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."
About the Author
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.
About the Editors
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.