SANTAYANA, GEORGE [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás] The Correspondence of George Santayana to Herbert Lyman,1885-1944.
Extraordinary collection of 50 autograph letters signed, addressed to Santayana's Harvard friend and classmate Lyman (both were from the Class of 1886); variously from Cambridge (Mass.), Oxford, Berlin, Avila, Glion etc. Housed in a three-ring binder, arranged in chronological order. Two letters are fragmentary, another (from 1900), apparently torn up but retained.
The archive includes two remarkable letters with poems and drawings, written to Lyman from Berlin in 1886, where he studied for some two years (both men had travelled together as far as Dresden). One of these extraordinary missives extends over eight pages. The fine picture-letters reveal Santayana to be a talented and incisive draughtsman, of a humorous bent. Three other letters in the collection bear poems. The bulk of the letters are from the year that both men graduated, and from the years succeeding, when Santayana was part of the Philosophy Faculty at Harvard. He left this post in 1912, spending the rest of his life in Europe. 44 of the letters are from 1900 or before.
A pupil of William James and Josiah Royce at Harvard, Santayana graduated in 1886, spending the next 18 months on a travelling fellowship in Germany. He taught at Harvard for the next twenty years, retired in 1912, and lived the rest of his life somewhat peripatetically in Europe. Far more than just a philosopher, he was a best-selling author, poet, critic, and an admired public figure, second perhaps only to Bertrand Russell among philosophers in that regard. We are aware of only one other comparable archive of his letters at auction in recent years, offered by Stargardt, Apr 5, 2016. Those letters were of a later vintage than the present, which date from his formative Harvard days and his early years as an academic. In Persons and Places: The Background of My Life Santayana referred to Lyman as belonging to the front rank of his Harvard friends.
C The Collection of Jay I. Kislak sold to benefit the Kislak Family Foundation
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