Skip navigation

Marianne S. Wokeck

Titles by This Editor

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.

In this third book, Santayana offers a naturalistic interpretation of religion. He believes that religion is ignoble if regarded as a truthful depiction of real beings and events; but regarded as poetry, it might be the greatest source of wisdom. Santayana analyzes four characteristic religious concerns: piety, spirituality, charity, and immortality. He is at his most profound in his discussion of immortality, arguing for an ideal immortality that does not eradicate the fear of death but offers a way for mortal man to share in immortal things and live in a manner that will bestow on his successors the imprint of his soul.

This critical edition, volume VII of The Works of George Santayana, includes notes, textual commentary, lists of variants and emendations, bibliography, and other tools useful to Santayana scholars. The other four books of the volume include Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Society, Reason in Art, and Reason in Science.

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.

In this second book, Santayana analyzes several distinctive forms of human association, from political and economic orders to forms of friendship, to determine what possibilities they provide for the life of reason. He considers, among other topics, love and the affinity for the ideal, the family, aristocracy and democracy, the constituents of genuinely free friendship (including that of husband and wife), patriotism, and the ideal society of kindred spirits.

This Critical Edition, volume VII of The Works of George Santayana, includes a chronology, notes, bibliography, textual commentary, lists of variants, and other tools useful to Santayana scholars. The other four books of the volume include Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, and Reason in Science.

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.
In this first book of the work, Santayana provides an account of how the human animal develops instinct, passion, and chaotic experience into rationality and ideal life. Inspired by Aristotle’s De Anima, Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and William James’s The Principles of Psychology, Santayana contends that the requirements of action in a hazardous and uncertain environment are the sources of the development of mind. More specifically, instinct and imagination are crucial to the emergence of reason from chaos. Separating himself from the typical thought of the time by his recognition of the imagination, Santayana in this volume offers extensive critiques of various philosophies of mind, including those of Kant and the British empiricists.
This Critical Edition, volume VII of The Works of George Santayana, includes a chronology, notes, bibliography, textual commentary, lists of variants, and other tools useful to Santayana scholars. The other four books of the volume include Reason in Society, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, and Reason in Science.

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. Still living in the nursing home run by the “Blue Sisters” of the Little Company of Mary in Rome (now with such prewar luxuries as hot baths and central heating restored), Santayana completed his book Dominations and Powers, which had been more than fifty years in the making, the final part of his autobiography Persons and Places, published posthumously in 1953 as My Host the World, and the abridgement of his early five-part masterwork, The Life of Reason, into a single volume--all while continuing to maintain a voluminous correspondence with friends and admirers. 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 Eight are written to such correspondents as the young American poet Robert Lowell (whom Santayana thinks of “only as a friend and not merely as a celebrity” and to whom he sends a wedding gift of $500); Ira D. Cardiff, the editor of Atoms of Thought, a collection of excerpts from Santayana’s writings (which, Santayana complained, portrayed him as more akin to Tom Paine than Thomas Aquinas); Richard Colton Lyon, a young Texan who would later collect Santayana’s writings about America in Santayana on America: Essays, Notes, and Letters on American Life, Literature, and Philosophy (1968); and the humanist philosopher Corliss Lamont.William G. Holzberger is Professor of English Emeritus at Bucknell University.

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. 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.

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. In 1938 the first book-length biography of Santayana was published, and in 1940 The Philosophy of George Santayana--a collection of critical essays that included Santayana's rejoinder, "Apologia pro Mente Sua"--was published as volume two of Northwestern University Press?s Library of Living Philosophers. In 1939, when war broke out in Europe and Swiss authorities denied him a long-term visa, Santayana decided to stay in Italy, where he was to remain for the rest of his life.The letters in this book are written to such correspondents as Van Meter Ames, Curt John Ducasse, Max Forrester Eastman, Max Fisch, Sidney Hook, Horace Meyer Kallen, Christopher Janus, Milton Munitz, William Lyon Phelps, and Ezra Pound, and include discussions of the work of Henri Bergson, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, and Ezra Pound, among others.