By Associate Professor H. T. Kirby-Smith A.B. M.A.
H. T. Kirby-Smith makes use of Santayana’s 1936 novel, The final Puritan, as either an party and a method for bringing into concentration the advanced family among Santayana’s existence, his character, and his philosophy. establishing with an account of Santayana’s a variety of literary types and arguing for the importance of Santayana’s writing of philosophy as literature, Kirby-Smith notes that Santayana observed the rational existence as a continuing adjustment and lodging of contradictory claims. And he observed a literary kind as an lodging of the writer to the reader.Chapters 2 via five give you the philosophical history for a attention of The final Puritan, summarizing precisely how Santayana assimilated different philosophies into his own.Chapters 6 and seven contain Santayana’s three-volume autobiography, his letters and memoirs, and biographical experiences by way of others right into a mental portrait of the writer. All of this can be in training for chapters eight and nine, which concentrate on The final Puritan. Kirby-Smith closes with a bankruptcy that serves as a felony short in security of the writer opposed to the cruel, occasionally malicious assaults of his critics.
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Additional info for A Philosophical Novelist: George Santayana and the Last Puritan
Santayana's attraction to Byron and Schopenhauer remains one Page 20 of the mysteries and paradoxes of his own personality; one would expect his own principles to set him against both. Plato Those who sniff out Santayana from a distance, reading a few sentences in a reference book regarding his theory of essences, think that they have caught the spoor of a Platonist, and with facile phrases categorize him as such. They are not so far wrong. Platonism effected a more profound transformation of his fundamental materialism than did any other set of doctrines but not for a long time: "Dialectic didn't show its other, its honest, side to me until many years later, when I read Plato and knew Bertie Russell" (Persons and Places 247).
But James himself was so completely at ease at Harvard and in Boston that there was little to make him feel his own limitations: moving from academic department to department as his interests carried him in new directions; born to such wealth as to make him feel assured and independent even when, later, he felt the occasional pinch of financial exigencies; beloved of everyone; hailed worldwide as a pioneer, first in psychology, then in philosophy. Few human beings have ever beenwhen they reached middle ageas thoroughly secure as William James.
Lucretius William James provided Santayana with someone to react against, philosophically as well as personally, and someone to reject. For a father figure to Page 18 imitate, he went back to antiquityand to the shores of the Mediterranean: "The great master of sympathy with nature, in my education, was Lucretius" (My Host the World 134). I read Lucretius in a pocket edition without notes. . I couldn't properly understand the text, many a word was new to me, and I had to pass on, reading as I did at odd moments or in horse cars.