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Lafcadio Hearn Files

Lafcadio Hearn

The National Tour of Tulane University's Rare Books

sponsored by

NewSouth Magazine


View / download a .pdf of this Tulane University Rare Books article here:

National Tour of Tulane University 2.pdf


The Secretary of State's Office is honored to display the Lafacadio Hearn rare book collection at the Louisiana State Archives, in cooperation with the Department of Economic Development and Tulane University. This unique traveling exhibit will remain on display at the Archives, located at 3851 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge, until November 18th. For more information, please call 504/922-1000.

A Short History of Lafcadio Hearn

Courtesy NewSouth Magazine Lafcadio Hearn (Japanese name Koizumi Yakumo, 1850-1904) author, translator, educator is known for his excellent English prose. He is highly regarded by the Japanese people as the first westerner to truly understand their culture. While living in Japan from 1890 to 1904 he wrote articles about Japan in Atlantic Monthly and Harper's. While always writing in English, his Japanese wife, Setsuko, helped him gain great insight into Japanese customs and folklore.

Born in Greece of an Irish father and Greek-Kytherian mother, he was given the name Lafcadio, which refers to the Ionian Isle of Lefkas in Greece. At the age of two his parents brought him to Dublin, Ireland where he was raised by an aunt. He studied in France and England before going to Cincinnati at the age of nineteen where he became a newspaper reporter.

He worked as a reporter in New Orleans where he wrote his first novel, Chita. It was in New Orleans when Hearn was covering the World Industrial Exposition of 1885 that he first became fascinated by the Japanese culture as he studied the Japanese exhibit. He later lived for six months in New York and for two years in Martinique, where he wrote two novels.

In 1890 he moved to Japan and was befriended by the great linguist and professor at Tokyo University, Basil Hall Chamberlain. Chamberlain helped Hearn secure a position teaching English at Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, where he fell in love with a Japan that was rapidly passing into history.

In 1891 Hearn married Koizumi Setsuko and taught English and literature in several Japanese universities until his death. His book Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan (1894) established his reputation as an interpreter of Japan to the West. Other writings by Hearn include, Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation (1904); Exotics and Retrospective (1898); In Ghostly Japan (1899), Shadowings (1900); A Japanese Miscellany (1901), and Kaidan (1904).

This traveling exhibition of some fifty first printed issues, unpublished photos, along with reproductions of the author's original manuscripts commemorates the centennial of Koizumi Yakumo's naturalization as a Japanese.


• Happy Ending for Hearn House Nola.com Feature Article on Sunday, September 19, 2004, by Bruce Eggler, Staff writer - http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf A century after his death, author Lafcadio Hearn, who many say put New Orleans on the map, is recognized for his contributions.

Lafcadio Hearn . This well-resarched site contains a collector’s bibliography, an A-Z title index, a chronological bibliography, online bulletin board, links to online editions of Hearn’s work, information about Hearn’s Japan period, and links to related resources.

The Atlantic Online: Flashbacks. During the 1890s, Hearn contributed nearly two dozen articles about Japan to The Atlantic magazine. This essay explores his fascination with the Far East and chronicles the evolution of his professional association with the venerable magazine.

• Tulane University Libraries Catalog

• Hearn Collection at the Cincinnati Public Library http://www.cincinnatilibrary.org/main/hearn.html

• Exploring Lafcadio Hearn in Japan http://lafcadiohearn.jp/index.html

Project Gutenberg. Electronic versions of selected books by Hearn are on Project Gutenberg’s website.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online. A concise overview of Hearn’s life and work.

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