In Reason in Art, Santayana explores the social and psychological origins of art. He examines its moral and ideal functions, its lapses into tastelessness, and the distinctive character of music, speech, poetry, and prose. The Spanish-born philosopher sees art as part of the broader human context, concluding that art prepares “the world to receive the soul and the soul to master the world.”
If you could sum up Reason in Art in three words, what would they be?
Santayana holds both subject and reader with respect, expecting to be followed into the deepest depths of good sense.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
A dense and intense capacity for clarity. You have to stop, occasionally just to absorb properly revelation after revelation.
What does Bernard Mayes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I would have liked an american accent, since Santayana considered himself an american intellectual, notwithstanding his love of Oxford where he was a student for a year.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Chapet 8 and 9
Any additional comments?
We need more visual art criticism, artists can listen while they work
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Not what I expected but still a decent philosophical read on why art is important.