Elisabeth Austin's volume sets out to study exemplary novels published in Latin America in the second half of the nineteenth century. They include Eugenio Cambaceres's four novels, José Asunción Silva's De sobremesa (1925), José Martí's Lucía Jerez (1885), and Clorinda Matto de Turner's Aves sin nido (1889). In addition to defining the genre, her introduction includes a reading of two of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's books: Facundo (1845), a text that Austin, without further explanation, calls “one of the most read and critically studied novels of this period” (p. xix), and La vida de Dominguito (1886). Her last chapter, before a brief conclusion, develops a reading of another nonfiction text: Juana Manuela Gorriti's Cocina ecléctica (1890).

The Latin American version of the exemplary mode, in Austin's explanation, is defined by internal contradiction: it wants to impart a clear lesson to its reader, an...

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