Alice James

[Alice James]

Alice James

set text:

Edel, Leon, ed. The Diary of Alice James. 1964. Introduction by Linda Simon. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999.

[July 18th, 1890]:


How well one has to be, to be ill! These confidences reveal to you, dear Inconnu, so much mental debility that I don't want to rehearse herein my physical collapses in detail as well, altho' I am unable to escape a general tone of lamentation. But this last prostration was rather excessive and comic in its combination, consisting of one of my usual attacks of rheumatic gout in that dissipated organ known in the family as "Alice's turn," in conjunction with an ulcerated tooth, and a very bad crick in my neck. By taking a very small dose of morphia, the first in three years, I was able to steady my nerves and experience the pain without distraction, for there is something very ex­hilarating in shivering whacks of crude pain which seem to lift you out of the present and its sophistications (great Men unable to have a tooth out without gas!) and ally you to long gone generations rent and torn with tooth-ache such as we can't dream of. I didn't succumb and send for my Primrose Knight, having no faith in anything but that time-honoured nostrum Patience, with its simple ingredients of refraining from muscular contractions and vocal exclamations lest you find yourself in a worse fix than you are already in!

- The Diary of Alice James (1999): 129.

Select Bibliography:


Loring, Katherine Peabody, ed. The Diary of Alice James (1894)

Burr, Anna Robeson, ed. Alice James: Her Brothers - Her Journal (1934)

Edel, Leon, ed. The Diary of Alice James (1964)


Yeazell, Ruth Bernard, ed. The Death and Letters of Alice James. 1981. Boston: Exact Change Books, 1997.

Biography & Secondary Literature:

Sontag, Susan. Alice in Bed: A Play in Eight Scenes. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1993.

Strouse, Jean. Alice James: a Biography. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1980.

Homepages & Online Information:

Wikipedia entry

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