This new volume in this series has an illuminating introduction by the editor, on the lofty James family in general- talented, respected, popular, but ""shot through, too, like a piece of Irish tweed with neurasthenia"", and on William in particular, the ""charm, vigor and originality"" of his mind and the gaiety and goodness of his heart. All of this comes through in his correspondence- which is spontaneous, personal, impulsive and as ""genuine as talk"" and gives these letters their special character and warmth. The letters are grouped here paralleling the major divisions of his life and work -- from his early, undecided, unsettled years, to those of teaching, marriage, writing, lecturing, etc. Many are addressed to his family- to brother Harry, to his sister Alice- there is a moving letter to his father just before his death, to his daughter when she is dispirited; etc., etc. -- Others are to his friends, the intellectual luminaries of the era- and are often a sounding board of what he was thinking as well as an expression of what he was feeling... For the most part the letters are available in the collection edited by his son, or The Thought and Character of William James, but some are printed here for the first time from the Houghton Library collection at Harvard.