The Denver Republican comments:
"In the matter of purity of English, Hearn has long stood unrivaled. No greater limpidity is to be found in the best passages of Stevenson, while one may search the volumes of Hearn in vain for an affectation. With his masterly gift of description he brought Japan closer to the Western world than it has ever stood before. He has shown the Western people the great forces that rest behind hitherto inexplicable Oriental beliefs. What has seemed outlandish to other Western writers, he has shown to be full of dignity, reason, and charm. In fact, he has stood interpreter between nations and religions that have long been separated by an apparently impenetrable barrier of misunderstanding and ignorance. Having done all this, and having left books whose myriad beauties of style form a strong bid for immortality, Lafcadio Hearn, Japanese citizen, has surely earned that Buddhistic future for which he expresses a preference in his 'Kotto'--the life of a cicada, 'beating its tiny cimbals in the sun.' "
Another writer, Edward Henderson, once the city editor of a large daily newspaper, adds some interesting recollections of Hearn's journalistic career:
"Twenty years ago Hearn was a reporter on the staff of a Cincinnati newspaper which I was directing. He came from ___no man knew where. He was a tiny fellow physically, and as myopic as a bat. He knew nothing about news, but he could write a 'story' that was as polished and full of color as if it had come from the pen of Gauthier himself. Despite his physique he was as courageous as a lion, and there was no assignment of peril that he would not bid for avidly. I remember that one day a famous steeple-climber was going to scale the spire of the cathedral to repair the cross that topped the spire 200 feet above the sidewalk. It was a feat that all other steeple-climbers had balked at, but this fellow was the master of his trade and accepted the contract. The afternoon he first scaled the spire thousands of people watched him breathlessly as he slowly made his way up the outside of the steeple, fixing his ropes and footholds as he went. Of course, he was interviewed, and he said boastingly that the task was so easy that he could just as well carry a man up on his back. That noon Hearn came to me
[Continued on page 725]
Thanks to Catherine Bradford for transcribing this page.
Copyright (c) 1999, 2007 Brian Cragun.