This is a reprinting (not really a second edition) of a doctoral dissertation (University of Mexico) first published in 1934. It was then and still is a valuable study which goes further and deeper than its title implies, dealing at length with indianista elements in literature of the conquest and colonial period and with foreign influence (Montaigne, Voltaire, Rousseau, Marmontel, Saint-Pierre, Chateaubriand, Fenimore Cooper, Humboldt, Scott) on later works. Novels of the romantic period are classified as historical, poetic, and of social protest. The period of the study expires, of course, before the appearance of the indianista novel of lasting significance. Dr. Meléndez herself accurately epitomizes her study in the preface to this “second edition.” She says, “Creo haber completado el estudio de un aspecto de nuestra novela romántica de escaso valor artístico, pero de mucho interés para los que estudiamos las primeras creaciones de las literaturas de nuestros países.”
The reprinting of the study is justified and welcome, not only as a deserved tribute to its distinguished author, but also because it is truly a classic among early critical studies of Spanish American fiction.