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. He is by turns critical (often), approving (seldom), literary, slangy, frivolous, and even spiteful. The notes show his humor, his occasional outcry at a writer's folly, his concern for the niceties of English prose and the placing of Greek accent marks.
These two volumes list alphabetically by author all the books extant that belonged to Santayana, reproducing a selection of his annotations intended to be of use to the reader or student of Santayana's thought, his art, and his life. Each entry includes a headnote with the author's name, the title of the work, brief publication information, and the library location of the book. Not all marginalia from a given text is included; the notes have been selected for content and style.
Santayana, often living in solitude, spent a great deal of his time talking to, and talking back to, a wonderful miscellany of writers, from Spinoza to Kant to J. S. Mill to Bertrand Russell. These notes document those conversations.
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 Editor
John McCormick (1918–2010), the author of the definitive Santayana biography, George Santayana: A Biography, was Professor of Comparative Literature at Rutgers University and Honorary Professor Emeritus at the University of York.