Lafcadio Hearn's America: Ethnographic Sketches and Editorials

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University Press of Kentucky, Dec 1, 2002 - Humor - 242 pages
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The American essays of renowned writer Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) artistically chronicle the robust urban life of Cincinnati and New Orleans. Hearn is one of the few chroniclers of urban American life in the nineteenth century, and much of this material has not been widely available since the 1950s. Lafcadio Hearn's America collects Hearn's stories of vagabonds, river people, mystics, criminals, and some of the earliest accounts available of black and ethnic urban folklife in America. He was a frequently consulted expert on America during his years in Japan, and these editorials reflect on the problems and possibilities of American life as the country entered its greatest century. Hearn’s work, which reflects an America that is less “melting pot” than a varied, spicy, and often exotic gumbo, provide essential background for the study of America’s first steps away from its agrarian beginnings.
 

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Contents

Haunts and Pastimes of the Roustabouts
37
Saint Malo A Lacustrine Village in Louisiana
54
Sicilians in New Orleans
63
The Last of the New Orleans FencingMasters
66
A Gypsy Camp A Group of Veritable Bohemians
76
Some Pictures of Poverty Impressions of a Round with an Overseer of the Poor
78
Pariah People Outcast Life by Night in the East End The Underground Dens of Bucktown and the People Who Live in Them
87
Les Chiffonniers Rags Wretchedness and Rascality The Gnomes of the Dumps How They Live Work and Have Their Being
97
Among the Spirits An Enquirer Reporter Communicates with His Father
175
Some Strange Experience The Reminiscences of a GhostSeer
183
Haceldama Humanity and Inhumanity in the Shambles Hebrew Slaughters Gentile Butchers and Consumptive BloodDrinkers
191
The Manufacture of Yellow and Rockingham Ware in Cincinnati
200
Opinions of America
207
Growth of Population in America
209
The Labour Problem in America
211
The RaceProblem in America
214

Within the Bars How Prisoners Look Live and Conduct Themselves Some Glimpses of Life in the County Jail
103
Cincinnati Salamanders A Confederation of Twenty Little Communities
109
Steeple Climbers
115
Enormous and Lurid Facts Language Folklife and Culture
121
Cheek
123
The Creole Patois
126
The Creole Doctor
133
The Last of the Voudoos
143
New Orleans Superstitions
148
The Music of the Masses
156
Black Varieties The Minstrels of the Row Picturesque Scenes Without Scenery
170
Some Japanese Ideas of American Policy
217
Prevention of Cruelty to Women
219
Recent American Novels
221
American Magazines
223
American Art Tastes
225
The French in Louisiana
227
The Roar of a Great City
229
Bibliography
231
Sources of the Essays
235
Index
239
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Page 13 - I think a man must devote himself to one thing in order to succeed: so I have pledged me to the worship of the Odd, the Queer, the Strange, the Exotic, the Monstrous. It quite suits my temperament.
Page 25 - The moment I get into all this beastly machinery called ‘New York,' I get caught in some belt and whirled around madly in all directions until I have no sense left. This city drives me crazy, or, if you prefer, crazier; and I have no peace of mind or rest of body till I get out of it
Page 7 - the whispering of words, the rustling of the procession of letters. . . the pouting of words, the frowning and fuming of words, the weeping, the raging and racketing and rioting of words, the noisomeness of words, the tenderness or hardness, the dryness or juiciness of words,—the interchange of values, in the gold, the silver, the brass and the copper of words
Page 26 - short while probably;—but I do not think I will ever settle there. I am apt to become tired of places,—or at least of the disagreeable facts attaching more or less to all places and becoming more and more marked and unendurable the longer one stays. So that ultimately
Page 26 - Such is exactly my present feeling,—an unutterable weariness of the aggressive characteristics of existence in a highly organized society. The higher the social development, the sharper the struggle. One feels this especially in America,— in the nervous centres of the world's activity
Page 29 - My conclusion is that the charm of Japanese life is largely the charm of childhood, and that the most beautiful of all race childhoods is passing into an adolescence which threatens to prove repulsive
Page 24 - unless very exceptionally situated, they are debarred, by this very want of knowledge and skill, from mixing with that life which alone can furnish the material. Society everywhere suspects them; common life repels them
Page 26 - at least of the disagreeable facts attaching more or less to all places and becoming more and more marked and unendurable the longer one stays. So that ultimately I am sure to wander off somewhere else

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