Reply To: The French Patient Mentioned in The Varieties of Religious Experience

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    Thanks, Gary, for your email of May 5th about the Forum. That’s a great idea—the more bridges from our deep scholarly dives to public interests and issues the better. And how Jamesian….
    I am catching up, first by registering for the Forum. I see a lot of interesting posts; I start with yours of March 31st.
    You ask good questions about the French patient—setting the right tone with a detective hunt! I wrote an essay in that spirit a few years ago on young James, and I called it A Detective Hunt and Review of the Literature.
    I present my take on the patient, the bits of evidence, his condition, his relation to James, and his anonymity at least until James claimed the patient was himself, but I didn’t take up how appropriate his method would be in our time—another good question.
    In Young WJ Thinking, pp 250-60, I suggest that the patient (I call him “correspondent”) is a stylized version of James himself, in composite review of his own crises, presented for teaching about the power of religion in a text on spiritual experiences.
    I welcome your thoughts and from others too.
    And Gary, it’s also good to see your many writings.
    All the best,
    Paul Croce