The Santayana Edition

The Works of George Santayana (The MIT Press)

The Works of George Santayana is projected to be 20 volumes consisting of at least 35 books. It is published by The MIT Press (Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England), is supported by the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, Indianapolis, and has been honored with generous supporting grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The pagination in these digital editions matches the pagination in the printed critical editions.

Volume 1: Persons and Places (Critical Edition 1986, paperback 1987) — This volume incorporates three volumes originally published separately:
Persons and Places (1944)
The Middle Span (1945)
My Host the World (1953)

Volume 2: The Sense of Beauty (1896; Critical Edition 1988)

Volume 3: Interpretations of Poetry and Religion (1900; Critical Edition 1990)

Volume 4: The Last Puritan (1935; Critical Edition 1994, paperback 1995) 

Volume 5: The Letters of George Santayana — The eight books of The Letters of George Santayana bring together over 3,000 letters written by Santayana to more than 365 recipients. Many of the letters have been discovered in the fifty years since Santayana’s death. 
Book One, [1868]-1909 (2001)  
Book Two, 1910-1920 (2001)  
Book Three, 1921-1927 (2002)  
Book Four, 1928-1932 (2003)  
Book Five, 1933-1936 (2003)  
Book Six, 1937-1940 (2004)  
Book Seven, 1941-1947 (2006)  
Book Eight, 1948-1952 (2008)

Volume 6: George Santayana’s Marginalia: A Critical SelectionThe two books of the Marginalia reproduce selected annotations Santayana made in his books. Each entry includes the bibliographic information and location of the work. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author.
Book One: Abell-Lucretius (2011)
Book Two: McCord-Zeller (2011)

Volume 7: The Life of Reason in five books as originally published. 
Reason in Common Sense (1905; Critical Edition 2011)  
Reason in Society (1905; Critical Edition 2013)  
Reason in Religion (1905; Critical Edition 2014)  
Reason in Art (1905; Critical Edition 2015)  
Reason in Science (1906; Critical Edition 2016)  

Volume 8: Three Philosophical Poets: Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe (1910; Critical Edition 2019)  

Volume 9: Winds of Doctrine: Studies in Contemporary Opinion (1913; Critical Edition 2023)


Volume 10: Egotism in German Philosophy (1915)

Volume 11: Character and Opinion in the United States (1920)

Volume 12: Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies (1922)

Volume 13: Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)

Volume 14: Dialogues in Limbo (1926)

Volume 15: Platonism and the Spiritual Life (1927)

Volume 16: Realms of Being in four books as originally published.
The Realm of Essence (1927)
The Realm of Matter (1930)
The Realm of Truth (1938)
The Realm of Spirit (1940)

Volume 17: The Genteel Tradition at Bay and Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy (1931 and 1933)

Volume 18: The Idea of Christ in the Gospels (1946)

Volume 19: Dominations and Powers (1951)

Volume 20: Collected articles, reviews, essays, and miscellaneous manuscripts

Archival materials

The critical editing process often relies on archival materials including manuscripts, notes, and letters. The digital texts presented here are the result of archival research, critical editing, and good luck, and are supported by the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, Indianapolis, and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Hastings Aesthetics Lectures Notebook

This collection presents scanned pages and a transcription of the notebook of Horatius Bonar Hastings, a student who attended Santayana’s 1892–93 aesthetics lectures (offered as Phil 8). These lectures formed the basis for Santayana’s The Sense of Beauty (1896), which has become a classic in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. For more information, see this brief history of the notebook or consult the article “Santayana’s Lectures on Aesthetics,” Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the George Santayana Society, 22, 2004, 23–28.

Translation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics

This collection presents scanned pages and a transcription of Santayana’s holograph manuscript of his partial translation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, written out while he was tutoring a couple of philosophy students. You can also read an introduction to Santayana’s translation by the transcriber of the manuscript: Introduction to Santayana’s translation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

Agustín Letters

This collection presents scanned pages, transcriptions, and translations of 110 letters from Agustín Santayana to his son George Santayana. The letters span the twenty years from 1873 to 1893 and reveal origins of and influences on George Santayana’s love for thinking. While quoted by scholars and George Santayana himself, these letters have never been published. This collection of documents also includes a letter Agustín wrote to his daughter Susana, a letter Susana wrote to George, a list of goods and their prices from an unnamed market, and the last will and testament of Agustín Ruiz de Santayana y Reboiro. The Santayana Edition is grateful to the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University for the permission to reproduce the documents here.

Westenholz Letters

This collection presents scanned pages and transcriptions of 60 letters (dating from 1903 to 1937) from George Santayana to his friend Baron Albert Wilhelm Freiherrn von Westenholz (1879–1939)—in addition to assorted manuscripts, photographs, and drawings. Westenholz, whom Sanatayana identified as “one of my truest friends” (Santayana, Persons and Places, 261), studied at Harvard when Santayana was a professor. Santayana and Westenholz later met several times in Europe, including visits by Santayana to Westenholz’s home in Hamburg. Eventually their personal meetings ceased, but they maintained a correspondence that allowed the “friendship to become intellectually closer in later years, without seeming to require personal contacts” (Santayana, Persons and Places, 262). In 2001, the “Textual Commentary” to The Letters of George Santayana, Book One [1868]–1909 (The MIT Press, 2001) noted that “[n]one of the letters that Santayana wrote to his friend Baron Albert von Westenholz have been located” (Letters 1, 422). In 2016, the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University noted the addition of the letters Santayana wrote to Westenholz to their archival collection of George Santayana Papers. The Santayana Edition is grateful to Columbia University for permission to reproduce the letters here. See the transcriber’s notes for the methodology applied to the transcriptions.

Autobiography Notebook I – IV (Notebook I, Notebook II, Notebook III, Notebook IV, Transcriber’s Notes)

This collection presents scanned pages and transcriptions of four notebooks containing handwritten material for Santayana’s autobiography, Persons and Places (originally published in three books: Persons and Places [1944], The Middle Span [1945], and My Host the World [1953]). They are written mainly in pencil in ruled composition books. The notebooks were used by the Santayana Edition as pre-copy-text documents for the critical edition of the autobiography, which published the three books together as one under the title Persons and Places, Volume I of The Works of George Santayana (The MIT Press, 1986). Most of the notebook contents are rough drafts of material that eventually appeared in Persons and Places, with a few exceptions—“Notes on the Ethics of the Old Testament” and “Alexander in Olympus” in Notebook I are apparently drafts of unpublished essays. It is likely that these notebooks were composed over a number of years, though exact dates are uncertain. The transcriptions presented were completed by Santayana Edition staff and the images are from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University. The notebooks are numbered I-IV, but the numbering has evidently been done by the librarians of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University for the purposes of cataloguing and bears no relation to the probable dates of inscription of the individual notebooks. The numbering of the notebooks is, in fact, directly contrary to the order in which they relate to the later fair-copy stage of the autobiography.

Loeser Letters

This collection presents scanned pages and transcriptions of 27 letters written by Santayana between 1886 and 1912 to friend and Harvard classmate Charles Alexander Loeser (1864–1928). The early letters are highly philosophical, while the later letters more often discuss the logistics of meeting when both are traveling in Europe and provide updates on Santayana’s life. This gives the reader a sense of Santayana’s progression through his graduate student and faculty career at Harvard. The collection is housed at Houghton Library, the principal repository for rare books and manuscripts at Harvard University, along with letters written to Loeser by philosopher William James.

Santayana’s Cartoons for the Harvard Lampoon 

Santayana’s biographer wrote, “Between February 9, 1883, and June 25, 1886, no fewer than fifty-one of Santayana’s cartoons appeared [in the Harvard Lampoon]. Despite any apparent irony, it is entirely logical that the author of such works as Realms of Being and Dominations and Powers should have begun his public career as a cartoonist. In addition to manual skill, that art requires an attentive eye, thoughtfulness, and a distinct point of view, qualities that would mark Santayana’s best work as an author” (John McCormick, George Santayana: A Biography, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987, 38). Santayana in his autobiography reported that, as a freshman at Harvard, he met two seniors who encouraged him to draw for the Harvard Lampoon. Santayana submitted a drawing; the Lampoon Board accepted it and asked him to submit more. “Naturally, I did so;” he wrote, “and was thereupon elected a member of the Lampoon Board” (Persons and Places, 186–7). Santayana recounted, “I never wrote for the Lampoon; even the text for my sketches was usually supplied for me by the others, who knew the idioms required. My English was too literary, too lady-like, too correct for such a purpose; and I never acquired, or liked, the American art of perpetual joking. What we printed was a severe selection from what we uttered: it had to be local, new or fresh, and at least apparently decent. Speech in this circle, if not always decent, never became lewd” (Persons and Places, 188). This digital collection presents thirty-five of Santayana’s Lampoon drawings.

James-Santayana Correspondence

The James-Santayana Correspondence brings together both sides of the correspondence between George Santayana and his teacher and colleague at Harvard, William James. This collection covers the years 1887 to 1905 and includes 26 documents. There are 16 letters from Santayana to James and 1 published book review by Santayana of James’ Principles of Psychology, to which James responds in a letter. There are 9 letters from James: 7 to Santayana and 2 to other recipients. Eliza Kraus, the IUPUI graduate student who compiled and prepared the letters, explained that “there are . . . several instances where there are large gaps between the letters, due to Santayana’s habit of throwing letters away, but there was one particular occasion where I found a substitution. After going through all of the James sources at the University Library, I came across a footnote in The Thought and Character of William James Volume 1: Inheritance and Vocation explaining that one of James’ letters to Dickinson Sergeant Miller might make a decent replacement for one of the lost letters [to Santayana], as James also gives his opinion on one of Santayana’s works there. On another occasion, there was a letter James wrote to George Herbert Palmer praising Santayana, which James requests Palmer to forward to him. This letter is what Santayana is replying to in the letter [to James] that follows. I was, unfortunately, unable to locate holographs of either the letter to Dickinson or the letter to Palmer, but luckily the transcriptions are included in the Correspondence volumes.” This compilation drew on information contained in the critical edition of each philosopher’s letters: The Letters of George Santayana (Books 1–8, Volume V of The Works of George Santayana, Cambridge, MA, and London: The MIT Press, 2001–2008) and The Correspondence of William James (Volumes 1–12, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1992–2004).

Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the George Santayana Society

An annual publication, Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the George Santayana Society includes scholarly articles on George Santayana as well as announcements of publications and meetings pertaining to Santayana scholarship.

The Works of George Santayana has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.


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