This is the latest, but not the last, in the series of strenuous and intelligent studies of American novelists that Maxwell Geismar has done and follows his Last of the Provincials and Writers in Crisis. This volume covers the period between 1890 and 1915 and is a study of five authors, Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, Jack London, Ellen Glasgow and Theodore Dreiser. Once again literature is viewed in the light of its social, economic and psychological development- as well as artistic, and it seems at times as if the heavy hands of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud were pulling the strings. Perhaps the above authors do not attract him, for the mood of criticism here is often dismal. Geismar is indifferent to the zest, optimism, humor and verve which is part of America, and which should be indicated as conspicuous- even in its absence- in most of the authors he is writing about. A serious study, for the more serious student rather than the general reader.