The Last Puritan
by George Santayana
“A habitual indulgence in the inarticulate is a sure sign of the philosopher who has not learned to think, the poet who has not learned to write, the painter who has not learned to paint, and the impression that has not learned to express itself--all of which are compatible with an immensity of genius in the inexpressible soul.” ― George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty
The Last Puritan is both a novel of ideas and one of personalities--real people living real lives. The places, the backgrounds are accurately depicted while the events of the novel are sketched as dramatic incidents. The scenes evoke an America of a certain age and the characters speak with a language that not only conveys ideas but emotions as well. Some of the sections of the novel that I enjoyed the most were the conversations which were, fortunately, not too terribly impeded by the trappings of the story's structure with its quotidian details of everyday life.
The protagonist, Oliver, is the masterful character whose individual personality is drawn with all of its perplexity, sensitiveness, and youthful seriousness. The other characters are no less real with both women and men exhibiting believable emotions including love that is both platonic and physical. The novel presents a good story in addition to the ideas that are presented. One may enjoy it for its story but the primary appeal for this reader is the novel of ideas in the robust realization that Santayana brought to his creation of a lifetime.
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