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American Writings

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  14 ratings  ·  3 reviews
A singular figure in American letters, Lafcadio Hearn (1850?1904) had a life as complex as his heritage: born on the Greek isle of Lefkas to a Greek mother and an Irish father, raised in Dublin and Durham, he made his name as a writer in the United States before settling permanently in Japan. Steeped in a decadent style, deeply interested in folk traditions (notably voodoo ...more
Hardcover, 900 pages
Published March 5th 2009 by Library of America
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Mar 11, 2009 Tony rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: essays
Hearn, Lafcadio. AMERICAN WRITINGS. (2009). ***. This is the latest issue from The Library of America, and contains a variety of Hearn’s works, including “Some Chinese Ghosts” reviewed above. There are two novels included: “Chita,” (1889), **, well crafted, but barely readable today, that is set around a devastating hurricane and its effects in Louisiana, and “Youma,” (1890), **, that tells of a slave rebellion in Martinique – again, though well written, is again hardly readable today. There is ...more
I haven't made it all the way through this yet, but hopefully some day I'll get around to finishing the whole thing. Many of the pieces here have a very florid, lavish writing style, which works well for the folktales and fables he retells and less so for some of the more journalistic/anthropological pieces. Overall, this book is like a box of carefully sculpted marzipan candies. You read one piece and all of the imagery and lush sensory detail is intense and delicious and lingers with you for t ...more
Eloquent language and descriptions, along with a gift for telling a story. I'm really taking the time to read this book and to savor the way he crafts each sentence. So far, one of my favorite description is from "The Legend of L'ile Derniere" in which he writes, "A group of oaks at Grande Isle I remember as especially suggestive: five stooping silhouettes in line against the horizon, like fleeing women with streaming garments and wind-blown hair, -bowing grievously and thrusting out arms desper ...more
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Lafcadio Hearn [aka Koizumi Yakumo] was born in Lefkas, Greece. He was a son of an army doctor Charles Hearn from Ireland and a Greek woman Rosa Cassimati. After making remarkable works in America as a journalist, he went to Japan in 1890 as a journey report writer of a magazine. But as soon as he arrived in Yokohama, he quit the job because of a dissatisfaction with the contract. After that, he m ...more
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