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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Book Three of George Santayana’s letters covers a period of intense intellectual activity in Santayana’s life, and the correspondence reflects the establishment of his mature philosophy. Santayana becomes more permanently established in Italy, but continues to travel in France, Spain, and England. The year 1927 marks the beginning of his long friendship with Daniel Cory, who became his literary secretary and eventually his literary executor.
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 more than 3,000 letters. The volume is divided chronologically into eight books of roughly comparable length. Book Two covers Santayana’s first decade as a "freelance philosopher," following his resignation from Harvard University and move to Europe.
edited and with an introduction by William G. Holzberger 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.