1-john-knox-1505-1572-grangerTo George Sturgis
Hotel Bristol
Rome. March 27, 1939

He is a born heretic or genial mad-man, like John Knox or Giordano Bruno: yet he is preternaturally intelligent, penetrating, and radical; so that the more wrong he is the clearer he makes the wrongness of his position; and what more can you expect a philosopher to prove except that the views he has adopted are radically and eternally impossible? If every philosopher had done that in the past, we should now be almost out of the wood.

You ask whether I mean to write an autobiography. Yes and no. I have a pile of MS which I call “Persons & Places” or Fragments of Autobiography. But the pieces are disjointed; moreover they are mainly about other people,.—and I appear throughout but chiefly as narrator, as in those novels which are written in the first person, like David Copperfield. When I have finished my Realm of Spirit (which is well advanced) I shall feel freer to amuse myself with my recollections, and I rather hope to make them tolerably complete, that is, descriptive of all my principal friends and haunts. But there will be no “Confessions” or discussion of ideas or opinions.

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