Alice James

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Alice James is best known as an American diarist who chronicled her thoughts, ideas, and life events in a diary that was published after her death. Alice was born into an educated and illustrious family, so literary interests were a natural fit for her. However, she had a difficult existence because she suffered from neurological disorders, which were common among women in the Victorian era and were referred to as ‘hysteria.’ Despite her deteriorating health and pitiful circumstances, she possessed an enigmatic personality with a vibrant imagination and wit. She was also a keen social observer as well as an inquisitive and engaging individual. She struggled with and was tortured by a variety of mental illnesses. She was socially restricted and endured internal conflict throughout owing to her physical ailment. She did not, however, allow the infringements of her body to dominate her thoughts, instead maintaining a strong self. Read the following lines to learn more about her life, her beliefs, and her opinions.

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Childhood and Adolescence

Alice James was the youngest of Henry James Srfive .’s children and the only daughter. Throughout her childhood, she had a tight bond with her brothers and female friends.

There isn’t much information regarding her educational qualifications, intellectual background, or early life.
She stayed with her parents until their deaths in 1882.

Later the Years

Women were frequently diagnosed with hysteria during this time period. Because there was no fixed list of symptoms for the sickness, whatever disease a woman had was categorized as hysteria symptoms, and she was no exception.

She relocated to New York in 1866 to undergo therapeutic activities. Though the approach provided some alleviation, it was only transient in nature. The sickness had such an effect on her that she felt suicidal as well as patricidal.
With the hope that a change of scenery might improve her health, she and her companion Katherine Peabody Loring relocated to England.

She began teaching history at the Society to Entourage Studies when she was twenty-five years old, and she did so for three years, until 1876. Anna Ticknor established a women’s correspondence school in Boston.

In 1884, she had an electrical massage to help her with her periodic spells of hysteria. Despite trying a variety of treatments, she was never able to find lasting relief.

She began keeping a diary in 1889, filled with amusing observations, thoughts, and criticism on English society and mannerism. Furthermore, she copied down snippets from various media that claimed the same perspective or statement as her to back up her claim.

Even years after her death, the diary was not released because it contained open commentary on many people whom she had directly mentioned. In 1934, a badly edited version of the same was published.

Leon Edel published the whole edition of the diary, which entertained its readers, thirty years after the initial edited publication. Because of the tone of the article, she was labeled a radical feminist.

She wrote about herself in the diary, and she stated plainly that she did not see her disease as a source of conflict, but rather as a struggle between her strong sense of will and moral strength and her body.

She even wrote about how she had to give up bodily sanity in order to save her mind. She even wrote about what caused the nerve disease, despite the fact that her viewpoints were contradictory.

While she originally asserts that the sickness serves as a barrier for the individual to escape the uncontrollable clashing impulses, sensations, emotions, and social demands, she subsequently adds that some people manufacture psychosomatic illness in order to avoid social issues.

Personal History and Legacy

She never tied the nuptial knot in her life. Her brother William, on the other hand, is said to have had a close relationship with her and was romantically interested in her. This can be seen in the faux sonnet he wrote for her and the five sketches he produced of her.

She had two big breakdowns by the year 1882. She had a couple of additional nervous breakdowns near the end of her life before succumbing to breast cancer on March 6, 1892.

In 1980, over a century after her death, Jean Strouse released ‘Alice James: A Biography,’ a work that included her views, opinions, and life. He portrayed her as both an icon and a victim in it.

Ruth Bernard Yeazell released ‘The Death and Letters of Alice James’ the following year. ‘Alice in Bed,’ a play written by Susan Sontag on her life, premiered in 1993. The play alternated between sympathetic and impatient feelings.

She was an American diarist who suffered from significant neurological condition and was the daughter of American theologian Henry James Sr.

Estimated net worth

The estimated net worth of Alice James is unknown.