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Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim - George Santayana

Spanish American philosopher and writer George Santayana lived most of the first fifty years of his life in the USA and wrote in English, but remained a Spanish citizen for life. He was born Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás in Madrid, in 1863. At the age of nine he and his father moved to the USA to join George's mother and her three children by her first marriage (she had promised her first husband, a Boston merchant, that his children would be brought up in the USA). The marriage disintegrated soon after and George's father returned to Spain; George did not see him again until his late teens when he was able to take summer vacations in Europe.

Santayana attended Harvard University where he studied philosophy under William James and Josiah Royce. On graduating he studied in Berlin before returning to Harvard to write his dissertation and to teach. His students included T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Walter Lippman, Gertrude Stein and WEB Du Bois.

Although Santayana was raised and educated in the USA, and wrote in English, he remained a life-long Spanish citizen, returning to Europe in 1912 when he was forty-eight, never to return to the USA again. He spent some years in France and England, eventually settling in Rome where he lived until his death in 1952.

He wrote nineteen books in total including his main philosophical work, The Sense of Beauty (1896). After moving to Europe, he was able to live comfortably on money he had saved and a legacy from his mother, which was nicely supplemented late in life by the success of his only novel, The Last Puritan (1935).

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