Posts tagged F.W.H. Myers
Random sighting of a writer no one reads (Frederic W. H. Myers):
If Breton tired of Hélène Smith, he could always turn to the writings of Frederic W. H. Myers. The son of the perpetual curate of Saint John’s, Keswick, Myers was renowned for swimming the river beneath Niagara Falls, for his study of hallucinations, and for his crusade for women’s rights in his native England.
Found in The Surrealist Parade by Wayne Andrews aka Montagu O’Reilly, author of the first book published by New Directions: Pianos of Sympathy (1936). Now I’ll start working on posts on O’Reilly and Hélène Smith.
I have the suspicion no one reads classical scholar, poet, philosopher, and “psychic researcher” Frederic William Henry Myers (1843–1901); and I’ll admit to a momentary feeling of wistfulness that I will never once glance at his posthumous 1,360-page behemoth Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, which presents “an overview of his research into the unconscious mind.” Maybe in another hundred years readers will dip into it as they dip into The Anatomy of Melancholy.
I stumbled upon Myers’ biography tonight and soon found quotes about him from luminaries like William James:
Brought up entirely upon literature and history, and interested at first in poetry and religion chiefly; never by nature a philosopher in the technical sense of a man forced to pursue consistency among concepts for the mere love of the logical occupation; not crammed with science at college, or trained to scientific method by any passage through a laboratory, Myers had as it were to recreate his personality before he became the wary critic of evidence, the skillful handler of hypothesis, the learned neurologist and omnivorous reader of biological and cosmological matter, with whom in later years we were acquainted.
Publisher’s description for Immortal Longings: FWH Myers and the Victorian search for life after death by Trevor Hamilton:
Immortal Longings is the first full-length biography of Frederic W.H. Myers, leading figure in the Society for Psychical Research and friend and associate of Browning, Gladstone, Ruskin, Tennyson, Swinburne, Henry James, Prince Leopold and other influential Victorians. The book offers a fascinating insight into a key period in the development of Victorian thought.
Myers researches led him to forming a view about human personality and psychology which Aldous Huxley has said is much richer than Freud’s.
Everything’s happening, at the turn of the century…