Essays in Literary Criticism of George Santayana

By George Santayana; Irving Singer | Go to book overview

HINTS OF EGOTISM IN GOETHE

TO TAKE what views we will of things, if things will barely suffer us to take them, and then to declare that the things are mere terms in the views we take of them--that is transcendentalism. All transcendentalists are preoccupied with the self, but not all are egotists. Some regard as a sad disability this limitation of their knowledge to what they have created; they are humble, and almost ashamed to be human, and to possess a mind that must cut them off hopelessly from all reality. On the other hand there are many instinctive egotists who are not transcendentalists, either because their attention has not been called to this system, or because they discredit all speculation, or because they see clearly that the senses and the intellect, far from cutting us off from the real things that surround us, have the function of adjusting our action to them and informing our mind about them. Such an instinctive egotist does not allege that he creates the world by willing and thinking it, yet he is more interested in his own sensations, fancies, and preferences than in the other things in the world. The attention he bestows on things seems to him to bathe in light their truly interesting side. What he chiefly considers is his own experience--what he cared for first, what second, what he thinks to-day, what he will probably think to-morrow, what friends he has had, and how they have lost their charm, what religions he has believed in, and in general what contributions the universe has made to him and he to the universe. His interest in personality need not be confined to his own; he may have a dramatic imagination, and may assign their appropriate personality to all other people; every situation he hears of or invents may prompt him to conceive the thrilling pas-

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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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