William James Writing Styles in The Varieties of Religious Experience

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Since The Varieties of Religious Experience was originally delivered in the form of spoken lectures, the style of writing is dictated more by the rules of oration than by those of composition. A series of twenty separate lectures were given by James in 1901. In these lectures, James first presents his ideas, then defines their terms and provides examples to demonstrate the significance of his findings.

James talks directly to the audience in the firstperson point of view. His arguments follow a logical path, sometimes using questions to lead his discussion forward and next providing the responses as he interprets them. Since his lectures offer extensive material that must be slowly assimilated, he breaks down his information into easily digestible portions. His use of examples not only adds signifi- cance to his theories but also offers a break in the intellectual discourse. The examples put a face on the concepts...

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This section contains 320 words
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