Review of Metaphysics 22 (3):578-578 (1969)

The twenty-two essays collected for this book range widely in theme, style, and quality. The essays, a majority of which were previously unpublished, are arranged in three sections: 1) Early Essays, containing one particularly fine essay, "The Soul at Play," originally intended as part of Santayana's Soliloquies in England; 2) Later Essays, in which the title essay and "Friendship" are outstanding; and 3) Philosophical Essays, offering commentaries on Russell, Dewey, and James, on his own philosophy, and "On the False Steps of Philosophy." The book's last article, "What is the Ego?", is an elaboration of his criticism of those "German Prophets" who return from self-contemplation "as greedy as children and as stubborn as Inquisitors." Santayana's manner of exposition often involves the elaboration of a single image or metaphor. When an image or metaphor is employed which can bear the weight of subtle distinctions, he is brilliant; but when the metaphor is too weak to encompass his thinking, then his writing becomes flowery and decadent. The essays, unfinished and fragmentary for the most part, are frequently little more than a single extended metaphor--sometimes over-extended. The fragmentary, possibly only experimental, ideas in these essays invite comparison with their use in his completed works. The book will be of special interest to someone already familiar with Santayana.--A. K. T.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph196922360
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