82a2823d51e27398730705212dcf6a2fTo Elizabeth Stephens Fish Potter
Hotel Danieli
Venice. May 26, 1940

Dear Mrs. Potter,

You don’t know how much I am touched by your constancy in thinking of me in these troubled times, and wishing to let me take refuge in a safe place. But I am afraid that, morally and perhaps even materially, you are suffering more from the war in America than I suffer in Italy. We have three meatless days a week, but “meat” does not include ham, tongue, bacon, sweetbreads, brains, liver, or sausage, so that there is no lack of animal substance provided for us; and coal is going to be rationed next winter, but I shall have a sitting-room with a fire-place where I can burn wood, if the central heating proves insufficient. The summer I expect to spend at Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites, as far as possible from any military front; and in the winter, as I have no settled abode, I shall see what the circumstances are, and choose my lodgings accordingly. And although it is announced that Italy may come at any moment into the war, people seem perfectly calm and cheerful; and my own state of mind is infinitely calmer than it was during the other war, when I was in England, and so distressed that I couldn’t work—at least in the last two years—but only read Dickens and walked in the country, having bread and cheese and a pint of “bitter” in some country inn for luncheon—there was nothing else to be had—and writing melancholy soliloquies in a small notebook. Now I can go on with my regular occupations undisturbed, and don’t expect to hear any bombs dropping, as I did in London during the first Zeppelin raid. All this is horribly casual and egotistical: yet if I went to America I should be distracted by the hysterical excitement which seems to prevail there, and my work— for I actually have prescribed work to do for a book of joint authorship to be published in America—would be interrupted and embittered. The only danger for me is that the U.S. should come in and I shouldn’t be able to get any money: but there are ways of circumventing even that difficulty, if it arises. My Spanish friends also urge me to join them; but there too I should be terribly disturbed, and the journey alone would seriously upset me. So don’t worry about me, dear Mrs. Potter, but hope for the early return of peace.

Yours sincerely,
G Santayana

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Six, 1937-1940.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004.
Location of manuscript: The Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge MA.


Santayana_2To Charles Scribner’s Sons
60 Brattle Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts. May 25, 1904

Gentlemen: I am sending you a first installment of my magnum opus “The Life of Reason”. There are four more Books, which will follow in a few weeks if you are favourably disposed towards the idea of publishing them. I send this part ahead, as I am anxious to have all arrangements for publication made before I leave this country, as I am to be away for fifteen months.

This book is not like my former ones, a mere incidental performance. It practically represents all I have to say of any consequence, so that I feel a special interest in having it done in a way that shall express its own character and suggest the spirit in which I would have it read. My ideas may seem to you wrong, and of course I shall not insist on them if they prove to be really unreasonable; but if objections to them rest only on financial considerations, I should be inclined to run the risk and insure you against loss in any way that seems to you suitable, provided the liability is not beyond my means.

What I desire is chiefly this: that the five books be bound separately, making five small volumes, so that they may be easily held and carried about, and may also, at least eventually, be sold separately as well as in sets. The remaining parts are on Society, Religion, Art, and Science respectively, and might well be independent books. A system runs through them all, but there is no formal continuity; or only such as might well exist between three plays in a trilogy. The page might well be like that in the “Sense of Beauty” (better than in the Interpretations) or even smaller and more closely set: I don’t think large print really attractive: I hate a sprawling page. A compact page with a rather generous margin would be my ideal; and in this margin might be the running summary I have provided. This might also be instead, if you thought it better, at the upper corner of each page, or in an indentation (as in the Sense of Beauty). But in whatever form it appears it is a very important feature, because it is meant not merely to help the eye and carry along the thought over the details, but often to be a commentary as well as a summary and throw a side light on the subject.

The binding might be in more than one form: I should be glad to have the book as cheap as possible so that students might buy it. Why are hardly any books sold in paper covers in this country? Boards surely are a respectable garment, and seem to suggest that the body is more than the raiment. I confess, however, that I don’t know what difference in price would be involved in different sorts of binding, and I should be much interested if you would tell me.

Proof would have to be sent to me abroad; but there is no need of sending the MS with it, and the delay, once the operation has begun, is insignificant.

I shall probably not sail until the middle of July and shall be once or twice in New York in the interval, when I could easily call upon you.

Yours very truly, G Santayana

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book One, [1868]-1909.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2001.
Location of manuscript: Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Libraries, Princeton NY.