The Letters of George Santayana, Book Seven, 1941–1947
The Works of George Santayana, Volume V
- Winner, Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters given by the Modern Language Association (MLA).
648 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: November 14, 2006
- Publisher: The MIT Press
The seventh and penultimate book of the letters of American philosopher George Santayana, covering the years 1941 to 1947 and including letters to such correspondents as Daniel Cory, John Hall Wheelock, Robert Lowell, and others.
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. During these years, Santayana lived in a single room in a nursing home run by the "Blue Sisters" of the Little Company of Mary in Rome, where, during the winter months, he did much of his writing in bed (wearing well-mended gloves) in order to stay warm. And yet, despite wartime deprivations, illness, and old age (he was 77 in 1941), Santayana was remarkably productive, completing both his autobiography Persons and Places and The Idea of Christ in the Gospels: or God in Man, and all but completing Dominations and Powers. He confided to one correspondent that he had "never been more at peace or more happy." 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. Letters in Book Seven are written to such correspondents as his friend and protégée Daniel Cory, his financial manager and heir George Sturgis, and the American poet Robert Lowell. The correspondence with Lowell—which began when the younger writer sent Santayana a copy of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Lord Weary's Castle—signals an important new friendship, which became a source of affection and intellectual engagement in Santayana's final years.