Japan appeared instead in The Atlantic Monthly, and appeared later in book form as 'Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.' While writing these he was teacher of English in a large town on the west coast; then he taught at Kumamoto, on Kiushiu island, and later became editor of a foreign newspaper at Kobe, a treaty port. All his life in Japan was studiously Japanese. He refused and scorned the occidental society of the ports, and finally he became a Japanese subject, changing his name to Koizumi Yakumo, donned the Japanese costume, and became lecturer on English literature in the imperial university at Tokio. His books, which have a certain peculiar charm, may not live long in literature, but those who have read his 'Glimpses,' 'Kokoro,' 'Gleanings in Buddha Fields,' 'Ghostly Japan,' 'Shadowings,' 'Kotto,' and 'Kwaidan' have found them absorbing for some luxurious hours of reading for the sake of reading.'
The New Orleans Times-Democrat characterizes Hearn as "a man vast of power, yet able to translate all his strength into the delicacy of a line." It says further:
"What could be more beautiful than Lafcadio Hearn's volumes from Japan, unless it be those words which were written in Louisiana while the author was at the height of his power and under the spell of our own Gulf, not yet tropical but foreshadowing the tropics with signs of delicacy and mystery that Hearn alone knew how to read.
"By his one volume, 'Chita" --the most human he ever wrote-- Lafcadio Hearn will longest live in Louisiana, and of all tributes paid to the State by literary genius we know of none so concentrated in beauty as this. The music of the vast sea prairies he translated into the music of words, a prose music very distinct from the soporific cadency of poetry, and his paintings of the Gulf in its many aspects of repose and might, remain as vivid in the mind's eye as memories of some great sea painting, a Courbet, Mesdag, or Harrison. Yet none of these so reveled in the opals, irridescent pearls, and amethysts as he.
"While a writer on the staff of The Times-Democrat, Hearn translated for this paper the short stories of Guy de Maupassant, Theophile Gautier, and other French masters, and perfection is the only term one may use in describing the completeness of these productions."
[Continued on page 724]
Thanks to Catherine Bradford for transcribing this page.
Copyright (c) 1999, 2007 Brian Cragun.