SAAP Annual Meeting 2015

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A Pluralistic Universe in Twenty Years

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Placed side by side, James’s A Pluralistic Universe and Addams’s Twenty Years at Hull-House seem to have little in common. James’s critique of absolute idealism is written for intellectuals comfortable with philosophical abstractions. Twenty Years is full of stories about the lives of poor people and immigrants. Yet the two book echo each other. I will give a reading of Twenty Years as a presentation in real time of James’s pluralistic universe, with both form and contents conveying the “essential provisionality” of experience in James’s “strung-along” universe. I will then show how in Twenty Years sympathy and memory serve as wires upon which the universe is strung.


Marilyn Fischer    
University of Dayton
United States


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