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and pigeon-holers; it is "a" great novel, whether of America or Europe, and that suffices for the lover of belles lettres.


In considering the work of such writers as these and the authors represented in this little pioneer volume one should bear continually in mind the many handicaps under which authorship labors in Portuguese and Spanish America: a small reading public, lack of publishers, widespread prevalence of illiteracy, instability of politics. Under the circumstances it is not so much to be wondered at that the best work is of such a high average as that it was done at all. For in nations where education is so limited and illiteracy so prevalent the manifold functions which in more highly developed nations are performed by many are perforce done by a few. Hence the spectacle in the new Spanish and Portuguese world, as in the old, of men and women who are at once journalists, novelists, dramatists, politicians, soldiers, poets and what not else. Such a versatility, often joined to a literary prolixity, no doubt serves to lower the artistic worth of works produced under such conditions.

In connection with the special character