[Ads-l] Santayana and "appointment with April"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sat Aug 13 13:59:15 UTC 2016

I heard some version of this story some time ago and looked for it. The earliest I found was from July, 1939. That's a considerable gap, given that Santayana left teaching at Harvard in 1912. On the other hand, the named tradent, Joseph Auslander (1897-1965), was a poet, the first Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (1939-1941), a correspondent with Santayana, and a graduate of Harvard College.

Reader's Digest, July, 1939, "Personal Glimpses." p. 40, col. 1:

"In the many years that he taught philosophy at Harvard, George Santayana held his classes spellbound with the beauty of his speech. He was an ambulatory lecturer, wandering about the room and using pauses in his stride to punctuate his speaking. Joseph Auslander, then at Harvard, told me of one beautiful spring morning, when in the course of his lecture Santayana went often to the window and looked out at the disturbing yellow of a hedge of forsythia. Finally he paused for a long tome, longer than ever before, while the class in the big lecture hall sat with pencils poised to take down his next words. At last he turned to the class and said: 'Gentlemen, I very much fear that last sentence will never be completed. You see, I have an appointment with April.' And he walked out of the room. He has been keeping his appointment with April ever since for he never lectured regularly again. --Louis K. Anspacher."

Stephen Goranson


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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