The rebirth of the Spanish novel in the nineteenth century is commonly identified with Galdós, Valera, Alarcón, and Pereda in the decade 1870–80, while the costumbristas and Fernán Caballero are looked upon as precursors of this rebirth. The purpose of the present study is to present, for some four or five decades and with attention to the novel, a prominent phase of critical tastes in Spain. Some critics looked upon the renaissance of the Spanish novel as fortunately having taken place in the novel which gave emphasis to ideas, or, as they were wont to describe it, the “philosophical” or “transcendental” novel. But the Spanish terms filosofía, trascendencia, and even trascendentalismo were very loosely used. Thus, the novel which dealt with ideas of social, moral, religious, or political significance was commonly called filosófica and trascendental, especially in the 1870's: The novel of thesis, sometimes called novela tendenciosa, was a notable manifestation of this type of “philosophical” novel. The importance attached by critics at this time to ideas of trascendencia in the novel was for the most part in keeping with the critical tastes of the preceding decades; certain novels of Galdós, Valera, Alarcón, and Pereda, praised by contemporary critics for their trascendencia, seemingly were the fulfillment of an aspiration on the part of earlier critics that the novel treat of important ideas underlying society. On the other hand, the attitude toward the propagation of ideas shows a marked change in its development. In this survey of critical writings on the novel, I shall attempt to present a consensus of views on the novel which stressed ideas, to show how the common attitude developed. Much of the criticism under consideration is of little intrinsic value; it is often influenced by religious and political prejudices and shows a level of mediocrity in critical thought, particularly for the reign of Isabel II. But, considered as a whole, it reveals common traits indicative of a trend in literary tastes,—a trend which becomes of interest when viewed in the light of certain tendencies in the novel.