By Associate Professor H. T. Kirby-Smith A.B. M.A.
H. T. Kirby-Smith makes use of Santayana’s 1936 novel, The final Puritan, as either an celebration and a method for bringing into concentration the advanced family among Santayana’s existence, his character, and his philosophy. commencing with an account of Santayana’s numerous literary types and arguing for the importance of Santayana’s writing of philosophy as literature, Kirby-Smith notes that Santayana observed the rational existence as a continuous adjustment and lodging of contradictory claims. And he observed a literary sort as an lodging of the writer to the reader.Chapters 2 via five give you the philosophical historical past for a attention of The final Puritan, summarizing precisely how Santayana assimilated different philosophies into his own.Chapters 6 and seven include Santayana’s three-volume autobiography, his letters and memoirs, and biographical experiences via others right into a mental portrait of the writer. All of this is often in practise for chapters eight and nine, which specialize in The final Puritan. Kirby-Smith closes with a bankruptcy that serves as a criminal short in safety of the writer opposed to the tough, occasionally malicious assaults of his critics.
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Extra info for A Philosophical Novelist: George Santayana and the Last Puritan
Lovejoy's Great Chain of Being: the tracing of the history of ideas. Essences might be for Santayana eternal and nonexistent, but he saw his own life and development as a philosopher as one intricate trope. The give-and-take of the extant world, including the world of philosophical discourse, provided the grounds of existence for his thought, even as matter itself gave birth to spirit. This very reasonableness and accommodativeness explains why his writings lent themselves to controversy and attack.
Other men and women of letters sought him out at times; Edmund Wilson's remarks on Santayana sound awestruck, a tone that he took toward only one other living figure, James Joyce. More than any other figure in philosophy, Santayana also made himself at home with the great poets of ages pastGoethe, Milton, Shakespeare, Dante, Virgil, Lucretius, Homer. If Santayana's name appears prominently in literary relations, imagine the complexity of connections within his own discipline. The names in a diagram of these relations would include: Thales, Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Democritus, Epicurus, Marcus Aurelius, Lucretius, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, Avicenna, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Emerson, Fichte, Nietzsche, Bergson, Moore, James, Royce, Russell, and Whitehead.
We may visit that realm at any time, since it is the given, the eternally presentthough nonexistent. Not only is the character of each essence inalienable, and, so long as it is open to intuition, indubitable, but the realm of essences is infinite. Since any essence I happen to have hit upon is independent of me and would possess its precise character if I had never been born, or had never been led by the circumstances of my life and temperament to apprehend that particular essence, evidently all other essences, which I have not led to think of, rejoice in the same sort of impalpable beingimpalpable, yet the only sort of being that the most rugged experience can ever actually find.