This second collection of authors' biographies, following on the publication of Living Authors in 1931, includes short accounts of the lives and works of some 320 writers of the twentieth century. The subjects for this volume have been drawn from authors living and dead whose books have appeared wholly or largely since 1900. Authors of the nineteenth century whose work continues into the twentieth have been included if they appear to have contemporary relevance, or if the number of requests has implied a general expectation of their inclusion. Obviously, a precise division between the writers of any two consecutive centuries is impossible.
The biographies in this volume are, on the average, almost twice as long as those in its predecessor; the bibliographies are more detailed and comprehensive, with the addition of suggestive references about each author as a guide to further study; a more extensive research than heretofore has been undertaken; a larger percentage of foreign authors is included; the treatment, in general, aims to be more adequate and serious, without declining into dullness; much more auto-biographical material has been secured for publication.
The editor is deeply grateful to the living authors here and abroad who have so generously contributed their own accounts of their lives to the volume. (Nearly all these documents--they are printed verbatim--are unusually communicative; several are refreshingly candid, unaffected, and revealing.) To the many other authors who supplied material and references and who verified data, the editor wishes also to express his debt. The words "autobiographical sketch" in the introduction to a text signify that the account was written by the author expressly for this volume or approved by him, or his publishers or heirs, as an authorized autobiographical statement.
It is hoped that this volume, like the first, will be found to contain a varied and not undiscriminating assembly of characteristic writers of the modern world. Over 3000 names were considered for inclusion; and the votes of over 400 librarians, teachers, authors, and students of modern literature were consulted. Altho the book has been expanded more than 200 pages beyond the original estimate, practical considerations have precluded a further increase in size, with the result that many authors who might have added distinction to our alphabet have been reluctantly omitted. To these we owe an apology for a neglect that is more apparent than real, and that it . . .