Arturo Torres-Rioseco, the distinguished critic who has done so much to make the literature of Spanish America known in the United States, presents here certain important phases of the literature of our neighbors to the South.
In the first chapter, “Humor in Hispanic Literature,” he goes beyond Spanish America to discuss the Quijote and to consider the numerous English translations and their shortcomings. Then we have a study of Juan del Valle y Caviedes in the colonial period, the Mexican Fernández de Lizardi’s Periquillo Sarniento, the Peruvian Ricardo Palma’s Tradiciones, the Chilean Genero Prieto’s El socio, the Mexican Rubén Romero’s La vida inútil de Pito Pérez, and the Argentine Arturo Cancela ’s Tres relatos porteños.
The writer of this review would have liked to have had Torres say something about Juan Montalvo’s Capítulos que se le olvidaron a Cervantes and to have had him give some explanation for the general dearth of humor in Spanish-American letters.
In the chapter “José Enrique Rodó and his Idealistic Philosophy” it would have been of some interest to find some account of the impressions of the United States written by Spanish Americans before the time of Rodó, to be reminded that Rodó never visited the United States, and to have had some explanation for the extraordinary popularity of Ariel in Spanish America.
In the last chapter, “Spanish-American Novelists of Today,” Torres discusses briefly the principal works of the most important novelists who have appeared since his own Novelistas contemporáneos de América. This chapter will be especially valuable to those who wish to have a selective list of the important novels of the present day. No college library with any pretense to a representative collection of Spanish-American novels can afford not to order those discussed here by Torres. Indeed, the library would do well to go further and secure the novels of the writers mentioned here only by name.