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George Santayana: A Biography Paperback – April 18, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (April 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765805030
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765805034
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,324,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Calling the current neglect of Santayana a scandal, McCormick wants us to see him not only as a great philosopher but as an important novelist, poet, literary critic and master of the epigram. Born in Madrid in 1863, Santayana became a leading figure at Harvard where he tired of academic politics; his disdain for Americans' worship of "material achievement, good humor and football" drove him back to Europe. This Jamesian personality lived his own philosophy of serene detachment. He saw religion, art and science as a harmonious whole and tried to synthesize Plato and Lao-tsu. His idealistic philosophy upheld concepts like soul and psyche in the age of Einstein without invoking mysticism. The Last Puritan, his only novel, charts the inevitable decline and extinction of its hero with tragic force. What are we to make of Santayana's sympathies with Italian Fascism, his anti-Semitism, total opposition to liberalism and ultra-traditionalism in art, which led him to brand Shakespeare and Browning as barbarians? McCormick, author of four scholarly books, spends much of this intimate 608-page biography acting as an apologist, yet he succeeds in engaging the reader in an active dialogue with Santayana's thought. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

George Santayana (1863-1950), elegant, rather prissy, and the great philosopher of "naturalism" and skepticism, taught at Harvard until 1912 and spent the rest of his life writing some of his most important books and traveling. This thorough biography covers Santayana's long life and contains useful and often detailed discussions of his works. McCormick's treatment of some of Santayana's less attractive qualities (his conservatism, detachment, and racism) is sometimes intrusive, as is his tendency to plead for Santayana's greatness and for the relevance of his thought to an age that's largely forgotten him (though the recent publication of the first of a 19-volume set of his complete works Persons and Places, LJ 8/86may indicate new interest). But these are small shortcomings in an excellent piece of highly readable scholarship. Richard Kuczkowski, Dir., Continuing Education, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on June 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent biography of George Santayana, but it's also more than that. Whenever George Santayana publishes a book, the biographer includes an overview, analysis, and critique of the book.

It's like reading a biography of Shakespeare which includes a thorough analysis of each play as it was written.

So, in a way, this book is also a "Santayana Companion."

It's highly welcome, in an era which needs many more people like George Santayana. Comparing this titan of a man to pipsqueaks like Norman Mailer and William Burroughs is indeed an education in itself.

Very highly recommended!
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George Santayana: A Biography
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