Graduation from Harvard was not the turning point for Santayana that it is for many; it was a pausing place. He would remain a member of the university in one capacity or another for the next twenty-six years. The combination of religious, aesthetic, and erotic terms, together with the convenient inversion of "together played," indicate how indebted Santayana was to his time and to an attenuated tradition. Santayana is a classical writer not for his verse, but for his prose. Where the verse of 1886 is tempestuous and blighted by an exhausted tradition, his prose is another matter altogether. In his senior year, under the pseudonym "Victor Cousin," he submitted an essay, "The Optimism of Ralph Waldo Emerson," to the Bowdoin Prize competition. Emerson's topic, optimism, leads Santayana at once to examine Emerson's thought where it is most vulnerable: at the questions of evil in the world and of whether Emerson's idealism is capable of dealing with evil.