takes control of our consciousness. his orientation is somewhat different from James’s. seeking simply to go beyond words and their power to limit our perception. beyond it was who knows what. I dragged my feet out of the sand one at a time: the fish was a fish and was called a bream. (p. Even if it reflects the world exactly. that it is at every step of the way. Torn away from this fleeting sense of oneness with nature. as always. I saw a fish. but these words live only in a textbook since we can still look up into the sky sometimes in this mute sense of vision. What do we see: the things or the words that name them? It is at least clear that the world that we cognize has no way to answer our knowledge. It merely reflects it. James is simply asserting the value of inexpressible. frustration at the automatized way in which we are led to frame our thoughts. unique mystical experience as against scientific empiricism. a kind of veil cast over things: Words were finally empty as very light chitonous shrouds mingled together with the sand. Indeed that is what they are-empty. none of them had a name. I sighed. I was troubled at the nominal quality of everything. and our feelings. . I saw the water. I tore my back from the dune through whose eyes I had looked before me for a second. before me stretched out not a fish but water called a bay. 42) Bitov’s works are full of frustrations with language. While Bitov shares with James an interest in what one can know and experience in a transverbal sense. alienated. also layered by someone into spheres and terms. something that science is powerless to do because it is locked in the world of words. our stories. scientific ideology. (p. Bitov is a person brought up in a country commanded by a hyperrationalist. and then the sky-air. I did not know that this was called water. seemingly the only means we have to communicate with one another: frustration at the wrongness and distortions that language visits on the things and people in the world. Bitov calls on his readers occasionally to take a moment to remark on the contingent relationship between words and things. itself an ocean of air. . the bird was not the sky but a seagull. by the way. Bitov is a man . by this sense of being fastened by a knowledge that was in no way contained in the things that I see. And. I became separated from my tongue grumbling inside me that the world exists. Words become transparent. I saw a bird . But the world does not look into this mirror. the narrator then draws his conclusions about language and its tendency to take control of our consciousness of things: The sky alone had no horizon. sky or b i r d (p.218 Edith u! Clowes what I saw. I saw the sky. that here it is.

trying to liberate religion from its irrational qualities. postmodernist or de-totalizing reversal of Plato’s record of Socrates’ conversations or the record of Hegel’s lectures accumulated by his students. this book lists a number of “sects. The New Sectarianism. 1994) to fictionalized criticism (“The Teaching of Yakov Abramov. The first area in which James and Epstein overlap is a concern for linking scientific.James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality 219 looking for mystical experience. the subjective. academic knowledge with religious. whose seeking is justified tangentially by James’s pluralistic view of truth and reality. religion is ultimately a matter of living faith. Ranging from straight cultural criticism oriented toward the question of religious sensibility (Faith and Image.“thrifty domestics” . is to bring moderation and tolerance to our religious drives. even at the level of recording his utterances. Another aspect of Epstein’s work is his description of a variety of religious predispositions set forth in “The Teaching of Yakov Abramov. Epstein shares with James a similar approach to religion and a similar solution to reconciling the secular and the religious. The great contribution of philosophy. While philosophers wiU always place themselves above their subject. Each person’s version evinces a different religious sensibility. The New Sectarianism. Philosophy can be a moderator between science and religion. 1993). Philosophy is powerless to add anything to its authority.6 Since Abramov never wrote his thought down. In Faith and Image Epstein takes the idea of concrete analysis of religion a step further and usefully analyzes religious sensibility as it is expressed in Russian modernist art and literature (from Malevich to Mandelshtam and Pasternak) as well as in late Soviet conceptualist art (particularly Ilya Kabakov). Purportedly written for the “Institute of Atheism” of the Soviet Academy of Sciences as a secret document on intellectuals of the 1970s and 1980s. Epstein’s tale is a clever. subtitled Types of Religious-Philosophical Mentalities in Russia. Probably the writer whose religious sensibility is closest to James’s is Mikhail Epstein.’ Despite its character as a parody of “scientific” academic writing. revealed knowledge.” Here each follower of Abramov is trying to reconstruct the “true” version of Abramov’s thought.” such as “food sanctifiers” (pishchesviartsy). James ends his study with a long lecture on the uses of philosophy for religion.” 1991. Epstein’s writing is most unusual for an academic. this task is impossible. The main weakness of James’s approach is his assurance that philosophers can shed the personal. is perhaps the closest to James’s notion of religious studies. secular. and the fortuitous from their interpretations. James argues. James rejects metaphysics and decides that the most productive relationship between the two is a kind of “religious studies”-an analysis and critique of historical dogma that can juxtapose individual religious sensibilities with the findings of natural science.

In the short Russian summary at the start of the Russian translation of The Varieties ofReligious Experience. by setting forth his own concept of the “religious unconscious. which have their roots in the Marxist sociology of the British Manchester School and the German Frankfurt School (p. in which the subject of analysis is a cultural situation in which religious practice has been repressed or denied. While Freud emphasizes the role of the superego (the authoritative presence of divinity). In the body of his three works on religious sensibility he focuses particularly on the attitudes and feelings that inform religious practice. While culture studies are concerned with cultural. and philological approaches to Abramov’s doctrine that are informed by a definite religious need. Epstein’s culturology is concerned with spirituality and religious psychology and ultimately with “transculture. we must ask ourselves what the “vocabularies of spirituality” that have emerged at the end of Soviet rule might be. Bitov’s original title for The Monkey Link was the old Russian word “oglashennye. Culturology can be usefully seen as an admixture that includes something like James’s religious studies.” As Anesa Miller-Pogacar has shown. religion was pushed into the realm of the unconscious (p. this culturology cannot really be compared to Western culture studies. however trivialized or narrow-minded that may be. 5).” a cultural and spiritual synthesis that can be attained only by standing outside one’s own cultural heritage. In The New Sectarianism Epstein also emphasizes a religious need for ritual and meaning in life.8 The narrow-minded or obsessive mentality of each group is then described and explained. personal experience.” He justifies this departure from the traditional Freudian approach by saying that religion and religious institutions and practice were physically repressed during the seventy years of Soviet rule. Epstein’s characters bring out theological.“provs” or “provincials” (provy). While not precisely “psychological” in James’s or Freud’s sense of the term. In conclusion. and social difference and diversity. indeed. and personal voice. so that.220 Edith M! Clowes (dornovitiane). James and Epstein both emphasize the subliminal need. Neither is concerned with the metaphysical question of the existence of a divinity or its nature. The second area shared by James and Epstein is their approach to a psychology of religion. p.“mindless fools” (duriki). 2. 346). ideological. In “The Teaching of Yakov Abramov” Epstein brings out a wide variety of spiritual dispositions and orientations. 372). Faith and Image.and so forth. All of these books may be seen as examples of what Epstein calls “culturology. philosophical. James’s approach to religion is characterized as the “intrusion of the subconscious into daily life” (Mnogoobrazie.” a word that refers . the level of feeling. Epstein starts his study of religious sensibility in twentieth-century Russian (secular) culture. using a non-Freudian perspective. see also p.

Epstein’s concept of “transculture” includes the results of religious studies and cultural studies.”p. As he puts it in his response to a 1995 forum on “Russian Critical Theory and Postmodernism” in Slavic and East European Journal. While James’s thought is ancillary and clearly “other” to certain major aspects of Russian contemporary thought-for example. Everything. Here is the kind of mentality that gives plausibility to the “sects” described in The New Sectarianism.9 Finally. the Russian emphasis on primal spiritual unity-recent spiritually oriented fiction and criticism can be read with benefit in the light of James’s insights into religious .James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality 22 1 to pagans who have newly accepted Christianity. in Epstein’s view.” “Poor religion” refers to exactly that need for religious faith that people generally experience. In his 1991 newspaper article “The Way in the Desert. 232). is not entirely clear. This concept arises from a very deep religious need to address and overcome the terrible abyss of twentieth-century experience in which many individuals have been torn from their cultural traditions. spiritual notion of selfhood and a move away from the Soviet mass man. racial. The concept of “difference” (razlichie) set forth in “The Teaching of Yakov Abramov” can be compared in some ways to James’s notion of pluralism. p. In his essay. are in a state of “not-belonging. This is an old religious term the sense of which. Epstein suggests that difference functions only on the phenomenal level. focusing on the subliminal religious tendencies in secular culture.” Everywhere we find a concern with “lichnost’.” and now can come together outside national.” “difference. Epstein adds the most to our understanding of post-Soviet spirituality with his concepts of “poor religion. 298).”p. ethnic.” with a generalized.” Epstein points out that there are many former Soviets who simply “believe” without knowing exactly what they believe in and without belonging to a particular faith or knowing anything of traditions that formerly gave meaning to religious practice. in the post-Soviet context and the context of the book itself. but also to demonstrate the incompleteness of each culture and its basic need to enter into dialogue with others” (“Response. What is clear is Bitov’s call to be sensitive to our spiritual needs and values. transculture “attempts not only to recognize the equal rights and inherent value of each culture. emanates from an original unity (“Teaching. “Culture-Culturology-Transculture. While both acknowledge the variety of justified experience and perspectives on any given object.” Epstein relates the term “transculture” to Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of “vnenahkodimost”’ or being located beyond any particular mode of existence or cultural milieu (After the Future. 365).” and “transculture. Gurevich speaks in terms of a new “philosophical anthropology. and sexual divisions. now in the post-Soviet era stripped of all traditional trappings of ritual and dogma.

pluralist approach to religion in a secularized society. James lends another voice breaking through the seemingly unassailable hold on “ t r u t h in the old Soviet Union. Miller-Pogacar gives a helpful treatment of Epstein’s concept of “difference” in “Varieties of Post-atheistic Spirituality in Mikhail Epstein’s Approach to Culturology. stories. I would like to express special thanks to Mikhail Epstein for sharing his rich store of information about Pomerants with me. This work is semi-fictionalized but based on actual field trips into the provinces sponsored by Moscow State University in the 1970s and 1980s. 8. Thanks to Ruth Rischin for this insight. and James. One late title is Obydennoe soznanie i chelovecheskoe bytie (St. James’s The will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy. which he sees as a philosophical answer to the growing pessimism and mysticism current in Russian thought. a young philosopher at Saratov University.” suggest a kind of totality only in reverse: the totality of the Russian alphabet in which “a” is the first letter and “ya” is the last. 6. 350). 1904) was reprinted in 1997 with the title more accurately translated as Volia k vere i drugie ocherki populiarnoi filosofii (Moscow: “Respublika”). His recent work makes use of American pragmatism and particularly Pierce. and sayings that comment on sacred scripts or transmit the teachings of a given Jewish sage.” She sees it as the “undefinable potential to differ” (p. Spb.222 Edith M! Clowes experience. hence. . 2. James’s sympathetic approach to religion and matters of faith lends theoretical support to these searching Notes 1. a midiash. Ruth Rischin has suggested that “The Teaching of Yakov Abramov” may also continue the Talmudic tradition of anecdotes. Petersburg: 1997). This characterization of James’s approach to religion brings Gurevich in line with some American views. There is a clear sympathy between positions of James and Bitov that affirm the value of mystical experience. first published in Russian translation as Zavisimost’ very ot voli i drugie opyty populiarnoi filosofii (literally: The Dependence of Belief on the Will and Other. “A“ and “Ya. Dewey. for example. 1987). etc. Belov works on what he calls “ordinary life philosophy” (obydennaiafilosofiia). 4. 5. It is curious that the initials of Abramov’s name and surname. Epstein’s sensitivity to religious undercurrents in a secular culture answer James’s call for religious studies. 7. All translations from Russian in this chapter are mine. 9. The presence of “poor” religionthat expression of naked religious need in the years after the end of the Soviet Union-is a strong affirmation of James’s personalist. 3. James Edie’s in “William James’s Phenomenology of Religious Experience. 49-64.pp.” in his William James and Phenomenology (Bloomington: Indiana University Press. The volume also contains Pragmatism and several essays. has just very recently come to my attention. The work of Vladimir Belov.

Andrei. Tenafly. 3-23.. N. Moscow: Iurist. . Novoe sektantstvo. Moscow: Vysshaia shkola.“Put’ v pustyne” (The Way in the Desert). (1991): 211-254. The Writings of William James. “Varieties of Post-atheistic Spirituality in Mikhail Epstein’s Approach to Culturology. 1995. Dzheimsa” (Grumblings of the Soul and Mystical Experience: W.” Slavic and East European Journal 39: 3 (fall 1995): 344-356. J. Holyoke.: Hermitage Publishers. John J. “Uchenie Iakova Abramova” (The Teaching of Yakov Abramov). . After the Future: The Paradoxes of Postmodernism and Contemporary Russian Culture. 1995.Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. . . 1991): 10. no. In Fenomen cheloveka (The Phenomenon of Man).: New England Publishing Co. 1993. Novoe russkoe slovo 10. 1993. 1995. Logos 1 . McDermott. Miller-Pogacar. pp. Vykhod iz transa (Coming Out of the Trance).Anesa. James’s Phenomenology of Religion). 2 (June 13.” Slavic and East European Journal 39: 3 (fan . “Roptaniia dushi i misticheskii opyt: Fenomenologiia religii U. Translated by A.James and Vocabularies of Post-Soviet Russian Spirituality 223 Works Cited Bitov. ed. 41 1-424. 1977. pp. Gurevich. Petr S. Mass. Oglashennye (The Monkey Link).. In William James. Pomerants. 1995): 357-366. “Response: ‘Post’ and Beyond. Vera i obraz: Religioznoe bessoznatel’noe v russkoi kul’ture 20-go veka (Faith and Image: The Religious Unconscious in Twentieth-Century Russian Culture). “Antropologicheskii renessans” (The Renaissance of Anthropology). Chicago: University o f Chicago Press. 1994. Miller-Pogacar. Tipy religiozno-filosofikikh umonastroenii v Rossii (The New Sectarianism: Types of Religious-Philosophical Mentalities in Russia). Mikhail N. Moscow: Drugie berega. Grigorii. Mnogoobrazie religioznogo opyta. Epstein. .

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we lose our fortune. and wins respect for that defiant inconsistency.Afterword: William James in Contexts. [Tlhe more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry. as the case may be. because we are sorry. or tremble. keeping it alive with different meanings for different audiences during a century of intellectual fragmentation. . Common-sense says. angry because we strike. strike. and long-term in natural -22s - . he seems to be saying. the paradoxes and antinomies that other academic psychologists learn to evade within the blinkered pretensions of sequestered schools. Why does a notorious spiritualist seem here to be a materialist? Now the general causes of the emotions are indubitably physiological. . short-term in the physiology of body-mind. 1065-1066) L ET JAMES’S ANALYSIS OF THE EMOTIONS bring That seems to explain emotions as functions of neuro-glandular-muscular systems. He is the only founding father of academic psychology who won and held a general readership by dwelling on the self-defeat of the would-be science.’ Its task. for it has often provoked puzzlement. . . afraid because we tremble. of endless frustration for seekers of coherent vision. are sorry and weep. and “functionalism”is the label routinely applied to James in histories of psychology written by devotees of the would-be science. or fearful. . .pp. and not that we cry. we meet a bear. for he acknowledges its irresistible force yet refuses to give in. His chapter on the emotions in The Principles ofPsychology (1890) spotlights this strange achievement. angry. are frightened and run. we are insulted by a rival. (PP. James has been a unique figure of resistance to such splintering. is to explain emotions by reduction to their functions. Plural David Joravsky out the paradoxes that animate his writing. are angry and strike.

patchy. It is also a confession-one of many-that this advocate of psychology as a natural science knows he is trapped within the polarized mentality of the age. the tension between mechanistic explanation of ourselves as natural objects and expressive knowledge of ourselves as persons. which provoked Watson to add criticism after praise. yearning to be whole beings. Even the notoriously scientistic Zola. I should be excluded from the life of the affections.4 James. in the blustery manifesto Behaviorism (1924). James insists. showing their contradictory appeals both to pure reason-an anaesthetic function even in minds that rebel against anaesthesia-and also to the emotional types of person that he famously classified as “tender-minded”and “tough-minded. they interest us.2 Yet James was not content with functional explanation. p. (PP. In philosophical inquiry his writing weaves back and forth among opposed traditions. One can see why John B. possibly “a sham”-in contrast to the expressive knowledge achieved through fictive art: “As emotions are described in novels. Shared feeling. The tender-minded grasp at grand visions. 1064). He showed its inadequacy. p. the prophet of Soviet “reflexology. is too apathetic to be keenly sought after by those born after the revival of the worship of sensibility. joins psychological science and philosophical inquiry within the imagination of a romantic writer.’’Tough-minded thinkers surrender to the limited.” is a disappointed heir of Rousseau. Such an existence. each element of the complex union constantly challenging and provoking the other. 1068) That is not only keen historical analysis: Romantic revolt emerged together with mechanistic science in the age of Enlightenment. and drag out an existence of merely cognitive or intellectual form.” And one can see why a disciple of Bekhterev. harsh and tender alike.”drew on James for his theory of the emotions. inconsistent hodgepodge we call knowledge. Watson began his chapter on the emotions. is crucial to modern understanding of emotions. in short.”~ Watson was incensed by James’suse of introspection to mock efforts at totally objective analysis of emotions-“tedious” at best.226 Afterword selection of body-minds that tremble and weep. James called such science. whether essential mind or essential body or mind-body at one with a universe that includes . for we are made to share them” (PP. and made James’s analysis of consciousness central to Lev Vygotsky‘s rallying of Soviet psychologists against “refle~ology. James notes in “The Dilemma of Determinism. [ I]f I were to become corporeally anaesthetic.a few generations ago. “the first great prophet [of] the romantic school [that] began with the worship of subjective sensibility and the revolt against legality” ( W B . although it seems to have been the ideal of ancient sages. fight and flee. 133). by declaring James “the most brilliant psychologist the world has ever known. struggling to survive and reproduce. p.

In “The Emotions. pleasant. or proven to be some irreducible “mind-stuff. and each morsel of it contributes its pulsations of feeling. Such defiant exclamations point up the melancholy that dogged a life which James could not justify. but I can take no comfort in such devices for making a luxury of intellectual defeat. whether old-fashioned sinful (as in John Bunyan) or modern pointless (as in Leo Tolstoy). . starving out. 1066-1067). Others would rejoice that .[T]he method of patience. But such exhilaration is not a characteristic mood. that “Mind” will be reduced to matter. In illustration of that type James liked to quote Whitman at length. though he yearned for justification of human existence as deeply and persistently as-which Russian author? . 179). pp. . Vierordt.Afterword 227 human consciousness. a startling display of how it would feel to believe without doubt. whether in euphoric psychophysical unity or in some universal “More. better gnaw the file forever! (p. painful. lending poignancy to the occasional leap of joyous belief or. Better to live on the ragged edge. more characteristically.’’ or some psychophysical inbetween. . dim or sharp. p. which he was conscientiously importing from Germany into the higher learning of America: This method taxes patience to the utmost. in which minute advantages gained night and day by the forces that hem her in must sum themselves up at last into her overthrow. as it is in Whitman. In James it is an occasional leap. and could hardly have arisen in a country whose natives could be bored. and Wundt obviously cannot. 192) Standing among the besieging forces James cannot believe in any of the outcomes he hears them debating.” for example: “Our whole cubic capacity is sensibly alive. the defiant refusal to seek refuge in some quiet chamber of blinkered believers. or dubious. the Mind must submit to a regular siege. (PP. Listen to this judgment-in a textbook of psychology. and harassing to death is tried. They are but spiritual chloroform. Analytic irony sets the usual mood. and he was himself capable of an occasional prose poem that rings with Whitmanesque music. It may be a constitutional infirmity. He shows the contrary beliefs to be unprovable and irreconcilable. contradictions [are] about to lead us dialectically upwards to some “higher syrthesis” in which inconsistencies cease from troubling us and logic is at rest. to that sense of personality that every one of us unfailingly carries with him” (PP. Fechner.” rescuing the “sick-souled person from its anguished sense of unjustified existence. . and asks: What shall we do? Many would find relief at this point in celebrating the mystery of the Unknowable and the “awe” which we should feel at having such a principle to take final charge of our perplexities. . Such Germans as Weber. remember-on the experimental way to a science of mind.

to make psychology a natural science. whose devotees pursue varied practices but always with an eye to the main chance. and the expressive knowledge of persons that his writing insists upon. You may object that audience appeal. not the losers. along with the unresolved philosophical issues that he would not let go of. He suffers another defeat in apparent victory when his “sick-souled’’ illumination of religious experience is lumped with “depression. consider the pose of philosophic dignity that Mussolini struck in Europe. In many contexts “pragmatism” has become a term of approval for a shallow mind-set that James considered a disease. as they did not. as interpreted by the .228 Afterword The obvious response-Tolstoy or Chekhov-is contradicted by their scorn for psychology as a natural science. may be to take a pollster’s way in the history of the intellect. I may be falling into “exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS.”a neurochemical disorder rather than a thoughtful appraisal of the human condition. His enchanting literary style is often noted by psychologists of our time as a corrupt reason for his unique appeal-and as their scientific reason to brush him aside. boasting of inspiration from William James as well as Nietzsche. since it points past me to James’s philosophy. then or since. Is not fascism faith in action as the test of thought? (Myers. conceived as expressive knowledge of persons. “pragmatism” as proof of thought through action: how is his own version of it to be distinguished from worship of the bitch-goddess. most obviously because they lacked the broad audience that he had.^ The objection is quite serious. pp. 414-415). though James did not use avowed fiction. is as poor a gauge of intellectual merit as sex appeal is of beauty. To use it as a sign of James’s similarity to great storytellers. and showed James how by selling millions of copies in over thirty languages of How to Win Friends and Influence People. striving to be the winners. fictive art was their way to psychological understanding.7 Stalin gave similar mass-pop insult to the analogous Marxist philosophy of praxis by insisting that practice is the supreme criterion of truth. the size and duration of an author’s readership.” as James famously named “our national disease” and the “moral flabbiness” that it bring^. And thatenduring illumination of psychology as expressive personal knowledge charged with philosophical perplexity-makes comparison with Tolstoy or Chekhov quite appropriate after all. not as explanation of the nerve systems that make persons possible. But Russian specialists in psychology and philosophy seem even less appropriate as counterparts of James.6 If you are inclined to smile benignly at such mass-pop claims of high-culture sanction for American-style hucksterism. and tried. But first. of their time and place? Dale Carnegie quoted James as an inspiration for the how-to-succeed writer. as they did. and of difference from his academic counterparts in Russia. or at least to his name for it.

pp. the Beautiful. He did a subversive essay. That way lies metaphysical speculation on the True. despite its contrary protestation. Within that circular labyrinth. They wished for a science apart from philosophy but still conversant with it. from which pragmatism was supposed to liberate us with a call to useful action. the other science. pp. not to waste our lives in speculative definition of what it is that we should try to prove when we rise from the armchair of preliminary thought. and a consequent pledge of attention to Tolstoy as well as psychological science (Grot. which provoked the censors to ban the offensive issue. as the way to understand the sick-souled condition. v-xx). blaming the social system of Russia for the famine of 1891. and . Authorial intention does not solve the problem. which cannot easily regain its honor.Afterword 229 Central Committee. in contrast to the yellowing pages of academic esoterica in the Russian journal of philosophy and psychology. where modern thinkers struggle to avoid mere philosophy while philosophizing. but personal friendship with the editor drew him into writing for it (See Joravsky. “On the Famine” (PSS 29: 86-1 16). What Is Art?.And now in Russia as everywhere “pragmatism” is a common term of approval for the supposed end of ideology. Tolstoy instantly disliked the narrow academic mentality that he perceived in the magazine. Their journal. one writer using fiction. the Good. Neither of those essays has the permanent hold on thoughtful readers that Tolstoy embodied in “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.). which insisted that art must serve the good of the people. a challenge to prove what is true and good and beautiful in practice. pp. Problems of Philosophy and Psychology. they did not intend to be what they were becoming. since its central insistence on action as the test of thought hobbles thought about standards for such tests in all times and places. They shared the yearning for self-knowledge that would be deistvennyi (practicable) for humanity at large. himself in the chair (see Joravsky. 116-118). the end of any faith but worship of winners and scorn for losers. opened in 1889 with insistence on a broad appeal to a general public. namely. 31 lff. and with neurophysiology and other branches of biology. specialists making careers in little manufactories of esoteric ephemera. all sought to build an integrative discipline of cumulative self-knowledge for an educated public at large. The problem is to find what qualities give those works enduring appeal to thoughtful readers. and also in its German models.” as James did in The Varieties of Religious Experience. Such triumphs of James’s term signal humiliations of his philosophy. and later he used the journal to throw a different kind of bombshell. historical search discovers not only James but also his academic counterparts in Russia. since the academics creating the “New Psychology”-whether in Russia or the United States or its German homeland-did not intend to write specialized ephemera. that is.

The end of his textbook. a little gossip and wrangle about opinion. This is no science. of an expres- . it is only the hope of a science”-but he omitted “the waters of metaphysical criticism [that] leak at every joint. pp. was widely translated. mysteries. especially in the style of William James. (James’sart delights in modernist astonishments like “sciousness. Within the would-be science of psychology public intercourse with philosophy is now taboo. a genuine natural science. Hearst used more than the vivid phrases that are often quoted-“a string of raw facts. he says. pp. doubts” that James discovered in the project for a natural science of the mind. and who had a considerable readership round the world.” Of course James does such reaching after fact and reason. 401). It is not. and with Volkerpsychologie (cultural anthropology). 1-2). since “we don’t even know the terms between which the elementary laws would obtain if we had them. in his time. Now he is read neither by an educated public at large nor by the academic discipline that ritualistically names him chief among its founding fathers and counts his founding of a research institute in 1879 as its conventional birthday. illuminating his project with negative capability. as physics is. without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. which makes shocking display of “negative capability. mysteries. but it must become such a science. and he shows its frustration. That grandiose “new science” won celebrity for founding father Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920). That will happen when future discoverers show causal relationships that James can only gesture toward. .” an amputation of “consciousness”--cutting con [with] away from scire [knowing]-to evoke the unjustified sense of a knower that comes with the process of knowing. . an unusually self-critical psychologist-with a long quote.” The closest “we” come to knowing the terms of such imagined laws is this: “something definite happens when to a certain brain-state a certain ‘sciousness’corresponds” (p. and with religious studies.” as Keats named the art of “being in uncertainties.” and the prediction that the future Galileo and Lavoisier of psychology as a natural science will have to be “‘metaphysical”’ (PBC. a fusion of viewpoints that are incompatible when stated as prosaic propositions. . “Epilogue: Psychology and Philosophy. 400401). paraphrase the poetry in prosaic clunks to diagram the “uncertainties. who piled up ponderous works in all those fields. the grasp falling short of the reach. outside the academy as well as in it. the famous confession of frustration that ends his one-volume textbook of psychology (Hearst. I will now murder to dissect. not from Wundt but from William James. doubts. In 1979 a centenary celebration was opened-by Eliot Hearst. Such rituals fail to revive Wundt.230 Afterword with Tierpsychologie (subhuman psychology).” is poetry of that sort. either as an author of books people read or as an author of methods and theories that are integral to a cumulative natural science.

But time could bury Wundt’s writing while sparing James’s.Afterword 231 sive person that comes with brain-processes. Gerald Myers. so that you cannot kill him all at once” (quoted by Bjork. Such discoverers will have to be “metaphysical. James’s readers tend to share his revulsion against “worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. thanks to the negative capability that is lethally absent in the one. 12). which is fairly widespread in the profession. though it is ignored by a celebrant of progress who simply counts the numerical increase of professional psychologists since Wundt and James. with his love of winning acclaim and getting well paid for offering practically useful knowledge to a democratic society. p. psychology as a natural science is a project caught in a vicious circle. for reasons that each perceived. 141). ranging from behaviorism to phenomenology. quietly frustrated or suavely complacent. In short. to consumers of how-to-succeed manuals.” a proposition that James cannot spell out without removing the ironic quote marks from “metaphysical”and asking speculative philosophy to do the job that will be done by a natural science not yet existent. James is still read. p. In such comment I sense quiet frustration. Hearst was sufficiently aware of the vicious circle to step away from it. 2). James predicts. but that happened long ago. shows that an impressive array of diverse trends and schools took inspiration from James. there is no noeud vital in his mental medulla oblongata. Here is another . but it is not psychology” (quoted by Bjork.” combined. the profession averts its gaze from the failed goals and abandoned methods that it celebrates James and Wundt for establishing.) Laws of correspondence between “sciousness” and brainstates will be established. Wundt on James’s Principles “It is literature. At a centenary celebration of the science Eliot Hearst showed himself to be an unusually thoughtful psychologist by recalling James’s confessional bravura-minus metaphysics. Of course they are few in comparison. ignoring issues of intellectual coherence in the busywork of their scattered labs and clinics. it is beautiful. while efforts at philosophical appraisal were still alive within the discipline. however inconsistently. with or without ironic quote marks. Nevertheless. as Wundt is not. and James takes students into the circle with the defiant promise that a future Galileo or Lavoisier will break free. vibrantly present in the other. say. of a mental being unnameable in a natural science. I am pointing beyond the guild of professional psychologists to thoughtful readers at large. a philosophically astute analyst of James’s influence in the discipline. by great scientists who will do for psychology what Galileo did for physics and Lavoisier for chemistry. And James on Wundt: “Cut him up like a worm.* Either way. reporting “serious doubt whether psychology is a field that will ever see the emergence of truly global principles of the h n d that Galileo or Lavoisier identified or that Darwin bequeathed to biology” (p. and each fragment crawls. according to this textbook of that science.



cluster of vital inconsistencies that give enduring appeal to James: a would-be democrat working at a would-be science of mind for a thoughtful public, while he and it were going under in commercialized mass pop. He boosted professional expertise in the science of mind, the founding claim of the psychotherapy industry, while subverting its potential arrogance, the scientific claim to know the minds of patients better than they do, as physicians know their bodies. James admired the “mind-cure’’movement and sought a basis for it in science, while opposing the move to license its practitioners as if the truly scientific ones can already be distinguished from mere empirics and quacks (see Simon, p. 211 pass.). His insistence on psychology as a natural science was a confession of difidence-he made a point of thatsince the foundations of such a science, lawful correlations between brain and mind, were so hard to establish that they might forever baffle the expert. Laboring at such a science over many years, he worked his way out of the grand claims of nineteenth-century positivism. From praise of Herbert Spencer James moved to mockery of his inanity. James longed for such a grand vision as Spencer boasted, but his commitment to hard science rather than soft burst the gasbag of Spencer’s pretensions to know cosmic evolution as explanation and justification of our human selves. Specialists who grind out real knowledge, of more and more about less and less, commanded respect from toughminded William James,while his tender-minded quest for a unifjmg vision of nature, human and inhuman as one, generated Varieties of Religious Experience, his work that has been most widely and persistently read by a thoughtful public. James’s scholarly commentators tend to break his thoughts apart, diverse specialists according to their diverse predilections. At one extreme are devotees of scientific psychology who ritualistically hail James as a founding father, while toiling at diverse trends and schools without philosophizing, though haunted by an uneasy sense of persistent failure to achieve a coherent and cumulative body of knowledge, as a science is supposed to do. At another extreme are admirers of James as a poetic writer, who place him in a tradition running from Emerson to Wallace Stevens, and virtually ignore his writing on psychological ~cience.~ In between are philosophers who pick at James’s varied legacies, some dwelling on his kinship with phenomenology or existentialism, others focusing on positivist elements in his thought, brushing off such notions as “sciousness,”which sound like hopeless inconsistencies in an unpoetic logic-chopping brain wired to a tin ear.1° Off to another side are historians, political philosophers, and would-be public intellectuals, who try to place James in major trends of modern thought, mostly American. Pragmatism becomes such an elastic term for such diverse types of thought, or for resistance to serious thought, that I for one



prefer to avoid it. Who, I insist on asking, reads the lessons of practice, in which time and place, according to what standards? Most simply: cui bono? Such questions entangle philosophy in history, which torments efforts to see, beyond history, an ideal social system that would harmonize the good of one and all. James ventured into such issues only rarely, most notably when revulsion against U.S. imperialism made him confront the viciousness of a system that lacks a “moral equivalent of war,” that can energize self-sacrificing action only for conquest and killing. (The theme appears in Varieties [pp. 292-2941, before the separate essay calling for “The Moral Equivalent of War.”) Usually James shared the basic assumption of the comfortable classes in a leading country of “the West,” who take it for granted that “we” are the vanguard of human progress, that “our” practice is the model for all societies. In Russian contexts James could hardly be read with that comfortable assumption. The quickest way to perceive that is to note two significant Russian dismissals of James: Comrade Lenin’s in 1908, Father Zenkovsky‘s in 1948. Opposite ends of the Russian ideological spectrum claimed practice as the criterion of truth, but neither one in James’s sense of the concept. Lenin dismissed James’s pragmatism as part of an age-old effort to cut the nerve of revolutionary practice by skepticism, by doubting that knowledge is a realistic guide to action. Some Marxist intellectuals had been claiming kinship between Marx’s vision of praxis and philosophies such as Mach‘s and James’s, and Lenin was angry. Revolutionaries must be certain that reality is knowable, that one can know what to do, “chto delat’,” in situations as terrible as backward Russia’s in an age of total war.” At the other end of the spectrum an Orthodox priest, V. V. Zenkovsky, opened his History of Russian Philosophypublished in Western exile, 1948-with a brush-off of James. “Activity in the world” has been the distinctive concept of Russian thought, but it “must not be interpreted in the spirit of that primitive pragmatism which has been expressed with such seductive nalvett by William James” (I: 5).’* Zenkovsky‘s “activity in the world was opposed to Lenin’s, focused on religion instead of political economy, but neither could take for granted the kinds of religion or political economy that James did, and both shared a hunger for certainty in knowledge, which James felt at ease to disturb by skeptical questioning. Tolstoy’s dismissal of James’s Varieties, which was mentioned in a preceding essay, may seem another case in point, but examination shows Tolstoy closer than he imagined to the American scholar’s “sick-souled,’’sceptical way to religious faith. The Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated Tolstoy when he was acting the public intellectual on a world stage, in a Russian peasant costume advertising a claim of wisdom that defied any traditional church, any compartmentalized restriction of thought, any authority but his intuitive mind ranging ecumenically and critically, sick of its own self-centered motives. Diary



entries on Wundt show acceptance of the basic premise-we are natural objects, fit for scientific analysis-along with insistence that the mind or soul expresses something more, which must be central to knowledge of ourselves (see PSS 52: 25-26; 54: 15, 18).13This is close to James’s vision, though Tolstoy was content with hasty intuition for beliefs that the American academic labored to refine and justie. Efforts to reduce the soulful “more” to brain functions provoked brush-off from Tolstoy, as when he glanced at the analysis of himself in Varieties ofReligious Experience, saw diagnosis of “anhedonia” or depression, and read no more. A bit of that is in the book, but so is Dr. James’s near-confession of the malady in himself, and, beyond such diagnosis of the “sick-souled”temperament, an argument that the “sick-souled” are deeper than the “healthyminded in understanding the human condition. Tolstoy left most pages of Varieties uncut, and he did not see its derision of “medical materialism,”its argument for a soulful “more” emerging from the dominant metaphysic of our age, naturalism (57: 393-394, 187-188).14 That metaphysic was at work in Tolstoy himself, who used psychiatric diagnosis against the mania that celebrated the Franco-Russian alliance with denial of militarist reality and smiling avowal of peace (39: 27-80). Reading a classification of Russians with Zulus on a racist scale of human beings, Tolstoy was “very grateful to Darwinism” for showing that love of the whole species was bred into us by natural selection (52: 14). When he read Russian philosophers of the soul and its “activity in the world,” whom Zenkovsky‘s History would admire, Tolstoy bristled dismissively. Their writing “shows that in philosophical jargon you can prove whatever you want, and therefore nothing can be proved” (PSS 53: 109). James showed similar disrespect for reason detached from “the will to believe.” He brushed past theology as willfully as Tolstoy, with a similar intuition: Religion is experience of illumination, connecting one’s inadequate person with something more. Both knew that experience mostly by its absence in themselves, with misery resulting. Observing people who had such experience, anxious to have it themselves, both felt wretched. The sense of “more” would not come on command. This discord is not only a biographical fact, evidenced in private writing. It finds expression in the public works of both authors, whether presented as science or fiction or essayistic in-between, and is, I think, a major source of the enduring appeal their writing has in an age when many readers take the naturalist metaphysic for granted, along with a sense of alienation, anomie, or Entzauberung, which mocks purposeful striving and undermines “the meaning of life.” That combination resonates in James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience and in much of Tolstoy’s writing, before and after the willful conversion that he advertised in A Confession (banned in Russia, published abroad in 1884).



In a famous story of 1886 Tolstoy used the question he had heard from a real-life dying brother, which he described in a letter of 1860:
A few minutes before he died he dozed off, then suddenly came to and whispered with horror: “Du chto zhe eto tukoe?” [Well, what is this?] He had seen it, this

swallowing up of oneself into nothingness.And if he found nothing to grab hold of, what should I? Even less.15(PSS 60: 357-358)

In 1860 Tolstoy erupted angrily at any religious reassurance: The condition in which someone has put us is the most horrible deception and crime, for which we would not find words (we liberals) if a man put another man in that condition. Praise Allah, God, Brahma. Some benefactor. . . .As soon as a man reaches a higher level of development and ceases to be stupid, it is clear to him that everythingis nonsense, deception, and that the truth which he loves most of all is a horrible truth. As you come to see it properly, clearly, you will wake up and say with horror: “Du chto zhe eto tukoe? (Well,what is this?).”(Ibid.) Animal existence goes on inertially-“while to shit you shit”-and so does there is the desire to eat you eat,

the unconscious, stupid desire to know and speak the truth.. . .That is the one thing of the moral world that has been left to me; higher than that I could not stand. It’s th: one thing I will go on doing, only not in the form of your art. [He was writing to the poet Fet, who published the letter in 1890.1 Art is a lie, and I can no longer love a beautiful lie. (Ibid.)

By the time he wrote “The Death of Ivan Ilyich Tolstoy had made public confession of conversion: he would imitate simple working people who believe without intellectual questioning. Some commentators read “Ivan Ilyich as such a testament-to light and joy and release from death that come with anguished dying-which causes some to exclaim “glory be,” others to mutter “spoiled art.”16 Off to a side are clinicians, as I would name the readers who find only the anguish of long-drawn-out painful dying, relieved at the final moment by surrender of mind-body to extinction of body-mind-of perishing “sciousness” to perishing “brain-state,” James might have said, smiling at the concealment of ignorance in pretense of psychological science. Clinicians without philosophical bent praise the story as an accurate picture of the psychological stages they have catalogued in “terminal” patients: denial and isolation, anger, depression, acceptance, hope, even hallucination of light.” Much sic et non analysis of such contrary views might resolve their differences-or might find that lack of resolution inheres in the story, whether or not the author intended that. Lack of resolution is the side I



favor. Tolstoy was a rigorous artist in “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”; he repressed the ideologist’s temptation to tell what his fictive imagination could not show, and so brought literary naturalism to an anguished point of transformation into modernism, with disturbing violation of traditional closure. Tolstoy set his intellectual self an impossible task when he ordered it to have the faith implicit in the behavior of people who accept without questions or complaints the labor and the death that fall to their lot. He set his art an insoluble problem when he tried to prove such faith by showing how it comes to a man tortured by the lack of it, as extreme physical pain and imminent death bring him to awareness of “his horrible isolation, the cruelty of people, the cruelty of God, the absence of God.” Psychological surrender begins with the thought, “One can, one can do ‘that’ (Mozhno, mozhno sdelat’ ‘to’)”and the instant question: “But what is ‘that’ (Chto zh ‘to’)?’’No answer, and no answer again when the question recurs. In one translation the pronoun “to (that)” is rendered as “the right thing”; in another “to” becomes “the real thing,” and both drop the quote marks that emphasize the mystery of “that” which a dying man is deciding to do. The translators are straining for a reassuring response to the question that Tolstoy heard from his dying brother and passed on to Ivan Ilyich. Deciding to do “the right thing” implies moral action: at the very end one can retroactively justify one’s life. Deciding to do “the real thing” implies the metaphysics of free will: it is possible to do as a self-willed person what is being done to oneself by an irresistible force of nature.’* Perhaps, as a critic has argued, this story exhibits “the most distinctive trait of Russian fiction”: testing extreme theoretically possible elements of the human condition. That argument can fit with another: the story approaches nihilismthe absence of justifiable values-and struggles to overcome it by act of wd, as Nietzsche does in his expressive essays. And yet another: Tolstoy’s story foreshadows Kafka’s nightmare of an average man seeking to justify his ordinary life, who finds that any notion of a justified life is mocked by the ultimate human choice between suicide and exec~tion.’~ A U such arguments taken together recall the surrealist cathedral scene in The Trial, in which the priest and Joseph K debate the meaning of the parable, “Before the Law.” Avowed fictions serve as scripture to thoughtful minds possessed by a naturalist metaphysic. So does Dr. James’s scientific text, with its comic taxonomy of religious experience:“sick-souled”persons agonize over the justification of life, in contrast to the unconcerned multitude of superficial people leading unexamined lives. They are “healthyminded”-philistines [ meschane] like Ivan Ilyich before cancer tore him up. The difference in modes of expression-lecture-essays in Varieties vs. novella in “Ivan Ilyich-is less significant than the difference in tone-Jamesian geniality vs. Tolstoyan anguish-which points up the contrast Robert Frost would put as a mocking question:

accumulating discontent. darkly comic. so that the world we recognize officially in literature and in society is a poetic fiction far handsomer and cleaner and better than the world that really is” (VRE.” and “a sense that we are saved from the wrongness by making proper connection with the higher powers.pp.” a projection from within the sick soul onto the universe. Emergent modernism was increasingly cosmopolitan. “embraced on non-mystical grounds. He was trying too hard to be the prophet in a country of longstanding.Afterword 237 How are we to write The Russian novel in America As long as life goes so unterribly?(“New Hampshire. If “The Death of Ivan Ilyich anticipated The Trial. which a man “can keep in working touch with.” A hint of selfconscious absurdity lurks in James’stalk of such powers as “the MORE. When James confesses his own faith. no slightest sign of self-satire disturbs the agony. and in a fashion get on board of and save himself when all his lower being has gone to pieces in the wreck (VRE. James’s talk of “the MORE” foreshadowed Waiting for Godot. 80-81). anticipating Frost’s. p. 400). .” as many of them described their native land. as development makes more old people-and American authors who see through smug clichts can be grim. James. at the bottom by non-Tolstoyan lower-class revolt.21I hear a voice like Mark Twain’s in such writing. or his judgment on Ivan Ilyich‘s life: “quite common and ordinary and quite horrible” ( P S S 26: 68). When Tolstoy preaches imitation of imagined unintellect in the imagined peasant. who was analyzing the sick-souled experience in any time or place. self-mocking.” p. 167) Frost was mocking clichts on both sides. But such differences in tone became less significant than similarities of substance. “Uneasiness” is its basic feature. expressed at the top by rulers determined to catch up with the advanced powers. for example: “We divert our attention from disease and death. “a sense that there is something wrong about us as we naturally stand. Slow death by cancer occurs in the American way of life-more frequently than in developing countries. in the exercise of our individual freedom. as the nineteenth-century crisis of religious faith turned into modernist expressions of anguish and absurdity.20 The distinctively Russian features of Tolstoy’s quest for salvation were ignored by James. Yet the tone is on the whole quite different. different from Tolstoy’s. The slaughter-houses and indecencies without end on which our life is founded are huddled out of sight and never mentioned. Such passages in Varieties recall Tolstoy on art as a beautiful lie.” notes of self-raillery appear. and in-between by intellects that would not cease from mental fight until they might build Jerusalem-in “the dark realm (temnoe tsarstvo).

attracted mostly to The Varieties of Religious Experience. as he did Lenin’s brusque rejection of the analogy. he did so silently. S. for it is a general methodology. 1 If Vygotsky perceived the analogy between Marx’s praxis and James’s pragmatism. since marxism was not a particular science but a general Weltanschauung. Recognition of disorder in the would-be science of psychology.~~ of that kind were abruptly cast into outer darkness during Stalin’s “revolution from above” in the early 1930s. and we will work precisely on that. Freudian as well as experimental and philosophical. “Our science will become Marxist to the degree that it will become true. Such evasion was typical of Soviet Marxist philosophers in the 1920s. Shifting views of James illuminate the accommodation. and psychology was ‘(no science but the hope of a science. and Western psychologists had independently retreated from debates over rival philosophies. By that time Russian psychologists were no more capable than fellow specialists in other countries of giving serious attention to Vygotsky‘s “historicocultural” project for a unified human science.238 Afterword Academic culture has also been increasingly cosmopolitan. basic principles. even when they criticized p r a g m a t i ~ mMarxists . Vygotsky‘s major book. each chamber denying encroachment on others. beginning with a Russian “spiritualist” reading of his Principles in the 1890s and coming back in the 1990s to a reprint of The Varieties of Religious Experience. Vygotsky reasoned. If James is becoming once again a living thinker for Russians. which argued at length for Jamesian openness to contrary viewpoints. he argued. [ 19821: 434-435).” which pointed to the level where marxism becomes relevant. which would encompass all schools. including the insistence on “metaphysics. The school that called itself Vygotskian had shrunk into studies of brain damage and of child development. when the Communist regime was mounting a campaign for marxism in all the human sciences. even the Marxist party-state. No school could properly claim marxism for itself. not on its agreement with Marx’s theory” (Vygotsky. scientific. The Historical Meaning of the Psychological Crisis. transforming it into a true science. That fragmentation has accommodated cosmopolitan specialists within varied political systems and their attendant ideologies.23 . Vygotsky (1896-1934) drew on James for a defense of pluralist freedom.22 An especially tantalizing moment in the process was the 1920s. when a new kind of “partyness” (partiinost’ ) justified any tyranny in any field of thought that an ideological bureaucracy might choose to enter. was the first step toward ultimate order. and grand projects of unification.” James’s confession of frustration was still an accurate analysis. within sequestered chambers of increasingly specialized learning. and L. it is among humanist scholars and a comparatively small general readership. was not published in full until 1982. not a special science.

who cares of Let us call that aestheticism. In “Tumbleweed” (1887).” in vain. a horror” (PSS 7:671. the narrator shares a monastery room during a . turning literary naturalism. into a wobble between representation of a reality too bleak for any art and subjective expression for its own sweet sake. and he closed with a typical parody of dialogue.” a comic contrast of persona and person.” he wrote to his publisher. for he too was trained in medical science. turned into Chekhov’s version of “Ivan Ilyich. Chekhov lost respect for psychological science of any kind. he took absurdity into expression of personal knowledge charged with philosophical perplexity.” “A life thought through (osmyslennaia) without a definite world view. so poignantly. His demonstrations of human frustration in quest of transcendence include the authorial self. I like to imagine that James might have inspired Chekhov to try a different analysis. one of the few stories that identify the narrator with the author. as Freud is. in Chekhov’s stories and plays that critics called him pessimist or “whiner” (nytik). He changed the title to “A Dreary Story” (1889). trying to tell of his misery. The dying man is with the one person he is fond of. the supposed bridge between science and literature. trying to project “MORE” out of the sick soul’s need for it. In The Seagull. something like alchemy. for example. as an actress aware of her mediocrity and her lack of love. each acknowledging self-defeat in a different way. deflating Spencer’s claim of science by imagining stories rather than philosophizing about it. In “The Black Monk” (1894) Chekhov explored megalomania as the driving force of an academic psychologist. and tuberculosis killed him before Varieties appeared in Russian. He declared it “a fabrication Cfiktsiia). “is not a life but a burden. culminating in hallucinations of communion with eternal truth.” seriously enough to test it as self-knowledge by trying it out in fiction. but she can express only hers. which it’s time to put in the archives” (Pis’ma 3: 207). Neither can comfort the other. the writer is presented as two types. is shown so often. of a time when psychological science was supposed to connect with the knowledge of ourselves that is expressed in imaginative literature. not a science. Dr. Some critics may say that a vision of absurdity has dissolved comedy and tragedy into modernistic art.to his intense annoyance. Letters 3: 234). One might expect Anton Chekhov to be another such exception. He had won fame with farcical anecdotes. people talking past each other. elevation of authorial self and worshipful reader into art as the transcendent realm-“the MORE”-and recognize that Chekhov mocks it.Afterword 239 James is an exceptional survival. A story that began as “My Name and I. of a psychologist struggling with the paradoxes of naturalistic subjectivity. And there. Yearning for “MORE. But Chekhov did not read Principles. was also enthralled by Herbert Spencer’s scientistic scheme of “synthetic philosophy.

1950). See Donald Meyer.” he reflects on “the multitude of such tumbleweed people. 4. p. It shows Sisyphus smiling. tramping now along highways and byways or. 1971). 258ff. L. unwelcome among the strangers whose religion he has nominally accepted. p. A History of Experimental Psychology (New York Appleton-Century-Crofts. 514-517. I think. implying the opposite of what it says: The reassuring mind and tongue have been found. 3. waiting for dawn. whether writer or drifter. who tells of his nerve-wracking wandering in search of a schoolteacher’s position. pp. if the mind and the tongue were found that could prove to them that their life was as little in need of justification (opravdanie) as any other” (p. to escape the humiliation of a person cut off from the family whose religion he has abandoned. Sbornik posviashchennyi 75letiiu Akademika I. 185. . Osipov. dreaming in waystations. pp. Joravsky. xvii). hotels. 415) and by Linda Simon (Genuine Reality. “0 fiziologicheskim proiskhozhdenii emotsii” (On the Physiological Provenance of Emotion) in V. P. 1925). inns. to a vain search for justification of our lives. is closer to the gritty reality of James’s intellectual career. see D. and to the difficulties of pragmatism as a social philosophy or an ethics. 7. 5. Boring. pp.p. 2. 197. S. P: Pavlova (Collection Honoring the 75th Birthday of Academician I. 1980). 1884. Omelianskii. Vygotsky. [sic] Falling asleep. See most notably Edwin G. Simon. Huber. I imagined how astonished and maybe even gladdened they would be. See V. and Richard M. in Psikhologiia i rnarksizrn (Moscow. For a detailed account.Russian Psychology: a Critical History (New York 1989). The Positive Thinkers: Religion as Pop Psychology from Mary Baker Eddy to Oral Roberts (New York: Pantheon. 263). in defiance of the gods (or of nature) who (or which) condemn us all. 237-238 et pass. I think. See his landmark presentation to the Psychoneurological Congress in January 1924: L. “Soznanie kak problema psikhologii povedeniia” (Consciousness as a Problem of the Psychology of Behavior). . Myers (William lames. The essay was originally published in The Unitarian Review. but both of them were dead before Chekhov was acknowledged as a modernist master. Quoted and interpreted differently by Gerald E. .240 Afterword pilgrimage with a Jewish convert. ed. Notes 1. 1924). paralipsis.26 That is. “no more than a yard away from the drifter. on the grass in the open. p. . Pavlov) (Leningrad. Blowhard Mussolini had not actually read James. in this story. seeking where things might be better. The American Idea of Success (New York McGraw-HiU.. As the narrator goes to sleep. 6. I like to imagine that William James would have recognized a kindred spirit here. P.

Sect.” For the original.. Christian. pp. 1996). 20. PSS 26: 112. Lectures on Russian Literature (New York: Harcourt Jovanovich. e. 19. For “spoiled art.” I think. F. 6. M.g. 1992)..: American Psychological Association. For an effort to correct that tin-ear tendency.. William James. and Philip Rahv. See his Istoriia russkoifilosoji. in order. 1981). 1981). 21. A surreptitious spiritualist. close to mental illness. Jason Gary Horn. no. Fowler. 1992). is closer to Zenkovsky‘s meaning. Mark Twain and William James: Crafting a Free Serf(Columbia: University of Missouri Press. The substance is unchanged. 1900). Lenin. D.” Russian Literature 7 (1979): 159-192. 12. 18.”“Must not. 563ff. 1967). 17.. a lations are the author’s. Materialism and Empiriocriticism. 4. which denounced him as “a materialist. Nabokov. Richard Poirier.” originally Nikolai Dobroliubov’s phrase. 9. combines “glory be” with praise of emergent modernism in Tolstoy’s “most perfect achievement.” see. PSS 6 0 357-358. in place of “England’s green and pleasant land. see Andrew Bailey. Tolstoy and the Novel (New York Viking Press.” Margaret Wettlin as “the real thing. Unless otherwise specified. 1986).” to emphasize the difference that context makes in dreams of an ideal society. I have adapted the translation of R. 10.. Note Tolstoy’s amusement at the opposed interpretations of his thought in James’s diagnosis of “a melancholic. See.P. The translator. See Raymond D. pp. and Frank Lentricchia. My brief generalization ignores the different tone of Tolstoy’s comments on the human sciences following his conversion. 14. ed. Leo Tolstoy: Resident and Stranger (New York Columbia University Press. Ariel and the Police: Michel Foucault. 13. “The Death of Ivan Il’ic. Obshcheswennoe samosoznanie v russkoi literature (Social Self-Consciousness in Russian Literature) (Saint Petersburg: Izd. Jan van der Eng. 2( 1998): 414-434. .” see John Bayley. Philippe Arihs. For “glory be. other essays in this volume reveal far more sensitivity to substantive issues.C.” and in a reactionary Russian paper. 1: 142. “The Strange Attraction of Sciousness: William James on Consciousness. 89 et pass. Wallace Stevens (Madison. pp. The dismissal of James is in chap.g. ed. “A Centennial Note: What Would William James Say about the American Psychological Association Today?” in Margaret E. who denies everything soulful. Poetry and Pragmatism (Cambridge. Lev Shestov.. 1: 17.g. (New York Scribner. see Tolstoy. e.”as in Elisabeth KublerRoss’s “how-to-die’’manual. sets Tolstoy’s story in the context of “death denied by “medicalization.Afterword 241 8. V. “The dark realm.” 15. 208-226. Donnelly. passed into common use. Edward Wasiolek. Cf. Vvedenskii. 16. Reinterpreting the Legacy of William James (Washington. George Kline. Mass. pp. 2 vols. The Hour ofOur Death (New York Knopf. To be sure.” Transactions ofthe Charles S. 1988). Cf. 11. 1969). I put it into Blake’s famous line. 159 et pass. Tolstoy’s l l transLetters. e. The three critics are. Peirce Society. 1978). 34.”A secular kind of “glory be”-death of oneself transcended by life’s progress in others-has been repeatedly read into the story. 236-243. by Arsenii I. Richard Gustafson. On Death and Dying (New York Macmillan. rendered “ne nuzhno” as “need not. Mel’nikova. Aylmer Maude translates as “the right thing.

Cambridge. Mass. 1994). 1870-1930 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. A History of Russian Philosophy. Moscow: Gos. 3 (1997): 341. Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works).: Erlbaum Associates. A. 90 vols. . Moscow: Pedagogika.J. V. Robert. . 23. Mnogoobrazie religioznogo opyta (Moscow. Conn.We will work precisely on making it truthful and to make it agree with Marx’s theory. See.: Blackwell. 13 vols. Daniel. N. ed. N. Simon. S. khudozhestvennoi literatury. 1983.. Zaporozhets et al. The First Century of Experimental Psychology. Chelpanov in Voprosyfilosofii i psikhologii. Frost. Constance Garnett translated it as “The Uprooted. A Critical History. I. Linda. New York: Harcourt Brace.: Yale University Press. Moscow: “Nauka. I have summarized here the extended analysis of Chekhov in Joravsky. ed. 1992). vol. 1983-1988): 253-267. See G. 7. The story “Perekati-pole (putevoi nabrosok)” is in Chekhov. 1928-1958. Cf. Gerald E. Genuine Reality: A Life of William James. Vygotsky.g. Chekhov. 1998. New Haven. New York Columbia University Press. 1953. New York Holt. Modernist Impulses in the Human Sciences. turns the meaning upside down by omitting “not”: “. Edited by A. Grot. 18 vols. David. Joravsky. no. William James. 1982-1954. New York Columbia University Press. V. The translation in Vygotsky. Tolstoi. e.” 1983. Myers. 1986. The Compromised Scientist: Willliam James in the Development of American Psychology. Eliot.” in Dorothy Ross.242 Afterword 22. 91-127. 11: 69-76. 25. The Poetry ofRobert Frost. F. Voprosy filosofii i psikhologii.V. Ia. 7-8 (1927): 53-84. 26. Hilldale. L.” in The Tales of Chekhov. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii” (PSS) (Complete Collected Works). Hearst.“Know- Works Cited Bjork. Asmus.. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii 6 (Moscow. 1 (1889): v-xx.1988. . P. 1969. N.6 vols. 1979. Zenkovsky. pp. 1892. Collected Works. “Alogizm Uil’iama Dzhemsa. izd.” Pod znamenem marksizma ing Ourselves: Literary Art versus Social Science. V. “ 0 zadachakh zhurnala” (On the Journal’s Tasks). 1984-1987). Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Complete Collected Works).” 24. (Ecco Press. Russian Psychology. 1989. L.

1983. 1979. 1985. Introduction by Ignas K. 1986. Essays in Psychical Research [EPR]. . Comments. The Principles of Psychology [PP]. 1983. S. 1984. 1978. Introduction by William R. Introduction by H.Manuscript Essays and Notes [MEN]. James.Introduction by John J.Essays in Philosophy [EPh]. 3 vols. . Introduction by John J.Introduction by Ignas K. Some Problems of Philosophy [SPP].Introduction by John E. Introduction by Gerald E. 1983. The Varieties of Religious Experience [VRE]. McDermott.Wi IIiam James Bibliography Works All references to William James’s works in the text are to the following Harvard University Press annotated editions. 1976. Talks to Teachers on Psychology: And to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals [TT]. Essays in Religion and Morality [ERM].Introduction by Ignas K. . in 1. . Introduction by John J. Skrupskelis. . Manuscript Lectures [ML]. A Pluralistic Universe [PU]. . . Essays. Thayer. 1988. 1988. . . Skrupskelis. . Miller. Bernstein. Introduction by Michael M. Smith. and Reviews [ECR]. McDermott. .Introduction by Robert A. Introduction by George A.Introduction by Richard J. Sokal. Essays in Radical Empiricism [ERE]. Pragmatism and the Meaning of Truth [P] [MT]. Skrupskelis. Myers. Essays in Psychology [EPs]. . Woodward. McDermott. -243 - . 1987. 1978. . 1982. William. McDermott. Hare. except where otherwise noted. . Introduction by Peter H. 1977. Psychology: Briefer Course [PBC].

Ed. pp. Lur’e. St. Translated by V. Petersburg University). Moscow: Russkaia mysl’. 39. It is only as complete as present bibliographical information permits. Translated by S. V. Edited by L. 1926.] “Predislovie” (Foreword).244 WilliamJumes Bibliography .2 vols. Berkeley.” 1902 [NB: A new translation (not a revision of the 1896 Lapshin version) of Psychology: Briefer Course. 1901 Nuuchnye osnovy psikhologii (Scientific Bases of Psychology). Ignas Skrupskelis and Elizabeth M. Zupiski istoriko-filologicheskogofukul’tetu Imp. Lapshin. “The Psychology of Belief. 1896. B.” In William James: Writings 1878-1899. Myers. Translation and Introduction by I. “S. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. In Boris Sidis. Frederick J. 0 chelovecheskom bessmertii (Human Immortality). . Eds. Letters of William James. Obolenskii. Moscow. S. St. Scott. Pirozhkov. Note: “James” appears as “Dzhems” or “Dzheims”.” 1910. -Peterburgskogo universitetu (Transactions of the Historical-Philological Department. 1979. The editors thank Gennady Obatnin for his assistance in the compilation. 66 illus. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press. I. Petersburg. Zuvisimost’ very ot voli i drugie opyty populiurnoi filosofi (The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy). S. Translated by Iushkevich Pave1 Solomonovich. 1021-1056. not Principles of Psychology. E. Madden. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. V. Selected Unpublished Correspondence. G. 1992. Petersburg: M. 1902. Ed. the Imperial St. Edited by The Will to Believe [WB]. Russian Translations of William James’s Works in Order of Publication: Please note: This list is not definitive. “William” as “Uill’iam” or “Vill’iam. 1910. St. Vol. Prugmutizm.A. Published Correspondence The Correspondenceof William James. St. 1992. projected). Anonymous translator. Gerald E. James 111. Tsereteli. Mnogoobruzie religioznogo opytu (The Varieties of Religious Experience). (13 vols. Introduction by Edward H. Shik. Malakhieva-Mirovich and M. Translated from 2d English edition by 0.-Peterburgskaia Elektropechatnia. 5 vols. Psikhologie vnusheniiu (The Psychology of Suggestion). D. Henry. 63 illus.” Psikhologiiu (Text Book of Psychology). I. Petersburg: Soikin. New York The Library of America. 1904. 1986. Edited by S. .. Petersburg: “Shipovnik.

Moscow: Respublika. G. “Pragmaticheskii vzgliad na istinu i ego nevernye tolkovaniia” (The Pragmatic Account of Truth and Its Misunderstanders [ M U ) . Moscow. Moscow: Respublika. Shpet. Vvedenie vfilisofiiu (Some Problems of Philosophy: A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy). The 1910 translation by Pavel Iushkevich with minor emendations. Translated by L. In Volia k vere. Introduction by 0. Pavlova. Mnogoobrazie religioznogo opyta. the 1910 translation of Pavel Iushkevich. 2000. E. I. “Sushchestvuet li soznanie?” Based on translation by Grinval’d. E. 1997. 1904. . Osipov and 0. 1911. Moscow: Respublika. Volia k vere (The Will to Believe). E. “Vozmozhno li soobshchatsia s umershimi?” (Is it possible to communicate with the dead?) From the Proceedings of the London Society for Psychological Research. Lodge. In Volia k vere.Tranlated by Margarita Grinval’d. Based on translation by Tsereteli. 2 of Pragmatism. “Chto takoe pragmatizm” (What Pragmatism Means). In Volia k vere. Pavlova. “Mir chistogo opyta” (A World of Pure Experience [ERE]). 1997. In Volia k vere.William James Bibliography 245 Vselennaia s pliuralisticheskoi tochkoi zreniia (A Pluralistic Universe). 1993. Moscow: Respublika. “Sushchestvuet li soznanie?” (Does ‘Consciousness’Exist? [ E R E ] ) . Rumer. Moscow. 1997. Translated by L. 1997.Translated by L. 7 Filosofiia 1993: 82-91. from . Moscow: Respublika. In Volia k vere. Pavlova. Translated by A. 1992. Bobrova. Edited by G. Mnogoobrazie religioznogo opyta. Moscow: Respublika. In Novye idei vfilosofii 4 (1913): 102-127. 1911. Chap. “Chelovecheskaia energiia” (The Energies of Men [ E M ) . 1997. In Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta: ser. Moscow: Nauka. Translated by V. 1997. Pragmatizm. Moscow: Respublika.

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A.54n8. imperialism. Richard. 54n6 America: capitalism..68-69 Bloom.29. Ernst Bakhtin. 108. 65-66. melancholy. 194-95. V. 2. Valery.220-21. Caryl Baranoff-Chestov.46. “everyday philosophy. 160. 170 Bergson. See also Blood. 191 Bryusov. 114-15.94. attacked by Lenin (compared to attack on James).67.40.199. diversity of religion in. Alfred. See Modernism Blood. Catholicism in. See also Emerson. 214 Blok. influence on Gorky. 167 Baudelaire.222. 204-5 “Anaesthetic Revelation” (rev.” 222n3 Bely. and James’s place in. Benjamin Paul anhedonia. 170. 13n3 Avenarius. Benjamin Paul.Index Adler. 216-18.200. 5.221. 199-200 Bolsheviks. religion in. The Pushkin House. See also Mach.41. 66-67. Protestant Reformation and American pragmatism. empiriomonism. Hippolyte. A. See also “the sick soul” “Are We Automata?” 20 Asmus. Alexander. 95 Belov. 69. F. Ivan. 10. The Monkey Link.). 118.191 Bernheim. center of Nevel-Vitebsk group. Andrei. 193-94. 150-51. 94 Bilibin.206. Alfred. 104. Harold. Natalie. 7. Protestantism. Maurice. James attacked as representing. Charles. Arnold.220. 214-18. Vladimir. 7. 97 Bitov. 89-90 Boecklin. 5.247 - . 186n16 Blondel. 38-39. 136. 35-36. 110n3 .200. 200. 7. Andrei. 36. Henri. 170. 82.234. compared to Russian religious renaissance. 223 (see aZso the Philippines). James as representative of. 104.. Mikhail. See also Russian sectarians Berdyaev. 153. 204-5. 100-101 Binet. 100 Bogdanov. Nikolai.

4 4 5 3 .119 (seealso Fechner.98. perversion.71.” 33. 99.235.” 230-31. Die Philosophie der Mystik.118. Caryl.213-15. 109-10. Pave1 Solomonovich “The Energies of Men. Gustav). Faith and Image.53. “sciousness. 152. 88 Chelpanov. 3. Mikhail Darwin. 122 “Does Consciousness Exist?” 10. 204. 170. n4 Emerson.139. the unconscious. “Peasant Marei. Xenos. 207112 “The Confidences of a ‘Psychical Researcher’. 121. subliminal consciousness.150-51 empiriocriticism (empirical criticism). 99. 99. 34. 214. 46. lecturer. The Double. 190 Dionysian madness. mysticism).139.101. 48. “James as Psychologist.220.97. Richard.” 10 Epstein.” 152. 109. Confessions of an English Opium Eater.115. Thomas.140. 63. Eduard von). 117-18. 101. See also Yushkevich.” 22 conversion. 99 Edie. universal consciousness. stream of.37. 132-33. 71.141-43. 71. Crime and Punishment.38. along with James.98. Dr. the religious subconscious. 13114. 34. 25. 3 4 3 7 . 155-61110. The New Sectarianism. by James and others.119-20. 68. John. Russian military action in. “The Way in the Desert.71. as obverse of. Charles. Edith. as homeopathic process. 59. 116.”213-19. 114 Bunyan. culturology. Henri. 221.172.221. Mikhail. James’s approach to religion. 177.115. 36. 1561113.76771120 “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings. 165. 49 Du Prel.” 69-71 Channing. Jean Martin. “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. 34. 123.184n2 Index De Quincey. 222112 Eikhenbaum. “The Teaching ofYakov Abramov. 12-1 3112.4042 determinism. 39. See also Avenarius. 18. 40-44. 38 Clowes.72. Ernst empirio-symbolism. Russian philosophers on James’s theories of. James’s definition of. “The Landlady.47. John. scientific study of expanded states of. 219-20. 12.37- Nikolai. 99.96.74 Dewey. 94.53 Dostoevsky.248 Bugaev.113. 116.113. The Brothers Karamazov. See also positivism Carlyle.121.221. Boris. After the Future. 159.63.” 34. 61 Einsteinian physics. Ralph Waldo. Philosophy of the Unconscious (Hartmann.28 Dostoevsky.220. 77n20. 5 Ellenberger.103.8. 35.’’ 106-7 consciousness: paranormal states of (seepsychic phenomena. 141-43 Clark. James. at Glenmore Summer Institute of the Cultural Sciences.95 decadence. 94 Chechnya. 43. Fyodor. Thomas. Michael (father). 104.” 133.44. Der Spiritismus. Baron Carl. 19495.70.” 177.46. “The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor. The Idiot. See also Epstein. 146.95. 214. William Ellery.35. The Diary of a Writer. 120.” 221 Essays in the Realist Worldview (1904).219-22. 155n2.122. 113. the subconscious. threshold of.. See also mysticism.108 . 38.220. 105 Emerson.35. 151 Charcot. world soul “The Consciousness of Lost Limbs. 132. 4. Georgy I. Mach. 219.

68 Herzen. the unconscious Hearst.. 20. 192-96. 71 Hegelian school of thought. Gandhi.237 Freud.141 Gurevich.65. 3. 16. 159. 38. 3-4. 196-97 249 Gorky. 213. Edmund.64. 65. Ernest.239. and Marxist “collectivism. 65. 16. A Confession. 131. 17.213 Fouillee. 25. 146.10. James’s and Mikhail Epstein’s departures from. Essays on the Philosophy of Collectivism. Charles. See also the “new art”. 172. 5-6. 196.” 194 “Great Men and Their Environment. E. in Elemente der Psychophysik. See also Gorky. 185n4. Frederic W.21 Filosofov. Pavel. 95 Flournoy.207. H. P . 199. G. 74. 94. 178-79.” 199-200.96 Hodgson. Joseph. The Lower Depths.95 “Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine. 165. 171 Frank. See also Lowell lectures Gershenzon. Alexander.Index “Exceptional Mental States” (Lowell lectures. 102-4.26.95-96. 68. 82 Gellner.” 20.201.” 198-99. Nietzschean roots. 15 “The Hidden Self. Mahatma.22 Hoffmann. Nikolai. A. “Grumblings of the S o d and Mystical Experiences. 76 Hibbert Lectures (Oxford). Theodore. on religion. Harnack.” 23. . a Lover of Truth. 94 Fourier.197. Gustav T. The Phenomenon of Man (edited). 5. 117-20. antiWestern bias in 1930s. Nietzschean influence on. F. 195-96.” 204. on threshold of consciousness. 177 genius. Russian sectarians God-building. 114. 26. 108. 63. inner freedom. 117. Michel.133. Johann Wolfgang von. Tolstoyan. idealistic monism. 10. “Preface to the Second Edition.. Great Thoughts.29. S. Semyon. “Destruction of the Personality (Razrushenie lichnosti). works oE “Chelovek (Man).”211. 55 Frank. editor of Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. meetings with James. 3. 172 Florensky. Eduard von.124. 28. See The Varieties of Religious Experience glossolalia. 190. Maxim. See also Myers.70. 76n17 Gorky.” 203n5. Mikhail.” 214 Gurney. T. Maxim.134.75nl.221. Dmitry.121.2 14 Goethe. first published as “Great Men. “The Story of the Siskin Who Lied and of the Woodpecker.211-15. Adolph. 166 Hartmann.132. Sigmund. 190-91. Mother.74 Fechner. “Makar Chudra.200. 182. 191-207. 17-18.” 22.214.201. Alfred. 22. 197-98. 105 Foucault.66-67. W.65.. Eliot. on threshold of memory.189-207.” 2 1 Great Soviet Encyclopedia on James.” 106 Husserl. 69. 24. Enemies.184-85n2 Gifford lectures. 36 “The Feeling of Effort. “The Renaissance of Anthropology. 220 “On the Function of Cognition. 180. 30.” 208115. 190.73-74. “On Self-Taught Writers. Shadworth.” 106. See consciousness. Maxim God-seekers. 70.. Edmund. unpublished). 230-3 1 Hegel.181 free will. 8 Grot. 166 idealism. 180. 189-91.236.68. fatalism.96.” 190. and the Environment.

156n16. attack on James’s pragmatism. 134. “Dryads. “The Idea of the Non-Acceptance of the World. “Nietzsche and Dionysus. Magnus.233.166 Kline. 226. Anatole. “Threshold of Consciousness. Viacheslav. “The Future of Religion.37-38 James.” 135. 141. 21 1.. 156n15 Kierkegaard. “The Premises of Democracy. 155n5. 13344. “Naked I Return. critical tradition of. 109. 45 Konevskoi. neo-Kantianism Kelly. Ivan (Ivan Oreus).” 133.” 121. Lev.” 117. 151-52. 108. 157n21. 1045. Immanuel. 64. 193 Lurye. I.202. 160.” 123. S.139. 150.” 116.145-46. “On the Relative and the Absolute. See modernism “Is Life Worth Living?”64. 191. 117 Kant. 133. 184 Lapshin.201 Ljunggren.” 119. 3 Jung.’’ 122. See also Bogdanov. 185nn5.155n4.” 119. Pierre.14546. 162.” 121. 6-7 Khlysts. theorist. 97-102.” 146-47 Kruchenykh. 123. 1861116 Kotliarevsky. Martin. 177 James. Aleksei. “Before the Paintings of Schwind. Eduard. George.23-24 Ivanov. 198-99. “Sleep. Kantian ideas. Le Roy. 116. 141. Aileen. 126-27. Positive Tasks.156n17. 3.7-9. 103 Lopatin. “On True and False Realism. Robert Louis.153.82.V. 156n14.128.60 James-Lange theory of the emotions. professional reactions to James theory. 178. Nikolai Lange on.68.” 133. “Monism and Pluralism. “Night in the Desert. 241nll. David. 34. 127-28.” 120.127. 12.V. 176.118 Lombroso. 113-25. 107-9. “The Crisis of Individualism.” 118. 128.” 120. See Russian sectarians Khvostov. “Dostoevsky and the Novel-Tragedy. neo-idealism. See also neo-idealism.” 154.” 119. 65.14749. 6.250 Inidex metaphysical idealism.96 Lunacharsky.” 133.123.” 133-35. & l o . “On the Russian Idea. 2.” 116-17. 117. 5. 136.. “Theosophy and God-Building. “Obvious Secret. post-Soviet reappearances of.152.74. “Pragmatism and the Problem of Tolerance..” 115. Shestov and James as anti-Kantians.. 192.14. Stalin and Cold War years.156n19. poet.” 100. 165 . 72 International Congress of Physiological Psychology. See also specific titles of works Janet. 3.135.153-54. idealism.” 118 Jackson. 16-17. Henry Sr. “Songs from the Labyrinth. Religion and Socialism. 159. “Thou Art. Liza. critic. “The Present and Future of Philosophy. 192 Knapp.170. William: Soviet rejection of James’s writings. 9 6 7 Joravsky.” unpublished). “The Urgent Tasks of Present-Day Thought. A. 9 4 . 120. “Runes of the Breakers. Ssren. “James as Religious Thinker.201.” 116. 177. 23. Ivan.” 116. Dmitry. 143-54.. 104.170 Lenin. Carl G. 205-6. 174-84.” 115. 179 Luther.” 141 Lowell lectures (“Exceptional Mental States.225. 121. Sergei. M. 200. “Sacrum sepdcrum. “Voice of the Sea.149-52. “The Cornerstones of My World View. 170.V. “The Dream of Melampus. 28. A. 76.” 108-9 Konovalov. 171. Cesare. 193.” 197. Gerald E. See also Phantasms of the Living. as religious phenomenon. 4. Blake.105. Frederic W.109. 95.170.141. 164 Miller-Pogacar.144. developed in Germany). 166 142-43. 140. Formalism. 11.135. 7. 5. 139.106-7.133.91 panpsychism.” 22 pacifism. 47-51.89.Index Mach. Russian.131-54 Moscow State University. 116.240n3 mysticism.177 The Meaning of Truth..1534. propagated in the social sciences. 229-30. 149.150. 88 Nietzsche.205. 132.26. 43.95. affinities with James’s thought. trans-sense language (zaum). 104. 94. 183 the “new psychology” (the French scientific approach to study of mental phenomena). 93 Merezhkovsky.100. 18. 102. 95. 191. 27. 81-82.108. 101. 183-84.Anesa. See also Du Prel neo-idealism.71.74. 183-84.152. 17. See also Du Prel. 101-2. Viacheslav Ivanov.30 medicine. Nikolai. 199. 238. 5.197. Bronislaw.94. Giovanni. modern (Russian). apostle.P.160..8. 97: alternative. 162.166. 60.99-100.104. 220. Friedrich. Karl. Symbolism and sectarianism. See Menand.” 81. 153-54 neo-Kantianism. 172 Mesmer. 107. 132. 192. 142. Baron Carl. See also “la psychologie nouvelle” the “New Psychology” (experimental.93. See also Wilhelm Wundt Nicholas I. I. 218-19. Tolstoy’s compared to James’s. 99. 192-94. 108. spiritism melancholy. 51-2. capacity for. mystical experience. 100. .170. 177 Marx. Dostoevsky‘s and James’s personal experience of. 97. Louis. 9. Ivan Konevskoi. See positivism the “new art. allopathic. 60. The Metaphysical Club. 34 mediumism. mystical experience. H.213. 105.231. 29 Pascal. 66. 55n18 Minsky. 142.21. See anhedonia Melnikov-Pechersky. 140 Papini. homeopathic vs. 100. 196 materialism. 198 “Notes on Automatic Writing.” 201-2 Morson. 123. Dmitry. 195. 99. 138. 60.. 131. 151-2 monism. 137.200 Marxism.138 Munsterberg. Louis Mill. 171. 104. 171 Modernism. 123-24. 99-102. 23-24. Futurism.115. Gary Saul.169. Nietzschean. 166 Paul. See also empiriocriticism Malinowski. homeopathic.211. 102. St.170 neopositivism. 104. mystical phenomena.217. states. John Stuart. 65.208118.72. 105. Czeslaw. 121.” Anton. 135. 1034. mystical art. See akio psychic phenomena mystics.183. 18.76n17 Moscow PsychologicalSociety.171.94.205 “The Moral Equivalent of War. 11. 98.95.98. 97. 101.. 149.233 “The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life. 106. functionalism. 173. 182 Menand. 170.222n9 Milosz.63.104-8 pantheism.83.222n8 Moscow University. 114. Thus Spake Zarathustra.212. 121.101. 169. 10. 177. Ernst. 25 1 Myers. Hugo.68. 94 Metaphysical Club.95. 24 Myers.72. 115-16. drug-induced.74. artistic mysticism. 110. 141. 65. 128.. 145-7. French Catholic. mystical experience.

119.” 94. 134.” 65 Psychology: Briefer Course (Psychology). 109. V.” See Epstein. 138-43 philosophy vs.” 22 “realism. Podmore. 27. James’s introduction in Western Europe and Russia. 200.68. 102. 160. 164. 121-22.169. 29. Russian introduction by Vladimir Solovyov).60. James’s research on. pluralism. 2 3. 6.199. 96. hypnotism.97. See Myers. 121. 12.156n16. 101.154.24. mysticism psychoanalysis. Charles.71.140. 119. Corning Out of the Trance.” 27-28. 145 radical empiricism.59. Edgar Allan. Khlysts “Reaction-Time in Hypnotic Trance.105. debate over. 95. 83 “Philosophical Conceptions and Practical Results. 11. 19.135. I. See also the “new psychology” “The Psychology of Belief.98. 4.143. 131. 133-37. 6 Phantasms of the Living (Edmund Gurney. 134. 146. opposed to artistic creativity. 135. 3. 179 “la psychologie nouvelle. 106. 141 personality.147-48. Alexander. 136. 96.65.238. 137-38. 135. 164. 133- multiple personality. 94. 4. 228-29 Jamesian. 97-99. ethical.191. Grigory. rejected by Lenin. Frederic W. 101.5. 214-16. 132. “What Pragmatism Means. 108. 2) 11.228-29. 184-85n2 Putnam. 119-20.8.145. James’s definition of.95 Prishvin. neopositivism. 161. Myers. 10-1 1. first use by James. 22-23.” 105 Questions of Philosophy and Psychology. 59.170.27. positivistic science.252 Index Peirce. 205. 171-72 psychic phenomena.104-5. Poe.”Ivanov’s (akin to James’s “radical empiricism”).” 66-69 A Pluralistic Universe. 71 “The Pragmatic Account of Truth and Its Misunderstanders. 233.5. See Russian sectarians. 143. 151-52.62-63. 169. introduction. 10. trance phenomena. 177. 26. 18. 96 Peter the Great. 170.30. 182 Protestantism.” (ch. 2 15 “poor believers. 134.” 10 Pragmatism.30. 11.153. 144. See also Lowell lectures.27 personalism. 213 “A Pluralistic Mystic. 102. 211. 132. early interpretation in Russia. 73-74. 139. 122 the Philippines: James’s attitude toward 1898 war in.96.72. Lev Lopatin’s arguments based on.150.26-30. 10. and Frank Podmore.150 “The Pure Self or Inner Principle of Personal Unity.232. Ivanov’s and James’s views of.30. interpreted by Dale Carnegie and Mussolini. 94. 95 Pomerants.6. 3. 125 .150.71. See also pragmatism philosophy.203. 22. analogy with Marx’s praxis. 135.” 119 Pushkin. The Principles of Psychology.180. 120.213. spiritualist.74. 1. 94.21.146. Mikhail positivism. H. in Russia.95.144-45.221-22. 23. Russian translation of. 96.110. 133. Frank. Mikhail. 116.172. Frederic W.146 108. James’s theories of.177. 28. 135 pragmatism.238. dtdoublement. 124-5 Rasputin. 113. 132-33. 67. 132. automatism. science. H. as redefined by Mikhail Epstein. 163. 105. 114. 136.230.232-33. Hilary. automatic writing.108-9. 238 See also Lenin.141. Grigory.174. 25. “Psychology and Philosophy. 2. 133.

Vyacheslav Ivanov. 22. “communal sin. 239 Sidis.65.99.171-72 Russian Revolution of 1905. Moscow Higher Women’s Courses. 28-29 Schopenhauer. W.88.” 26. 6.67-68. ecstatic speech. 174.69-70. 173-74 Shestov. Nikolai Berdyaev.” 19 Renouvier. 17-18.. glossolalia Russian Thought. James P. leapers. 54n9 Royce.103. 226. 159.185n14..180. mystical (ecstatic) sects. M. 22.67. 61 Schiller. 165. 181. J. Boris. 182-83.236. Athens and Jerusalem. 174. The Silver Dove (Andrei Bely).24On5 Slavophile-Westernizer debate. as title of works by Vladimir Solovyov.2.” 21. 4-5. L. 173.. 233. Raimund.228. James’s reported interest in. 180-81.104. Jean-Jacques. Job’s Balances. 154 Russian sectarians. 2 13 Russian psychology.94. 159-67. 104 Scanlan.Most Holy Synod. revisionist version. 159. All Things Are Possible: An 160. 97. 169. 179. The Power of the Keys.284. archbishop of Volyn. 159. 46 the “self.21 Sesterhenn.121 Schwind. 104 “A Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance. on God-building. N. 176. post 1905. 5.41..98. twentieth century. F. post-Soviet republication of. 109 Semyonov. 183-84. 25. 170-7 1 Simon.125. 171. 159. The Good in the Teaching of Count Tolstoy and E Nietzsche. 159. Henry.” 178. See also American sectarianism. 181 Russian philosophers. 180. Linda. 179.196 shamanism. “The Logic of Religious Creativity (in Williams James)” (In Great Vigils). Dostoevsky and Nietzsche: The Philosophy of Tragedy. 102. Critique philosophique). 165 Shklovsky.201 Religious-Philosophical Society. 122 Signposts.96 Experiment in Adogmatic Thinking. 190 Shemelin. See the Russian idea Society for Psychical Research. Antony. 100 Sedgwick. inferiority of reason to faith: central thesis of. . 10.Index Rebus.227. n15.20.Viktor. 39 the Russian idea. 1. Ferdinand Canning.229. 186n17. 195. 99. James.75nll Rice. 5. 6-7. 39 Rousseau. 171.” 20. 10 Schelling. 182. Petersburg University Russo-Japanese War. 123 “Remarks on Spencer’s Definition of Mind as Correspondence. 7.76n13. Slavophile-Westernizer debate.108.101-2 “The Sentiment of Rationality. 178-84. 171. Lev (Lev Shvarstman). Moritz von. The Rebirth of the Russian Idea. 66-67. Sola Fide. 6 Russian Orthodox Church. Arthur. Internal Mission. 7. 180-81. 165. Charles (editor. 6. English (London).30. 160. American branch. 175-76.122. 173. 171. Khlysts. Sergei. 83 St. 174. 180.23. journal of Moscow spiritism. 159. 6.95. 182 Russian universities and academies: intellectual atmosphere at the start of the twentieth century. Khlysts. Petersburg University.96.” 63. 71-73. St.186n 17 “the sick soul.65 Rozenblium. shtundists. Great Vigils. 182.96.238 Russian religious renaissance.” 22 253 “Reflex Action and Theism. Moscow Theological Academy. Josiah. 173. 159. See also Moscow University.

” 20 Spencer. 18. See consciousness Uspensky. War and Peace. 84-86.115 Tolstoy.133. Lev Lopatin on effect on modern religious feeling.Vladimir. 114. 33. William. 43.86-91. symbolism.68.166.68 “The Spatial Quale.’’ See “tender-minded.234. 82. 59. D. H.68.See James. 10.10.. 86. 172.212. 162.240n3. 123 63. 73.65. theory of emotions Weber.68 Swedenborg. 59. 82. 89. 21. on conversion.207. 229. 220. 73. 30. “Fragment without title. 192. See also decadence. 159. Hadzhi Murat. 82.225. 121. the “new art” “tender-minded and “tough-minded.122-24. Emanuel.233. 83. 154.227 theosophy. 236-37 “Vozmozhno-li soobshchat’sia s umershimi?” 122 Vygotsky. 238. “The Devil. 203.” 83. Carl.200. “tough-minded. 65. 171 Stumpf. 178.226. 81.238.” 83.. 35-36. N. 123 Tiutchev. 74 the unconscious. 73. Peter. 113. Resurrection. 2411114. 114 transcendentalism. The Kingdom of God 4-5. 143. 142. in conservative 25. P. Lev. 73. 82. 103.62. 5 1 Thales. Russian translation and publications of. 190. 161-2. 4. 72.64. James’s flirtation with. 71-72 Struve. 59. Childhood. spiritism (sometimes called “spiritualism”). 105. Terras. 59.222.229.” 83. 1 0 2 4 . 107. 27-28.232. 177. 33. 81. 161-62.214-15. (Behaviorism).83.185n3 “What Makes a Life Significant?”68 . Shestov’s essay on. 90. And the Light Shineth in the Darkness. transcendental idealism. 96 Strakhov.228. Fyodor. 229 Socrates.212. 81. Anna Karenina.118.67-68.35. The Sebastopol Stories.” 82.’’ The Tower (the Ivanov salon).20. A Confession. Boyhood. Max. 75nl. Youth.55n18.160. 66.” Jamesian emotional types.87-88. About Lqe.” 82. 83. 138.233-37. 59-60. 163-64.95.26 suicide. 16. 226-7. 171. on mystical and paranormal states. Kotliarevsky on James’s originality as shown in. John B. 178. Victor. “Father Sergius. Orthodox battle against Konovalov.” 63. 70-72. 59-74.214.” 229. 69. 201.170. Russian.” 82. 241n23 Watson. 71-73. Tolstoy and.84.204.” 83. 120. 149.234. 99. “On Some Omissions of Introspective Psycholo&’ 2 1-22 Some Problems of Philosophy. 64. Youth. 83. N. 10. See also Myers. See also mediumism spiritualist school of philosophy.173. “The Power of Darkness. 235-37. attraction for post-Soviet readers. 136. 64.171. 2. 166 theism. The Living Corpse.72. 173. “Stop and Think.232 167 239 The Varieties of Religious Experience. What Is Art?. 172. Boyhood. 71. “The Kreutzer Sonata. 60. 89.91. “Letter of NonResistance. 84. Frederic W.254 Index is Within You. “On the Famine. Leo.60.211. 61-62. 6. 166 Solovyov. 50. Herbert. 96. “The Death of Ivan Ilich.232.

” 23 The Will to Believe.72. 106. 95.234.231. 5. 119-20.” 65. Wilhelm. 2. 230. D.L. 69. 102. V. 100. 137-38. Ivanov).123 . (second wife of V. 226. 119. 1 1 .191.Index 255 “What the Will Effects.201-2. 158.” 25.206-7. “The Will to Believe. “The Dilemma of Determinism.233 Zinovieva-Annibal.. See also the “New Psychology” Yushkevich. 215 Zenkovsky. Pave1 Solomonovich. V.98. 122. 138.192.99. 10.64 “A World of Pure Experience” 10 world soul.122 Wundt. 10.

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Her 1973 Edgar Allan Poe in Russia: A Study in Legend and Literary Influence recently appeared in St. 1988. His books include The Eros of the Impossible: The History of Psychoanalysis in Russia ( 1996) and Khlyst.” ( 1999) and Russian Experimental Fiction: Resisting Ideology after Utopia (1993). Her work on Russian modernism includes Valery Bryusov and the Riddle of Russian Decadence (1985) and Creating Life: The Aesthetic Utopia of Russian Modernism. Petersburg in Russian translation.257 - . Sects. He has taught at Georgetown and New York Universities and was a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Berlin. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Helsinki in 1998.D. translated and published in Russian. Petersburg: “Academic Project.About the Contributors EDITH W CLOWES is Professor of Russian and Slavic Literatures at the University of Kansas. She is author of The Revolution of Moral Consciousness: Nietzsche and Russian Literature 189e-1914. Petersburg.D. Literature and Revolution (1998). ALEXANDER ETKTND is Professor of Humanities at the European University in St. She is presently completing a book-length study of philosophical discourse in Russia. . edited with Irina Paperno (1994). He received his Ph. in Psychology from the Bekhterev Institute in Leningrad in 1985 and a Ph. St. JOAN DELANEY GROSSMAN is Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California at Berkeley.

DAVID JORAVSKY. She is author of Tolstoy’s Art and Thought. Milton H. where he is also a Faculty Fellow of the International History Institute. has authored several books on twentieth-century Russian intellectual history. Narrator. DONNA TUSSING ORWIN teaches Russian literature at the University of Toronto.258 About the Contributors BRIAN HOROWITZ. 1994-2000. ROBINFEUER MILLER is the Editha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities at Brandeis University where she teaches Russian and Comparative Literature. has published widely on Russian Silver Age philosophy and culture. and numerous articles on science and philosophy and history of literature and culture. She served as Dean of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis. and a coedited volume with Malcolm Jones. The Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel (1998). Pushkin in Russia’s Silver Age: Mikhail Gershenzon. She is also editor of Tolstoy Studies Journal. and Reader (1981) and The Brothers Karamazov: Worlds of the Novel (1992). he has published most recently on S. and the Institute €or Advanced Studies in Princeton. and he is presently at work on a book. The recipient of various fellowships. He has held a number of research fellowships. GENNADY OBATNIN has focused his work on the Russian Symbolist poet Viacheslav Ivanov. including a Fulbright. Her books include Dostoevsky and “The Idiot”: Author. He is at work on a comparative study of the emergence of modernist fiction in France. New York University. RANDALL A. He is author of Ivanov-mistik: okkul’tnye motivy v poezii i proze Viacheslava Ivanova (Ivanov-Mystic: Occult Motifs in the Poetry and Prose of Viacheslav Ivanov) (2000).D. Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Judaic Studies at the University of Nebraska. He received his Ph. His research focuses on nine- . POOLE is Assistant Professor of Social Science and History in the College of General Studies. S. 1847-1880 (1993). including Russian Psychology:A Critical History (1989). Ansky and Lev Levanda. Boston University. author of The Myth of A. coeditor with Robin Feuer Miller of Tolstoy and the Genesis of War and Peace by Kathryn Feuer (1996). and the Jewish Diaspora in Tsarist Russia. and a Yad Yanadiv Fellowship from Hebrew University. and Russia. most recently at the Remarque Institute. from Helsinki University and is presently a visiting lecturer at that institution. an Alexander Humboldt. Wilson Professor of Humanities at Northwestern University. Germany. and editor of The Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy (2002). Nationalism. Acculturation.

and twentieth-century Russian literature and culture and has pioneered study of Pavel and Semyon Yushkevich. Professor of English at Skidmore College. and A Sense of Place: Tsarskoe Selo and Its Poets (1993. and Prairie Schooner. ANDREW WACHTEL is Herman and Beulah Pearce Miller Research Professor . A Life of Alice B. Toklas (1977. “Riding to Cripple Creek Pragmatism. edited. His most recent book is Making a Nation. joined the worlds of science and letters. and societies.and twentieth-century Russian intellectual history and philosophy. SCHERR is Professor of Russian at Dartmouth College and Provost. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Russian and South Slavic literatures.About the Contributors 259 teenth. coedited with Lev Loseff). RUTHRISCHIN has published widely on nineteenth. Her essays and reviews have appeared in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Her works in progress include essays on William James and Pavel Yushkevich. and introduced Problems of Idealism: Essays in Russian Social Philosophy (2003). the Journal of American History. His other publications include Russian Poetry: Meter. like William and Henry James. BARRY P. Breaking a Nation: Literature and Cultural Politics in Yugoslavia (1998). and the editor of Gertrude Stein Remembered (1994) and William James Remembered (1996). Rhythm. Chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Director of the Program in Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. a Mediating Text” and “At Lenin’s Great Wall: The Yushkevich Challenge to Marxist Orthodoxy. cultures.” a book on Semyon Yushkevich and collected essays of Pavel Yushkevich in English. among many other journals. The American Scholar. Maksim Gorky: Selected Letters (1997). LINDASIMON. is the latest of several studies devoted to that writer. is the author of Genuine Reality: A Life of William James (1997). who. His areas of research include Russian verse theory. He has translated. 1991). which he coedited and cotranslated with Andrew Barratt. the New York Times Book Review. and Rhyme (1986). and twentieth-century Russian poetry. Russian prose of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. in Literature.

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