James, Henry, American student of religion and social problems

James, Henry, 1811–82, American student of religion and social problems, b. Albany, N.Y.; father of the philosopher William James and of the novelist Henry James. He rebelled against the strict Calvinist theology of his family and of Princeton Theological Seminary, to which he was sent, and sought a personal solution. Swedenborg's teachings opened for him a way and provided the framework for his own thought as expressed in Substance and Shadow; or, Morality and Religion in Their Relation to Life (1863), Society the Redeemed Form of Man, and the Earnest of God's Omnipotence in Human Nature (1879), and other books. He later developed a social philosophy based upon the principles of Charles Fourier. He was a close friend of many literary figures, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Carlyle.

See F. H. Young, The Philosophy of Henry James (1950); biographies by A. Warren (1934) and A. Habegger (1994). See also studies of the James family by F. O. Matthiessen (1947), R. W. B. Lewis (1991), and P. Fisher (2008).

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