Josefina Borràs was Spanish but spent part of her youth in the Philippines. Here she met and married the Bostonian George Sturgis.
After her husband’s death, Josefina went to live in the U.S. with her children but, after awhile, decided to move back to Spain. Here she remarried Agustin Ruiz de Santayana, an old friend from the Philippines who liked to paint and read. In 1863, Josefina and Agustin had a son and lived in Avila (home of the mystic saint, Teresa). But Josefina grew bored with the new ménage and found an excuse to return to Boston with her children from her first marriage. The six year old Jorge was left behind in Spain with his father. Maybe because he disliked the idea of having his son grow up without a mother, a few years later Augustin took Jorge to Boston. Unfortunately, Augustin found out that he didn’t like Boston or his wife and returned to Spain leaving Jorge behind. Father and son did not see one another again until Jorge was an adult. Santayana was later to call this estrangement from his father as a “moral disinheritance”.
Now, growing up in Boston, Jorge’s name became George and his mother tongue, Spanish, put in a drawer. Jorge aka George grew up feeling himself to be an outsider not only because he was a Spaniard growing up in the United States but also because he was growing up with siblings and an environment he couldn’t identify with. In his autobiography, Santayana says he was solitary and unhappy but well-anchored in his dream life. He had learned to rely upon his imagination for emotional survival.
And, as many outsiders do, Santayana spent much time alone thinking and reading—two things that helped him enter Harvard University. One of his professors was William James, the first to offer a psychology course in the U.S. After his degree, Santayana studied philosophy in Berlin then returned to the States where he taught philosophy at his alma mater. His students included T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost and Gertrude Stein. But, at the age of 48, Santayana was completely burned out on the academic world and quit his job at Harvard. He moved back to Europe and never again returned to the United States. Santayana was disdainful of Americans’ need for “material achievement, good humor and football”.
Santayana and St. Teresa were both from Avila. But that’s not all they had in common. For example, both are known for their aphorisms.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
“History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.”
“I Would I Might Forget That I Am I.”
“Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.”
“Wisdom comes by disillusionment.”
“The earth has music for those who listen.”
“The highest form of vanity is love of fame.“
“The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don’t understand it.”
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”
I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.
To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.
There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.
Pain is never permanent.
May God protect me from gloomy saints.
Santayana, as a university professor, was always under pressure to write books. So, in 1886, he came out with The Sense of Beauty. Aesthetics are about emotions because beauty gives us pleasure. Thus beauty is a human experience.
But Santanyana big literary success came from the only novel he every published, The Last Puritan (1936). It was a bestseller and not only got him on the cover of Time magazine but helped him survive economically. The novel evolves around the concept of personal growth and took Santayana 45 years to write it.
Novels are always about conflicts and how the protagonists affronts them. The Last Puritan (which took Santayana 45 years to write) relates the story of Oliver’s difficulty in reconciling his sense of duty with his true nature. There are those who are spontaneously Puritans and others who are constructed Puritans and so conditioned by the world around them they themselves don’t know who they really are. Sometimes habitual behavior takes us away from our true selves.
After travelling around Europe, Santayana eventually settled in Rome. However, with the outbreak of WW II, he tried to leave Italy but, unable to do so, he moved into the convent of the Blue Nuns and stayed there until he died in 1952. And it was because of his closeness to the nuns that the Vatican helped Santayana smuggle out his manuscripts so they could be published in the United States.
After the American forces arrived in June of 1944, Santayana was flooded with visitors and journalists. Newspapers photographed him reading his newspaper in the park. He said “people, strangers flock to me as if I were the oldest inhabitant of the village.”
Many writers went to visit him in his tiny convent room. Ezra Pound, whose Cantos were greatly inspired by Santayana, said of him that he’d never met a man who was less of a fake. Gore Vidal took Tennesse Williams to visit Santayana as well. Literary critic Edmund Wilson was rather spooked by Santayana and poet Wallace Stevens wrote a poem dedicated to Santayan entitled “To an Old Philosopher in Rome” as did another poet, Robert Lowell, “For George Santayana”.
George Santyana is buried at the Verano Monumental Cemetery in Rome in the area known as the” Panteòn de la Obra Pìa Española”. The Panteón was designed, in part, by the Spanish architect Javier Carvajal Ferrer in 1955 while at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Carval’s style was rational and formal. And, like all Brutalist architects, a lover of concrete. The Panteón is made of travertine, concrete and a black steel grating.
Carvajal not only designed concrete structures such as the Caeacas building in Madrid (1966), he also designed furniture such as the lounge Granda chairs
Javier Carvajal Ferrer is now buried at the collective tomb he designed as is the Spanish painter Antonio Maria de Reyna Manescau and his wife, the opera singer Beatriz Mililotti.
De Reyna Manescau (1859-1937) was born in Malaga and, thanks to a grant, went to Venice where he enjoyed painting the canals. In Venice he was friends with Cecilia Madrazo, wife of Fortuny Sr. and mother of Fortuny Jr. (Fortuny father and son are both buried at Verano). Then he moved to Rome where he became an active part of the Spanish community.
Aren’t we all exiles just waiting to go home?
George Santayana’s tomb at Verano Monumental Cemetery
Instagram seemed like the perfect showcase for A Photogenic Lifestyle. But if you’re a moving picture and camera shy, it’s difficult to pose. It’s easier if you first determine what kind of style you want to project then create a mood board in you mind.
So, after careful study, here are some suggestions on how to pose for fotos.
Pose 1: the Paolina Bonaparte Style is a semi-reclining pose and represents that kind of woman who goes to Paris just to hear the Seine flowing. Works best if wearing perfume especially Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium.
Hashtags: #bella #semiseductive #opium #femmefatale #imsexyandiknowit
Pose 2: the Selfie Style represents the woman whose thoughts may be blurred but her selfies never are. Works best when listening to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.
A variation of this pose is that of standing in front of a full length mirror to show off the outfit of the day or a really sexy body. The main difference is that you take a foto of the mirror and not of yourself.
Hashtags: #selfie #instagramers #outfitoftheday #narcissist #athazagoraphobia
Pose 3: the Lost My Lolita Looks Style represents a post-menopause woman whose chin has started to sag so she poses alà Rodin’s The Thinker. But that doesn’t mean old mouths can’t make new smiles.
Pose 4: the Let’s Rattle My Bangles & Jam Style represents the woman who’s like a Gaudì mosaic—full of colorful fragments glued together.
Hashtags: #choller #bracelets #bangles #clinquant #tintinnabulation #stillhangingon
Pose 5: the Jane Birkin Purse Style represents the woman who can only feel unique by copying the style of rich celebrities. The pose works best if the purse is empty.
Pose 6: the Semi-Akimbo Style represents an assertive woman who carves words with her mouth and is not afraid to look you straight in the eyes.
Hashtags: # lespritdelescalier #raconteur #alexithymia #adoxography
Pose 7: the Wallis Simpson Style represents the woman who has much money or at least wants you to think so. So you have to dress very elegantly and, in a nonchalant way, sit in elegant surroundings. You can use a chair as a prop as Wallis Simpson use to do.
Hashtags: #luxury #luxuryliving #luxurylifestyle #millionaire #sybaritic #ambition #inspiration #snob and, if you’re over 60, you may want to try #advancedstyle
Pose 8: the Pretend to be Pensive Style (not to be confused with the Aperitif Style) represents the woman who, regardless as to what it may seem, is not thinking about existential problems but simply about how wonderful it is to sleep on nice clean crisp cotton sheets.
Hashtags: #mood #moodyblues #poeticsofthought #rapsodic #cleansheets #ambedo #aspectabund
Pose 9: the Proper Lady Style represents the woman whose husband earns enough money for her to buy all the clothes she wants so she has an Instagram account to prove it. This pose works best when thinking really naughty thoughts while keeping a straight face.
Hashtags: #outfitoftheday #bonton #beige #concinnous #gymnophobia
Pose 10: the Sitting on the Dock of the Bay Style represents the woman who paints her skies with watercolors and sleeps with a book of Neruda’s poems under her pillow in hopes of making her world magical. Or of finding a man to distract her from her melancholic thoughts.
Hashtags: #uncomfortablesittingpositions #anagnorisis #fernweh #lookingforloveinallthewrongplaces
Pose 11: the I Love to be Noticed Style is easily accomplished—all you have to do is stand in an unnatural position in an out of the way place.
Hashtags: #jaunty #sassy #akrasia #perky #raffish #egocentric #mamasdontletyourbabiesgrowuptobecowboys
Pose 12: the Scarfie Style represents the versatile woman who can tie a scarf in numerous ways.
Hashtags: #scarves #fashionista #moreballsthansnow
If you are not well-known and don’t have many followers for your Instagram account, why not surf Instagram leaving comments as bait for attention. Exclamation marks are always suggested as they demonstrate enthusiasm.
Suggested comments you can leave: Gorgeous! Graceful! Classy! Stunning! Sophisticated! Awesome! Sensational! Fab! Smashing!
But if these type comments are too boring for you, here are some alternatives (foreign words help to jazz it up a bit): Rocambolesco! (Italian for fantastic, incredible), Charmant (French for charming), Spellbinding!, Scintillante! (Italian for sparkling), Incantevole! (Italian for enchanting), Peregrine! (foreign, coming from afar), Intriguing!, Beguiling!
And, for cheap thrills, check out my Instagram account (and don’t forget to leave a comment!).
akrasia: acting against one’s better judgment
adoxography: writing skillfully about a totally unimportant subject
alexithymia: a difficulty in expressing your feelings
ambedo: lost in a melancholic trance
anagnorisis: the moment of discovery or recognition
aspectabund: having an expressive face
athazagoraphobia: the fear of being forgotten
choller: a double chin or a dog’s hanging lip
clinquant: glittering with gold or tinsel
concinnous: neat and stylistically congruous
fernweh: a craving to go someplace you’ve never been to before
gymnophobia: the fear of nudity
l’esprit de l’escalier: coming up with the right thing to say once it’s too late
raconteur: someone who’s good at telling stories
rattlepated: giddy, empty-headed, lacking sense of direction
sonder: to probe as if looking for the meaning of what’s below the surface