I spent my sabbatical year in 1950-51 in Italy, chiefly at Naples, doing the
research for an article on the Neapolitan "Academy of the Investigators."
During the fall and early winter Classic American Philosophers was going
through the press. I received a few copies in January, and on the 20th I
inscribed a copy to Santayana and mailed it to him. By that time he was
living in the convent of the Blue Nuns in Rome. Along with my wife
Ruth, I visited him there in April. His assistant Daniel Cory was there. I
fell into conversation with Cory, and Ruth with Santayana. After we had
left, she reported that Santayana seemed puzzled that we should be
spending so much of our Italian year in Naples. He asked her if we had
heard the story about Naples and the Neapolitans. She replied that we
had not, and he told her it was to the effect that the creation of the
world reached such a climax in Vesuvius, the bay of Naples, the isle of
Capri, and the site of Naples itself, that the apostle Peter said: "Now,
Lord, I think you are making a great mistake. Nobody who grows up in
this area is going to have any interest in going to heaven." After a
moment's hesitation, God replied: "I think I can take care of that." And
he created the Neapolitans.
I was appointed George Santayana Fellow at Harvard University in
1960, for the purpose of assisting my researches toward a biography of
Charles S. Peirce.
It is a matter of some interest that Santayana had been invited to
undertake the Peirce edition that later appeared under the title Collected
The copy of Classic American Philosophers that I gave Santayana is now
in the rare book room of the library of the University of Waterloo. It is
inscribed on the flyleaf:
To George Santayana
from a quarter-century admirer
and enjoyer of his work
Max H. Fisch
January 20, 1951.
MAX H. FISCH
Purdue University at Indianapolis
The editors are eager to publish the personal reminiscences of those who were acquainted
with George Santayana.