American writings

Front Cover
Library of America, Mar 5, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 848 pages
2 Reviews
A singular figure in American letters, Lafcadio Hearn (18501904) had a life as complex as his heritage: born on a Greek isle of a Greek mother and an English father, raised in Europe, 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), Hearn has a keenly observant eye for the offbeat, the sensual, and the gruesome. In novels such as Chita, about a devastating tropical tidal wave, and Youma, about a slave rebellion in Martinique, as well as in a wealth of journalistic reports, Hearn left unrivaled first-hand portraits of the black and creole cultures of New Orleans, Cincinnati, and the French West Indies. His extraordinary travel book Two Years in the French West Indiesis presented here with its original illustrations. Some Chinese Ghosts, a stylized retelling of ancient legends, foreshadows his later fascination with Asian themes. The volume is rounded out with a revealing selection of impassioned letters, eight of which are published unexpurgated here for the first time.

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Lafcadio Hearn: American Writings (Library of America)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Benfey (Mellon Professor of English, Mount Holyoke) presents four of Hearn's books as well as 25 newspaper and magazine articles and 11 letters written in the 1870s and 1880s. Hearn (1850-1904) is ... Read full review

Review: American Writings

User Review  - Marissa - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

Christopher Benfey , editor, is Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke. His books include The Double Life of Stephen Crane (1992), Degas in New Orleans (1997), The Great Wave (2003), and, most recently,A Summer of Hummingbirds (Penguin Press, 2008).