The Idler and His Works: And Other Essays

The Idler and His Works: And Other Essays

The Idler and His Works: And Other Essays

The Idler and His Works: And Other Essays

Excerpt

The essays gathered in this volume have never appeared in book form, and several of them not even in periodicals. They represent various aspects of Santayana's many- colored mind, and reveal those ruling civilized interests that found expression in more than sixty years of unique and beautiful writing.

In the first part I have placed two mature essays of capital importance. "The Idler and His Works" was composed during the last war, when Santayana was shut off in Rome from all contact with the free world. It is a masterpiece of its kind in which he attempts to sum up his life's literary labors and evaluate them from the standpoint of posterity. It is as if he said: "This is how I see myself and my work sub specie aeternitatis."

The essay on "Americanism" was written sometime between 1935 and 1940. Santayana did not publish it at once, because he felt that perhaps some of his admonitions and strictures on our way of thinking and living were a little harsh, and he wanted time to reconsider the whole matter. Then in the summer of 1952 in Rome (a few months before he died) he handed me this essay and asked me to take good care of it. He said it was "up to me" to do whatever I thought best. He added, however, "I don't . . .

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