The letters of George Santayana

MIT Press, 2001 - 560 páginas

The Works of George Santayana, Volume V, brings together a total of 3,081 letters. Book One covers the longest period of time, in effect spanning Santayana's correspondence from the 1880s through most of the first decade of the twentieth century.

edited and with an introduction by William G. Holzberger Since the first selection of George Santayana's letters was published in 1955, shortly after his death, many more letters have been located. The Works of George Santayana, Volume V, brings together a total of 3,081 letters. The volume is divided chronologically into eight books of roughly comparable length. Book One covers the longest period of time, in effect spanning Santayana's correspondence from the 1880s through most of the first decade of the twentieth century. It illuminates Santayana's life from the age of nineteen until well into his middle years, when he had established his professional career as a full professor at Harvard.In his introduction, William Holzberger summarizes their significance as follows: "We find in Santayana's letters not only a distillation of his philosophy but also a multitude of new perspectives on the published work. The responses to his correspondents are filled with spontaneous comments on and restatements of his fundamental philosophical ideas and principles. Because Santayana's philosophy was not for him a thing apart, but rather the foundation of his existence, the letters indicate the ways in which his entire life was permeated and directed by that philosophy."


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Textual Commentary
ShortTitle List
Textual Notes
Report of LineEnd Hyphenation
Manuscript Locations
List of Recipients
List of Unlocated Letters
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Página lii - I suppose Housman was really what people nowadays call 'homosexual,' [said Santayana)." "Why do you say that?" I [Cory] protested at once. "Oh, the sentiment of his poems is unmistakable, [Santayana replied]." There was a pause, and then he added, as if he were primarily speaking to himself, "I think I must have been that way in my Harvard days-although I was unconscious of it at the time.

Sobre el autor (2001)

A gentle philosopher-poet, born and reared in Spain, educated at Harvard University and later professor of philosophy there, George Santayana resided in England, France, and Italy after 1914. At the beginning of World War II, he entered the nursing home in Rome managed by nuns known as the Blue Sisters and remained there until his death. His last book, The Poet's Testament (1953), contains a few unpublished lyrics, several translations, and two plays in blank verse. The title comes from the poem read at his funeral, which begins: "I give back to the earth what the earth gave/All to the furrow, nothing to the grave." Santayana wrote philosophy in an inimitable prose, enriched with imagery and metaphor. His meanings were always complex and often ironic. In this style, so untypical of the professionalized philosophy common in the English-speaking world during his lifetime, Santayana nevertheless articulated an epistemological critical realism and an ontology of essence and matter that drew the attention and admiration of philosophers and scholars. His first published philosophical book, The Sense of Beauty (1896), was an important contribution in aesthetics, a classic text that is still in use. His multivolume work The Life of Reason expresses his naturalistic philosophy of history and culture. It states the essence of his attitude toward nature, life, and society. Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923) presents his theory of knowledge and also serves as an introduction to his system of philosophy, Realms of Being (1927--40). The titles of the separate volumes of this remarkable work, now out of print, reveal the lineaments of his system: Realm of Essence (1927), Realm of Matter (1930), Realm of Truth (1937), and Realm of Spirit (1940). His ideas were "popularized" in his only novel, The Last Puritan, which became a surprise bestseller overnight. According to the New York Times, "He came into a changing American scene with a whole group of concepts that enormously enriched our thinking. He gave a moving vitality to what had often been obscure abstractions . . . he made the whole relationship of reason and beauty, each to the other, come alive and stay alive." Although Santayana's Complete Poems (1975) is out of print, several volumes of his poetry are available and are listed below. Publication of The Complete Works of George Santayana, under the general editorship of Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., is in progress. Conforming to the guidelines of a critical edition, The Complete Works is a long-range multivolume project of which a few volumes have already appeared to critical acclaim.

William G. Holzberger is Professor of English Emeritus at Bucknell University.

Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr., is Head of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at Texas A&M University.

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