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 way for bringing into concentration the advanced kinfolk 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 heritage for a attention of The final Puritan, summarizing precisely how Santayana assimilated different philosophies into his own.Chapters 6 and seven include Santayana’s three-volume autobiography, his letters and memoirs, and biographical stories via others right into a mental portrait of the writer. All of this is often in guidance for chapters eight and nine, which concentrate on The final Puritan. Kirby-Smith closes with a bankruptcy that serves as a felony short in safeguard of the writer opposed to the tough, occasionally malicious assaults of his critics.
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Additional resources for A Philosophical Novelist: George Santayana and the Last Puritan
In the following chapter, I will argue the radical Spinozism of Santayana's philosophy. My purpose here is to show how he absorbed other lines of thought into his own. This may seem to put the cart before the horse, or to build downward from the spires to the foundation of his philosophy; but because my extreme emphasis on Spinoza is unusual in treatments of Santayana, it is best to allow credit initially to all those other, more frequently noticed sources. Because Santayana's philosophy is eclectic and assimilative, it lends itself ideally to the approach exemplified in A.
I think he sometimes is. More pervasively, however, tragic and comic elements in his novel emanate from a good will not totally dissimilar from the one that Santayana admired in Dickens. (xl) If we can substitute unforgiving or even merciless for malicious, I will be more completely in agreement with Singer. Santayana remained literally Spanish to the end of his life and beyond. He never took any other citizenship and retained his Spanish passport; he is buried in a Spanish cemetery in Rome. There is in Santayana something fatalistic and sardonic, something akin to the stony landscape surrounding Avila, where he grew up.
Nothing can be indefinite. Make a blot of ink at random on a piece of paper. The spot is not indefinite: it has precisely the outline that it has. (Persons and Places 242) At this point, Santayana appends a footnote: "Here was a hint of my 'essences' given by an unintended shot, that hit the bull's-eye without seeing it. Forms are infinite in multitude and each perfectly concrete. James's radical empiricism was undoubtedly a guide to me in this matter. " Many years' contemplation of Santayana's theory of essences does not make it any easier to swallow that word concrete, onto which one bites down with a sensation like a fragile tooth on an olive pit.