These two volumes were issued to mark Pedro Grases’ thirty years of scholarly activities in Venezuela. Inspired by the efforts of the country’s greatest bibliographer, Manuel Segundo Sánchez (1868-1943), Grases has attempted, with no small success, to continue in his footsteps. Trained at the University of Barcelona, Grases came to Venezuela in 1937. From that year to the present, his production has enriched and revitalized Venezuelan historical scholarship, both in quantity and quality. (See pp. 99-120 in Ramón J. Velásquez et al., La Obra de Pedro Orases [Caracas, 1967] for a listing of his publications from 1937 to 1967.)
A short prologue by the eminent doyen of Spanish-American bibliographers, Agustín Millares Carlo, recounts Grases’ contributions to historical studies in Venezuela. Also, and with obvious justice, Millares Carlo notes the number of major documentary compilations and bibliographical guides which have appeared in Venezuela since 1942, but which (though produced by Grases) do not bear his name.
In the main, the content of the work under consideration has already seen publication in various forms between 1960 and 1966. It consists of twenty-five bibliographical essays and six papers. The principal theme of the collection is Venezuelan historical bibliography, though some of the essays (with a fine critical perception) treat literary aspects of figures like Juan Vicente González (1810-1866), Rafael María Baralt (1810-1860), and Mariano Picón Salas (1901-1965).
The time period covered by these essays and reports is roughly from 1700 to 1960. Quite naturally, given such scope and depth, they are uneven in craftsmanship. All students of Venezuelan history, however, should welcome “La Generación de la Independencia” (I, 25-39), which is an excellent synoptic overview of the economic and institutional changes which took place in Venezuela during the eighteenth century and their impact on the intellectual and patriot political elite. Noteworthy also is “Traducciones de interés político-cultural en la época de la Independencia de Venezuela” (I, 41-86), truly a bibliographic tour de force.
Thanks to Grases’ studies, “Manuel Landaeta Rosales, 1847-1920” (II, 45-109), and his “Manuel Segundo Sánchez” (II, 111-152), we have working handlists of their major and minor output—no small matter, considering the enormous contribution made by both men to Venezuelan historiography. A good index adds convenience to the work’s overall worth. Venezuelan history, bibliography, and literary criticism have been well served, once again, by Pedro Grases.