Spinoza1To William Lyon Phelps
Hotel Miramonti
Cortina d’Ampezzo. July 10, 1933

I went last September to the Hague, where they had a meeting in honour of the tercentenary of Spinoza’s birth, and I read a paper which is only attached to Spinoza by way of the zenith: for, mind you, though physically every zenith is at a hopelessly different point from every other, spiritually the nearer anyone gets to his own zenith, the nearer he is to everybody else’s. This paper is to appear in a polyglot volume entitled Septimana Spinozana which was to have been issued last November, but is still delayed. Perhaps it will appear by November next.

As I approach 70 (December next the venerable number will be complete) I feel that I may abandon the future more and more to Providence. I go on working, but without being at all confident that it will be possible, or would be best, for me to accomplish anything . . . special. At present, I am crawlingly proceeding with my “novel”: this is something nobody else could do, since it gives the emotions of my experiences, and not my thoughts or experiences themselves: whereas The Realm of Truth or The Realm of Spirit might perfectly well be described by some future writer better than I should do it. However, I am very well, and not worried by the crisis or the collapse of the dollar: it makes me much poorer on paper, but I had a broad margin to my budget, and as yet have no need of changing my way of living; and it is not impossible, if I should live ten years more, that I might finish my whole programme.

This place—where I have spent three previous summers—is really delightful: warm enough in the sun to make the system exude its waste substances, and cool enough at night to kill all mosquitoes and even flies. Besides the Dolomites are highly picturesque, the peasants also, and the people at this hotel very tolerable—since I don’t have to speak to them. The trouble is that on September 1st winter sets in, and I shall have to move to Venice or elsewhere until it is time to return to my Roman diggings.

Well: You at Great Yale are probably being carried sky-high on the crest of twenty enthusiasms at least. Don’t break your neck, and God bless you! Kindest regards. Come again to Rome: it is improving yearly more than if it were in America. You will be astonished.

From The Letters of George Santayana:  Book Five, 1933-1936.  Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003.
Location of manuscript: The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven CT.