Santayana: the Later Years: A Portrait with Letters

By Daniel Cory | Go to book overview

Seven: 1935
I am comfortably settled here for the summer, and work every morning -- very slowly -- on The Realm of Spirit. As stimulus I have Alain's Les Dieux, the Bhagavah-Gita, and the complete works of St. John of the Cross.

E ARLY in the new year I went to London, where I saw a young actor who had created quite a stir that winter -- John Gielgud. I was so impressed by his Hamlet that I sent a photograph of him to Santayana and on January 24 I had a reply. After revealing that his "yearly account" was very satisfactory, but that he was not "dazzled or inclined to spend recklessly, because the ghosts of inflation, Communism, and Taxes are always with us," the mention of ghosts led naturally to Hamlet and the photograph I had sent him:

...When I saw the portrait -- there is no name to it -- I said to myself: "This is Hamlet himself. Where did they get the picture?" Then after a moment I wandered if it could be you: the face is very like yours: only the hair looked too natural for a wig.1 Then I read reasonably and learned the facts. I am quite ready to believe that he is better than Forbes-Robertson, who was simply inoffensive, not an actor of any native power. He is also likely to be better than Irving, who was fundamentally absurd, although with a certain suggestion of poetry á la Meredith: affected, pre-Raphaelite and Bohemian. John Gielgud seems to be natural,

____________________
1
was prematurely rather bald!

-146-

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Santayana: the Later Years: A Portrait with Letters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Prologue 11
  • One: 1927-28 15
  • Two: 1929 37
  • Three: 1930-31 59
  • Four: 1932 89
  • Five: 1933 106
  • Six: 1934 122
  • Seven: 1935 146
  • Eight: 1936 165
  • Nine: 1937 181
  • Ten: 1938 193
  • Eleven: 1939 206
  • Twelve: 1940-41 225
  • Thirteen: 1942-46 245
  • Fourteen: 1947-48 266
  • Fifteen: 1949-50 290
  • Sixteen: 1951-52 306
  • Epilogue 328
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