Essays in Literary Criticism of George Santayana

By Irving Singer; George Santayana | Go to book overview

A Note about This Edition

IN making this edition, I found that the essays fell naturally into three Parts. Part I is entirely composed of Three Philosophical Poets, which stands by itself as a unit. Part II is made up of scattered essays on particular authors and works of literature. Part III comprises writings about the nature of poetry and prose in general. The essays are not arranged in the order of their composition, but roughly in accordance with the historical and philosophical continuity of their subject-matter. I have generally left Santayana's material as I found it, though in several instances slight adjustments had to be made. For example, the first sentence of the essay "Hints of Egotism in Goethe" originally appeared as the last lines of the previous chapter in the book Egotism in German Philosophy. It is included in order to give the reader some idea of how Santayana uses the word "transcendentalism." In the selections from The Last Puritan the sub-title "Critical Excerpts" is mine, the excerpts themselves having been included to show how Santayana uses literary criticism as a way of demonstrating the character of Peter Alden, Caleb Wetherbee, and Oliver Alden respectively. The titles "Literary Form" and "Expression in Literature" are also mine, the selections having originally appeared in The Sense of Beauty. Finally, the reader may be interested in knowing that "Speech and Signification" and "Poetry and Prose" are chapters from Reason in Art, "Literary Psychology" is a chapter from Scepticism and Animal Faith, and "Mythology" is a chapter from Reason in Religion.

-v-

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Essays in Literary Criticism of George Santayana
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • A Note About This Edition v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction: Santayana As A Literary Critic ix
  • Part I - Three Philosophical Poets 1
  • Part II - Critical Essays 75
  • The Homeric Hymns 77
  • Platonic Love In Some Italian Poets 94
  • Cervantes 112
  • Hamlet 120
  • The Absence of Religion In Shakespeare 137
  • The Poetry Of Barbarism 149
  • Hints of Egotism In Goethe 179
  • Shelley: or the Poetic Value Of Revolutionary Principles 186
  • Leopardi 208
  • Dickens 210
  • Emerson 224
  • Penitent Art 234
  • Proust On Essences 241
  • The Last Puritan 246
  • Preface 246
  • Tragic Philosophy 266
  • Part III - Critical Theory 279
  • The Elements And Function of Poetry 281
  • Speech And Signification 304
  • Poetry And Prose 317
  • Literary Form 336
  • Literary Psychology 394
  • Mythology 402
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