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George SantayanaLiterary Philosopher$
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Irving Singer

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780300080377

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300080377.001.0001

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Santayana as a Literary Critic

Santayana as a Literary Critic

(p.127) 6 Santayana as a Literary Critic
George Santayana

Irving Singer

Yale University Press

This chapter illustrates the rarity of Santayana's genius. Philosophers are not generally noted for their literary criticism, just as literary critics have rarely distinguished themselves as philosophers. It is tempting to say that, in the special province of philosophical literary criticism, his achievement was more clearly unique and permanently outstanding than in any other field. In the past two hundred years, there may have been better philosophers and better essayists, and certainly better poets and novelists, but hardly any critics who have blended philosophical and literary insights with as free and authentic a hand as Santayana. Even among the greatest literary critics there have been few who could do the work that Santayana did. In fact, the practice is almost lost among American writers.

Keywords:   literary criticism, Santayana's genius, philosophical literary criticism, literary insights, American writers

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