Skip navigation

George Santayana

George Santayana (1863–1952) was a philosopher, poet, critic, and novelist. He is the author of The Last Puritan (MIT Press) and many other works. The MIT Press has published The Letters of George Santayana in eight books.

Titles by This Author

Reason in Religion, Volume VII, Book Three

Santayana’s Life of Reason, published in five books from 1905 to 1906, ranks as one of the greatest works in modern philosophical naturalism. Acknowledging the natural material bases of human life, Santayana traces the development of the human capacity for appreciating and cultivating the ideal. It is a capacity he exhibits as he articulates a continuity running through animal impulse, practical intelligence, and ideal harmony in reason, society, art, religion, and science. The work is an exquisitely rendered vision of human life lived sanely.

Reason in Society, Volume VII, Book Two

Santayana’s Life of Reason, published in five books from 1905 to 1906, ranks as one of the greatest works in modern philosophical naturalism. Acknowledging the natural material bases of human life, Santayana traces the development of the human capacity for appreciating and cultivating the ideal. It is a capacity he exhibits as he articulates a continuity running through animal impulse, practical intelligence, and ideal harmony in reason, society, art, religion, and science. The work is an exquisitely rendered vision of human life lived sanely.

Introduction and Reason in Common Sense, Volume VII, Book One

Santayana’s Life of Reason, published in five books from 1905 to 1906, ranks as one of the greatest works in modern philosophical naturalism. Acknowledging the natural material bases of human life, Santayana traces the development of the human capacity for appreciating and cultivating the ideal. It is a capacity he exhibits as he articulates a continuity running through animal impulse, practical intelligence, and ideal harmony in reason, society, art, religion, and science. The work is an exquisitely rendered vision of human life lived sanely.

Book Two, McCord–Zeller

In his essay "Imagination," George Santayana writes, "There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margins, may be more interesting than the text." Santayana himself was an inveterate maker of notes in the margins of his books, writing (although neatly, never scrawling) comments that illuminate, contest, or interestingly expand the author's thought. These volumes offer a selection of Santayana's marginalia, transcribed from books in his personal library. These notes give the reader an unusual perspective on Santayana's life and work.

Book One, Abell–Lucretius

In his essay "Imagination," George Santayana writes, "There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margins, may be more interesting than the text." Santayana himself was an inveterate maker of notes in the margins of his books, writing (although neatly, never scrawling) comments that illuminate, contest, or interestingly expand the author's thought. These volumes offer a selection of Santayana's marginalia, transcribed from books in his personal library. These notes give the reader an unusual perspective on Santayana's life and work.

The Works of George Santayana, Volume V

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.

The Works of George Santayana, Volume V

This penultimate volume of Santayana’s letters chronicles Santayana’s life during a difficult time--the war years and the immediate postwar period. The advent of World War II left Santayana isolated in Rome, and the difficulties of wartime travel across borders forced him to abandon plans to move to more agreeable locations in Switzerland or Spain.

The Works of George Santayana, Volume V

The eight books of The Letters of George Santayana bring together over 3,000 letters, many of which have been discovered in the fifty years since Santayana's death. This sixth book covers four years of Santayana's life in Rome, his permanent residence since the late 1920s. During these years, Santayana, in his seventies, saw the publication of the remaining nine volumes of the Triton Edition of his work as well as the last two books of his Realms of Being: The Realm of Truth and The Realm of Spirit.

The Works of George Santayana, Volume V

During the period covered by this book, George Santayana had settled permanently in Rome. His best-selling novel, The Last Puritan, was published in London in 1935 and in the United States in 1936, where it was chosen as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. In 1936 Santayana became one of the few philosophers ever to appear on the front cover of Time magazine. His growing influence was evidenced further by two other 1936 publications, Obiter Scripta: Lectures, Essays and Reviews and Philosophy of Santayana: Selections From the Works of George Santayana.

The Works of George Santayana, Volume V

George Santayana published The Realm of Matter (1930) and The Genteel Tradition at Bay (1931). He continued work on Book Three of Realms of Being, The Realm of Truth, and on his novel, The Last Puritan. Citing his commitment to his writing and his intention to retire from academia, he declined offers from Harvard University for the Norton Chair of Poetry and for a position as William James Professor of Philosophy, as well as offers for positions at the New School for Social Research and Brown University.