Worth a read:
‘My point is only that Santayana — the Spanish-born, Boston-bred, Harvard educated cosmopolite — stands out as an unusual specimen in the philosophical fraternity. He wrote beautifully, for one thing, commanding a supple yet robust prose that was elegant but rarely precious or self-infatuated’
and Kimball on Santayana’s interaction with William James:
‘Temperamentally, the two men were complete opposites — James bluff, hearty, the thorough New England pragmatist in manner as well as philosophical outlook: Santayana the super-refined, sonnet-writing, exquisitely disillusioned Catholic Spaniard. In many ways, Santayana was closer in spirit to William’s brother Henry.’
For what it’s worth, I recall a deeply Catholic lament and longing in the Spanish character, which can be combined with a kind of clear-eyed realism and stoicism, but not always. The faith runs deep in St Teresa and her passions, and despite Miguel de Unamuno’s rationalist influences, I remember a general preference for wisdom in the Tragic Sense Of Life.
Something clicked regarding Spain when I finally visited the Escorial outside of Madrid after many months of being in that city. It’s a grand castle of course, but it also struck me as rather plain, barracks-like at times. Very austere. It was explained that the Escorial was both a royal palace and a monastery:
Quote found here:
‘Philip’s instructions to Herrera stipulated “simplicity of form, severity in the whole, nobility without arrogance, majesty without ostentation,” qualities clearly illustrated by the long sweep of these facades.’
That Catholic influence can also get a little intense:
‘El Escorial was built to honor St. Lawrence, who was burned on a grill. In order to remind the citizens of his martyrdom and sacrifice, the entire building is a grill. Yes, it is shaped like a grill. There are paintings of St. Lawrence on a grill, grills are carved into the doorways, the weather vain is in the shape of a grill, the backs of chairs are supposed to be grills, the list literally could go on forever.’
Maybe they got a little carried away during the Reconquest.
Any thoughts and comments are welcome.
Related On This Site: Wednesday Poem: Wallace Stevens-Anecdote of The Jar…Some Sunday Quotations: (On) Kant, Locke, and Pierce
British conservatism with a fair amount of German idealist influence: Repost-Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: ‘Farewell To Judgment’
Via The University Of British Colombia: Kant-Summary Of Essential Points…From Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On Youtube: Geoffrey Warnock On Kant…Sunday Quotation: From Jonathan Bennett On Kant…
From The NY Times Book Review-Thomas Nagel On John Gray’s New ‘Silence Of Animals’…From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’…
From Edward Feser: ‘Nagel And His Critics Part IV’…A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”…
John Gray Reviews Jonathan Haidt’s New Book At The New Republic: ‘The Knowns And The Unknowns’
Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’