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Letters of George Santayana, 1948-1952

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ISBN-10: 0262195712

ISBN-13: 9780262195713

Edition: 2008

Authors: George Santayana, William G. Holzberger, Herman J. Saatkamp, Marianne S. Wokeck

List price: $80.00
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Description:

This final volume of Santayana's letters spans the last five years of the philosopher's life. Despite the increasing infirmities of age and illness, Santayana continued to be remarkably productive during these years, working steadily until September 1952, when he died of stomach cancer, just three months short of his eighty-ninth birthday. Still living in the nursing home run by the "Blue Sisters" of the Little Company of Mary in Rome (now with such prewar luxuries as hot baths and central heating restored), Santayana completed his book Dominations and Powers,which had been more than fifty years in the making, the final part of his autobiography Persons and Places, published posthumously in 1953 as My Host the World,and the abridgment of his early five-part masterwork, The Life of Reason,into a single volume--all while continuing to maintain a voluminous correspondence with friends and admirers. The eight books of The Letters of George Santayanabring together over 3,000 letters, many of which have been discovered in the fifty years since Santayana's death. Letters in Book Eight are written to such correspondents as the young American poet Robert Lowell (whom Santayana thinks of "only as a friend and not merely as a celebrity" and to whom he sends a wedding gift of $500); Ira D. Cardiff, the editor of Atoms of Thought,a collection of excerpts from Santayana's writings (which, Santayana complained, portrayed him as more akin to Tom Paine than Thomas Aquinas); Richard Colton Lyon, a young Texan who would later collect Santayana's writings about America in Santayana on America: Essays, Notes, and Letters on American Life, Literature, and Philosophy(1968); and the humanist philosopher Corliss Lamont.
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Book details

List price: $80.00
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 6/13/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 704
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 2.398
Language: English

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.

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
List of Letters
Letters
Editorial Appendix
Textual Commentary
Short-Title List
Textual Notes
Report of Line-End Hyphenation
Chronology
Addresses
Manuscript Locations
List of Recipients
List of Unlocated Letters
Index