Although Spanish-American literature first came to the attention of a world-wide audience in the 1960s, it enjoys a continuous tradition stretching back to the Conquest. This introduction to the Spanish-American literary canon re-traces that history in a clear and readable style. It contains short, incisive sections on the major literary writers and works of Spanish America from the Conquest to the present day, ranging from the Popol Vuh, the Bible of the Mayas, to Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits, a novel on contemporary Chile. The book treats authors in considerable depth, and addresses in particular the social value of the literary work and the ways in which it functioned in the society which gave it life. STEPHEN M. HART is Professor of Hispanic Studies, University College London, and Profesor Honorario, Universidad de San Marcos, Lima.