George Santayana

JORGE AUGUSTíN NICOLÁS DE SANTAYANA⊥⊥ was born on December 16, 1863, in Madrid. Both of his parents were well-educated Spaniards and Catholic by religion. It is noteworthy, however, that his mother, born in Glasgow, Scotland, was a daughter of a Spanish republican who emigrated, because of his political convictions, to Virginia and later settled down in the Philippines; her first marriage was to an American from Boston, by the name of Sturgis, and her second marriage, to the philosopher's father, was so unhappy that it ended in separation. It was then that George, aged nine, was taken to the U.S. to join his step-brothers. Having an unusual linguistic ability, the boy had no difficulty in assimilating English perfectly without losing his mastery of Spanish, the more so that he crossed the Atlantic Ocean annually to see his father in Madrid. This mixed and unsettled background was responsible, no doubt, for the cosmopolitan attitudes characterizing Santayana throughout his life.

After graduating from Harvard University in 1886, Santayana went to Germany for further education and studied at the University of Berlin. On his return to Boston, he secured two more degrees, A.M. and Ph.D., awarded simultaneously by his alma mater ( 1889) and, in addition, was invited to teach philosophy.

At Harvard he quickly became known as an interesting and inspiring teacher as well as a poet. His first book on philosophy, The Sense of Beauty, was published in 1896 and was followed by a long series of books, among which The Life of Reason ( 1905- 1906), Winds of Doctrine ( 1913), Scepticism and Animal Faith ( 1923), Dialogues in Limbo ( 1925), and Realms of Being (in four volumes, 1927-1940) seem to be outstanding. Among his last works were The Last Puritan, a novel, and Persons and Places, an autobiography ( 1944).

In 1912, Santayana, only forty-nine and in good health, surprised his many friends and admirers by resigning from the faculty of Harvard, and went to live in Europe -- in Spain, England, France, and finally in Italy, where he settled down in Rome

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