'Persons and Places: Critical Edition'
By George Santayana (Author), William G. Holzberger (Editor), Herman J. Saatkamp Jr (Editor),Richard C. Lyon (Introduction)
Philosopher, poet, critic of culture and literature, and best-selling novelist, George Santayana was unquestionably one of the great men of letters of our time. Persons and Places inaugurates a new definitive edition of Santayana's works that aims to come as close to his final intentions as possible. This first volume includes three books - Persons and Places, The Middle Span, and My Host the World - covering Santayana's youth, education, and teaching in Boston and Cambridge, his travels abroad, and ending shortly before his death in Rome in the early 1950s.
Persons and Places is the first unexpurgated version of Santayana's autobiography. substantially different from any previously published versions of Santayana's work, it restores 718 marginal headings and significant passages that have been omitted in the past, including lengthy sections on Spinoza, John Russell, Lionel Johnson, and members of Santayana's American family. All of this material was a part of Santayana's manuscript and was deleted from earlier publications for a variety of reasons, including his wish that portions be published only after his death, publishers' sensitivity about potential lawsuits, printing and production convenience, and a general desire to "soften" some of Santayana's remarks.
Physically, Persons and Places differs from other editions as well. Along with the restoration of marginal headings, which provide valuable information and often an indication of the author's tone, it includes Santayana's British spelling and punctuation as well as his idiosyncratic use of certain punctuation, and numerous photographs. Richard Lyon's Introduction is a significant contribution to American scholarship that not only explores Santayana's life and work but also enables us to understand the literary place of Persons and Places. The editorial apparatus includes a variants list, emendations list, notes to the text, discussions of adopted texts, and a section identifying persons mentioned in the autobiography.
The Santayana edition, with over 20 volumes planned in all, was initiated by members of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, with funds provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. William G. Holzberger is Associate Professor of English at Bucknell University. Herman J. Saatkamp, Jr. is Professor and Head, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Texas A&M University.
Philosopher, poet, literary and cultural critic, George Santayana is a principal figure in Classical American Philosophy. His naturalism and emphasis on creative imagination were harbingers of important intellectual turns on both sides of the Atlantic. He was a naturalist before naturalism grew popular; he appreciated multiple perfections before multiculturalism became an issue; he thought of philosophy as literature before it became a theme in American and European scholarly circles; and he managed to naturalize Platonism, update Aristotle, fight off idealisms, and provide a striking and sensitive account of the spiritual life without being a religious believer. His Hispanic heritage, shaded by his sense of being an outsider in America, captures many qualities of American life missed by insiders, and presents views equal to Tocqueville in quality and importance. Beyond philosophy, only Emerson may match his literary production. As a public figure, he appeared on the front cover of Time (3 February 1936), and his autobiography (Persons and Places, 1944) and only novel (The Last Puritan, 1936) were the best-selling books in the United States as Book-of-the-Month Club selections. The novel was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Edmund Wilson ranked Persons and Places among the few first-rate autobiographies, comparing it favorably to Yeats's memoirs, The Education of Henry Adams, and Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Remarkably, Santayana achieved this stature in American thought without being an American citizen. He proudly retained his Spanish citizenship throughout his life. Yet, as he readily admitted, it is as an American that his philosophical and literary corpuses are to be judged. Using contemporary classifications, Santayana is the first and foremost Hispanic-American philosopher.