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Waldo Frank's Crusade for Latin American Literature

  • Irene Rostagno (a1)

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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1 For a study of the culture and intelectual debates of the early decades of this century, see Abrahams, Edward The Lyrical Left (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1986); and Conn, Peter The Divided Mind: Ideology and Imagination in America, 1898–1917 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).

2 For a discussion of Waldo Frank’s interest in the Hispanic mind, see Ogorzaly, MichaelWaldo Frank: Prophet of Hispanic Regeneration” (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1982).

3 Probing coverage of American intellectuals’ fascination and rejection of Europe before and after World War I can be found in Hoffman’s, Frederick The 20’s (London: Collier Macmillan, 1965); Cowley’s, Malcolm Exile’s Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920’s (New York: The Viking Press, 1951); and Bradbury, Malcolm and Palmer’s, David The American Novel and the 1920’s (London: Edward Arnold, 1971).

4 Abrahams, Edward The Lyrical Left, pp. 23.

5 Quoted in Kazin’s, Alfred On Native grounds (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970), p. 172.

6 Rolland, RomainAmerica and the Arts,” The Seven Arts,” 1 (November 1916), pp. 4748.

7 Frank, WaldoVicarious Fiction,” The Seven Arts, 1 (January, 1917), p. 294.

8 Frank, WaldoEmerging Greatness,” The Seven Arts, 1 (November, 1916), p. 73.

9 See Abrahams, , Lyrical Left, pp. 8591.

10 Conn, Peter The Divided Mind, p. 316.

11 Frank, Waldo Our America (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1919), p. 96.

12 Tablada, Juan JoséMéxico en Norteamérica: cómo se Juzga nuestra Cultura,” Repertorio Americano, 3 (March 13, 1922), pp. 404406.

13 Quoted in Chapman’s, ArnoldWaldo Frank in Spanish America: Between Journeys, 1924–1929,” Hispania, 47 (September, 1964) p. 513.

14 lbid., p. 14.

15 See Kloucek, Jerome W.Waldo Frank: The Ground of his Mind and Art” (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1958), p. 417.

16 See Aaron, Daniel Writers on the Left (New York: Hartcourt, Brace and World, 1961), p. 79.

17 Josephson, Matthew Life Among the Surrealists (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962), p. 232.

18 Pells, Richard Radical Visions and American Dreams: Culture and Social Thought in the Depression Years (New York: Harper and Row, 1973), p. 22.

19 Geismar, MaxwellBooks and Things,” The New York Herald Tribune, May 29, 1948, p. 7.

20 Reyes, AlfonsoIntroducción,” España Virgen, escenas del drama espiritual de un gran pueblo (Buenos Aires: Editorial Losada, 1947), p. 13.

21 Frank, Waldo Memoirs of Waldo Frank, ed. Alan Trachtenberg (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1973), pp. 132133.

22 Frank, Waldo Virgin Spain, (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1926), p. 249.

23 Waldo Frank to Evelyn Scott, 5 September 1930, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin (hereafter, HRHRC, UT, Austin).

24 Frank, , Virgin Spain, p. 72.

25 Sitwell, SacheverellVirgin Spain,” The Dial, 82 (January, 1927), p. 65.

26 de Onís, Federico Waldo Frank in America Hispana (New York: Instituto de las Espanas en Estados Unidos, 1930), p. 246.

27 Montenegro, ErnestoVirgin Spain,” Literary Review of the New York Evening Post, March 20, 1926, p. 2.

28 Frank, Waldo America Hispana (New York: Garden City Publishing Company, 1931), p. 265.

29 Crane, Hart to his father, 20 May 1926, Letters of Hart Crane and his Family, ed. Lewis, Thomas S.W. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), p. 493.

30 Lawrence, D.H.America, Listen to Your Own,” New Republic, December 15, 1920, p. 69.

31 Beals, Carleton The Great Circle (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1940), pp. 199200.

32 Weston, Edward Daybooks, ed. Newhall, Nancy (Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, 1961), 1:190.

33 Hart Crane to Frank, Waldo The Letters of Hart Crane, 1916–1932, ed. Weber, Brian (New York: Hermitage House, 1952), p. 372.

34 Frank, , Memoirs, p. 157.

35 Ibid., p. 160.

36 Benardete, M.J. Waldo Frank in America Hispana, p. 7.

37 Frank, Waldo Primer Mensaje a la América Hispana (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1930), p. 280.

38 Benardete, M.J. Waldo Frank in America Hispana, pp. 231232.

39 Victoria Ocampo to Waldo Frank, no date, Waldo Frank Collection. University of Pennsylvania Libraries (hereafter, WFC, UPL).

40 Sebreli, Juan José Martínez Estrada: Una rebelión inútil (Buenos Aires: Editorial Palestra, 1960).

41 Frank, , America Hispana, p. 185.

42 Sam Sloan to Waldo Frank,no date, WFC, UPL.

43 Waldo Frank to Evelyn Scott, 13 October 1932, HRHRC, UT, Austin.

44 Frank, WaldoContemporary Spanish America Literature,” Publishers’ Weekly, October 18, 1930, p. 1842.

45 Williams, William Carlos In the America Grain (New York: New Directions, 1956), p. 229.

46 Frank, , “Contemporary Spanish American Literature,” p. 1842.

47 Frank, WaldoThe Hispano-American’s World,” The Nation, May 24, 1941, p. 617.

48 José Eustasio Rivera to Waldo Frank, 19 June 1928, WFC, UPL.

49 Frank, WaldoThe Mexican Invasion,” New Republic, October 23, 1929, pp. 275276.

50 Ibid., p. 276.

51 Frank, WaldoForeword,” Marcela: A Mexican Love Story (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1932), p.x.

52 The New York Times, September 25, 1932, p. 5.

53 Baird, PeggyMarcela,” New Republic, December 14, 1932, p. 143.

54 Chapman, , “Waldo Frank in Spanish America,” p. 520.

55 Waldo Frank, Typescript, no date, WFC, UPL.

56 Waldo Frank to Luis Alberto Sánchez, 21 February, 1930, WFC, UPL.

57 John Farrar to Waldo Frank, 23 January 1930, WFC, UPL.

58 Samuel Glüsberg to Waldo Frank, 17 October 1928, WFC, UPL.

59 Roberto Payró to Samuel Glüsberg, 31 March 1928, WFC, UPL.

60 Franco, Jean An Introduction to Spanish American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 222.

61 Frank, WaldoForeword,” Tales from the Argentine (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1930), p.x.

62 Wallace, MargaretVigor and Color in Tales from the Argentine Pampas,” The New York Times Book Review, September 7, 1930, p. 5.

63 de Onís, HarrietTales from the Argentine,” The New York Evening Post, September 13, 1930, p. 8.

64 John Farrar to Waldo Frank, 19 July 1930, WFC, UPL.

65 Martín Fierro quoted in Franco, Jean Spanish American Literature, p. 266.

66 Frank, , Tales, p. XV.

67 See Molloy, Sylvia La Diffusion de la Littérature Hispano-Américaine en France au XX’ Siècle (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1972).

68 Adelina Güiraldes to Waldo Frank, 15 December 1932, WFC, UPL.

69 Güiraldes, Ricardo Don Segundo Svmhra: Shadows in the Pampas (New York: Farrar and Rine-hart, 1935).

70 John Farrar to Bullrich, 23 January 1930, WFC, UPL.

71 Federico de Onís to Waldo Frank, 1933, WFC, UPL.

72 Waldo Frank to Evelyn Scott, 8 September 1922, HRHRC, UT, Austin.

73 Waldo Frank to John Farrar, no date, WFC, UPL.

74 Waldo Frank to John Farrar, 3 April 1934, WFC, UPL.

75 Adelina Güiraldes to Waldo Frank, 13 July 1934, WFC, UPL.

76 Frank, WaldoIntroduction,” Don Segundo Sombra, p.x.

77 Modern critics complain that Frank was romantically caught up with the mystique of Spain’s purity and conveniently neglected the indigenous half of Latin America’s origins.

78 Frank, WaldoIntroduction,” Don Segundo Sombra, p. IX.

79 Brenner, AnitaMan’s Fate in the Pampas,” The Nation, January 30, 1935, p. 133.

80 Marsh, Fred T.A Tale of the Spanish-American Wild West,” The New York Times Book Review, January 6, 1935, p. 5.

81 “Gauchos of the Pampas,” Saturday Review of Literature, January 19, 1935, p. 433.

82 Molloy, , La Diffusion, p. 145.

83 Frank, Waldo América Hispana, p. 108.

84 Ibid.

85 John Farrar to Waldo Frank, 23 January 1930, WFC, UPL.

86 Hutchison, PercyAn Epic of the Argentine Pampa,” The New York Times Book Review, August 16, 1936, p. 6.

87 Molloy, , La Diffusion, p. 204.

88 Frank, Waldo South American Journey (New York: Duell, Sloane, Pearce, 1943), p. 72.

89 Luis Alberto Sánchez to Waldo Frank, 30 June 1931, WFC, UPL.

90 Frank, Waldo Memoirs, p. 171.

91 See Meyer, Doris Victoria Ocampo: Against the Wind and the Tide (New York: George Braziller, 1979).

92 Victoria Ocampo to Waldo Frank, 22 January 1930.

93 Victoria Ocampo to Waldo Frank, 16 June 1930, WFC, UPL.

94 Ocampo, VictoriaSupremacía del alma y la sangre,” Testimonios, serie 2 (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sur, 1941), p. 292.

95 See Adams, MildredFirst Lady,” The New York Times Book Review, October 2, 1966, p. 42.

96 Victoria Ocampo to Waldo Frank, 13 July 1931, WFC, UPL.

97 Luis Alberto Sánchez to Waldo Frank, 30 June 1931, WFC, UPL.

98 Gabriela Mistral to Waldo Frank, no date, WFC, UPL.

99 Samuel Glüsberg to Waldo Frank, 1 December 1930, WFC, UPL.

100 Molloy, , La Diffusion, p. 207.

101 Frank, , Memoirs, pp. 165166.

102 Waldo Frank, Typescript, December 1, 1957, WFC, UPL.

103 Ibid.

104 Gabriela Mistral to Waldo Frank, no date, WFC, UPL.

105 Gabriela Mistral to Waldo Frank, no date, WFC, UPL.

106 Eduardo Mallea to Waldo Frank, 1 May, no year, WFC, UPL.

107 For a discussion of Frank’s influence on the work of Eduardo Mallea, see Chapman, Arnold The Spanish American Reception of U.S. Fiction 1920–40 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966).

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The Americas
  • ISSN: 0003-1615
  • EISSN: 1533-6247
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