Waldo Frank, who is now forgotten in Latin America, was once the most frequently read and admired North American author there. Though his work is largely neglected in the U.S., he was at one time the leading North American expert on Latin American writing. His name looms large in tracing the careers of Latin American writers in this country before 1940. Long before Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the Good Neighbor policy, Frank brought back to his countrymen news of Latin American culture.
Frank went to South America when he was almost forty. The youthful dreams of Frank and his fellow pre-World War I writers and artists to make their country a fit place for cultural renaissance that would change society had waned with the onset of the twenties.1 But they had not completely vanished. Disgruntled by the climate of "normalcy" prevailing in America after World War I, he turned to Latin America. He started out in the Southwest. The remnants of Mexican culture he found in Arizona and New Mexico enticed him to venture further into the Hispanic world. In 1921 he traveled extensively in Spain and in 1929 spent six months exploring Latin America.
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