Development of his Philosophy
Persons and Places; Fragments of Autobiography
The development of Santayana's life and thought are recounted in his
three-book autobiography,1 but the publishing history of this work is
I regard this edition of Persons and Places as a mutilated victim of war, and
. dream of a standard edition, which probably I shall never see, in which the
original words, the omitted passages, and the marginal comments (not
headings, as in the Triton Edition) shall be restored, and the portraits and
other illustrations shall be well reproduced. (Santayana to Cory, March 14,
From composition to publication, few modern textual documents have
suffered more than Santayana's autobiography. Intended as a one-volume
work to be published posthumously, it was published instead as three
individual works. Only the third book was published posthumously in
1953f the other two were published in 1944 and 1945 respectively.
The circumstances of the early 1940's caused Santayana, for the
moment, to set aside his ambitions for his autobiography. After an
unsuccessful attempt to leave Italy for Switzerland, Santayana lived in
Rome for the duration of World War II trapped by circumstance and by
his age. At the same time, Santayana's friend, Daniel Cory, was stranded
in New York without any clear means of support. To assist his friend,
Santayana arranged for the royalties of his autobiography, whenever it
was published, to be paid directly to Cory. In addition, Santayana's
publishers, particularly Scribner's, were eager to issue what would become
a Book-of-the-Month Club's best seller, and they urged that the
autobiography be published piecemeal rather than as a whole.
Furthermore, there was an undercurrent of fear that the manuscript
might be destroyed or lost during the war. These circumstances
convinced Santayana to permit the publication of his autobiography in
three parts and to allow the first two parts to be published before his
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Santayana
Society on December 28, 1985, in conjunction with the American Philosophical Association,
1 Persons and Places (Scribner's, 1944), The Middle Span (Scribner's, 1945), and My Host the
World (Scribner's, 1953).
2 Unpublished letter to Daniel Cory. Santayana's letters to Daniel Cory are in Butler
Library, Columbia University.
s Santayana died in 1952.