Fall, 2021 Edition

 

 

President’s Message,  Steve Kemme

Editor’s Note: from Gary Eith

 

Call for Research

 

Conversation with a Society Founder,

Sylvia Metzinger

 

Where and How My Study of Hearn Began,

Guest Author, Eileen Kues

Period of the Gruesome, by Eileen Kues

 

“Cincinnati’s Literary Heritage,” Author, Kevin Grace

Book Review by Gary Eith

 

Lafcadio Hearn’s Open Mind

Reprint, Steve Kemme Interview, by Michael Limnios

 

Welcome from the President of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the 2021 edition of the Hearn Journal, sponsored and supported by the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA and the Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati.  A lot has transpired since our last edition, including the pandemic, and the loss of our friend, Dr. Kinji Tanaka to this illness.  We will miss him dearly and his persistent almost relentless work to build cultural bridges between Japan and the United States.  This Society and this Journal would likely not exist if it were not for him.  Without Dr. Tanaka’s encouragement and kind help and counsel, I never would have become so deeply involved in the study of Hearn’s writings and life.

We hope that the pandemic will wane and that we will again be able to meet and learn of Hearn and his work.  In that regard, we hope you take notice of the new Call to Research, as we are still seeking Hearn’s arrival date in Cincinnati, but this time through his fleeting relationship with a young Scandinavian on his train trip to Cincinnati.  In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this latest edition, the 2021 edition of the Hearn Journal.

We thank the contributors to this edition.  It was great to hear from Sylvia Metzinger, one of the founders of the Society, and her discussion of reference  works that provide tangible proof of Hearn’s writing foundations emanating from Cincinnati.  We thank Eileen Kues for her acknowledgement of the Society’s and the Center’s work spurring her onward to learn more about Hearn and his writings, and in our spirit, sharing some of her learning with a local writer’s organization!  Also, a special thanks to Michael Limnios for allowing us to reprint my interview for his blog.  Lastly, thanks to our new editor, Gary Eith, for sharing what he learned (with a focus on Hearn) from Kevin Grace’s new book, Cincinnati’s Literary Heritage A History for Booklovers.

Steve Kemme, President

Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA

 

 

Editor’s Note:

We would have liked to have named this issue, the Dr. Kinji Tanaka Memorial Issue, on this one-year anniversary of his passing.  However, he would have been the first to state that it’s not about him, but the higher mission of the Research Center (the building of cultural bridges between Japan and the U.S.A. through examples of exemplary people).  I can’t tell you how many times he told me to pull his name and highlight “all the others who contributed.”  The founding of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA was but one example, and he would have wanted to acknowledge the good works of its first president, and editor of the first eight issues of the journal, Jon Christopher Hughes. He also would have recognized the founding members of the Society which included Judson Edwards, Sylvia Metzinger and myself, and soon thereafter Jacqueline Vidourek (now deceased) who joined this founding board.

The contributions to this issue are also examples of the kinds of work Dr. Tanaka would have been most pleased with.  In that regard, we hope that you will join with us in sharing this issue, this “tribute” with others.

-         Gary Eith, Ed.D., Editor

-         September 5, 2021

 

 

CALL FOR RESEARCH

This is a “Research Call” on an identification of “Hearn’s first love,” a young Scandinavian woman on the immigrant train to Cincinnati who shared her lunch with him.  He was starving on the train and needed help from someone at the time. 

 

Everyone remembers their first crush, infatuation or “love.”  Hearn admits as much for himself while travelling on a train from New York to Cincinnati and meeting this young woman.  Her destination (according to Bisland) was Red Wing, Minnesota.  How many 19 year old women arrived in Red Wing in 1869?  How many 20 year olds may have been living there in 1870, according to the Census?  What were their names?  Did any have diaries or mention their train experience from New York to Cincinnati, and/or meeting a hungry young man during the travels who forgot to even thank her when she shared her lunch with him? Not showing any appreciation, was a regret Hearn had for many years afterward.

 

We still haven’t found the actual date of Hearn’s arrival in Cincinnati and we think this may be another human interest story to get to this. So, to the researcher, who finds the most compelling or comprehensive finding related to this young, 19 year old woman in ethnic garb on her way to Red Wing that may include the train or trains she travelled on, a monetary award, and an invitation to present the findings at a readings/seminar in 2022 will be presented to you!  Deadline 7/1/2022.  A committee will review submissions and choose the most compelling research. Contact Gary Eith, eithg@yahoo.com for an additional information sheet and/or if you have any questions or submissions.


 

 

 

 Conversation With a Society Founder – Sylvia Metzinger

Sylvia Metzinger was one of the founding members of the board of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA.  Metzinger left her position as Rare Books Librarian at Tulane University to become Manager of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and was serving in that capacity when she joined the Society’s board.  Both libraries have important collections of works by and about Hearn.  Sylvia and her husband Fred are now retired, and reside just northwest of San Antonio, Texas in a rural area, a bedroom community for some San Antonians and a recreation area for others.  She says she keeps busy now working for her homeowners association in a virtual capacity as the coordinator for their “Nextdoor.com” page and formerly as a board member of the association and editor of their newsletter for six years.  Occasionally a Hearn question still comes her way via the internet.

It’s hard to imagine Sylvia in a ten-gallon Texas-sized hat living in the “Cowboy Capital of the World!”  She is a proud Cajun-American whose roots go back in Louisiana before the Revolutionary War.  However, she and her husband having grown up below sea level in greater New Orleans most of their lives, decided that the rural Texas hill country was the peaceful place where they wanted to retire!

____________________________

Though Lafcadio Hearn is more prominently mentioned and studied in Japan and probably Ireland, even Greece (his heritage), Cincinnati is where he created his foundation for writing, not just subject matter and inclinations but writing and journalism.  He strengthened that foundation in New Orleans.  From his definitive Bibliography* authored by Perkins, Hearn wrote his first 332 newspaper articles in Cincinnati, a very auspicious beginning to his journalistic and writing career! Most importantly this was expanded upon by Jon Christopher Hughes, editor, in his Period of the Gruesome, Selected Cincinnati Journalism of Lafcadio Hearn, which contains “Lafcadio Hearn’s Cincinnati Writings: A Bibliography,” compiled by O.W.Frost, with an Update by Jon Christopher Hughes, 1990.  Anyone studying the Cincinnati journalism period of Hearn should compare both lists as the latter has entries for 439 newspaper articles.**

Hearn went on to New Orleans and wrote 713 articles and became an assistant editor of two papers and then literary editor of a third.  Some of these articles contained woodcuts done by Hearn himself.  When on sabbatical in the 1990s at Tulane University, Metzinger compiled and photocopied onto archival paper for preservation purposes all of Hearn’s illustrations from that period, as many as she could locate so they could be gathered in one place.   In New Orleans, he also had 21 journal appearances, followed by nine more written while on a sojourn of two years in the West Indies, and then 30 more while living in Japan, all but two appearing in American periodicals from the period 1882-1904.  Of course, he is well known for his over 20 book publications as well.

I suppose what turned Hearn to Japan happened in New Orleans as well.  Hearn had been introduced to the literature and philosophy of the East as a youth, and he read many books about Japan while in New York.  However, I think the clincher for his going to Japan was because of the World’s Industrial and Cotton Exposition in New Orleans, 1884-85, where he had an assignment to cover the Japanese Exhibit, (“The New Orleans Exposition,” Harpers Weekly, Jan. 31, 1885, vol.29, p71) and became friends with Japan’s Commissioner Ichizo Hattori who later, as Minister of Education, actually secured a teaching job for Hearn in Matsue. 

The rest is history, as they say….  But it was his writing, life, and experiences in Cincinnati that provided a strong, solid foundation for his future writing career.  It is not only right and just for Cincinnati to have a permanent memorial for this important literary figure, but it will serve as an educational tool for many in the region, introducing Hearn, and to many from overseas as well as in the United States, as a tourist attraction in Cincinnati.  The Queen City as it was called, had a strong arts and literary heritage, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries!

__________________________

 

* Percival Densmore Perkins and Ione Perkins.  Lafcadio Hearn, a Bibiography of his Writings. 1934. Library locations holding various editions can be found near you by accessing  WorldCat.org   and entering this information.  An e-book first edition can be found in WorldCat by clicking the HathiTrust url when you access the record for the online version via WorldCat.org                 http://catalog.hathitrust.org/api/volumes/oclc/1208494.html    

 **https://www.worldcat.org/title/period-of-the-gruesome-selected-cincinnati-journalism-of-lafcadio-hearn/oclc246529268/editions?referer+di&editionsView+true  

 

 

Where and How My Study of Hearn Began: A Message to the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA from Guest Author, Eileen Kues

The first I heard of Lacadio Hearn was when I saw a notice about a lecture on Hearn in the Library Links newsletter. I was intrigued by a drawing of his face in the notice and by the few details about him that were included. A friend who lives downtown agreed to go with me, but after we had lunch and perused the displays of Hearn’s work in the Cincinnati Room windows, she decided to go home. There were only fifteen or twenty people in attendance. The speakers were wonderful and the discussion was lively. By the time it was over, I knew two things: I wanted to know more, and I was the only person there not connected to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Since, I attended the Hearn Symposium and the Kwaidan performance, both in October of 2019. Many facets of Lafcadio Hearn’s story fascinated me:  his intelligence, his dogged pursuit of knowledge, his understanding of the universe, his atheism, his nonchalance about race, and his empathy and respect for the “underclass”. I had to know where a man like this came from. 

 

I knew I had to learn more about his early years to find out how he became Hearn and how he ended up here in Cincinnati. I began to prepare a paper about him that I could present at the Cincinnati Contemporary Club. The Contemporary Club, which is over 100 years old, is an organization of women who want to write and share their stories with the group. I was invited to join by a neighbor and dog-walker friend in 2012. This was my third paper for them. I kept the topic a secret and realized afterwards that only one person in the audience had heard of Lafcadio Hearn.

 

My paper is titled The Period of the Gruesome: Lafcadio Hearn’s First 27 Years. I started with a section of his Tanyard Murder articles and then went back to discover his origins – his parents, the Ionian Islands, traveling to Dublin to live, his parents’ abandonment and his life with his great-aunt Sarah Brenane, the arrival of Henry Hearn Molyneux and the beginning of the great swindle, Hearn’s time in boarding schools and the loss of the use of his left eye, the family bankruptcy and his life in London’s East End. After his arrival in Cincinnati, I follow the path that eventually leads him to Henry Watkin and his first few jobs, his first submission to the Cincinnati Enquirer and his career there which ended in him being fired over his marriage to Alethea Foley, and then the two successful, if exhausting years at the Cincinnati Commercial. I have an addendum with thirteen excerpts from a variety of Hearn’s genres. 

 

My background is in education and, before I became an elementary school librarian in 1993, I taught language arts in sixth, seventh and eighth grades in Cincinnati Public Schools. I retired in 2010. I live in Clifton in a house that was built in 1912. 

 

EILEEN KUES

eileenk@zoomtown.com

 

"All things share the same breath -- the beast, the tree, the man. The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports." -- Chief Seattle

 

 Please click here for Eileen’s paper:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BOOK REVIEW
: “Cincinnati’s Literary Heritage, A History for Booklovers,” A Book Written by Kevin Grace 

 

Congratulations to Kevin Grace on his new book, copyright 2021, published by The History Press (www.historypress.com).  Kevin is in the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA and has presented to the Society.  He has recently retired as head of the Archives and Rare Books Library at the University of Cincinnati and as the University Archivist.  In 2015 he was awarded the Cooper Award by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for contributions to the promotion of books and reading.

 

“Cincinnati’s Literary Heritage” is an easy read filled with interesting information on a range of historical topics including Cincinnati’s early publishers, literary clubs and collectors, libraries and bookstores, lovers of Shakespeare and of Cincinnati writers and writers from around the world who visited Cincinnati.  Kevin includes a recommended reference list of fifteen essential literary points of interest, twenty-five essential organizations for books, reading and writing, and fifty essential books for understanding Cincinnati.

 

I recommend you read the book (it’s under 150 pages) cover to cover, as even the acknowledgements and introduction chapter (which I normally skip over) I found most interesting on the early history of the city and an overview of his findings in the first person.  Throughout, there are many photos and illustrations helping the reader perceive and understand the city and its important literary significance.  He explains how he came upon writing this book from the many stories he has heard over the years….and it struck me how “Hearn-like” that seemed to me.

 

For our purposes, I choose to focus on what Kevin has found on Lafcadio Hearn.  In addition to a photo of a middle-aged Hearn on the cover, the author mentions Hearn about midway in the book as he proceeds through some Irish immigrant literary figures (over 20,000 Irish settled in Cincinnati in the late 1800’s).  Including a short life history to provide the context within which we find Hearn in Cincinnati, Kevin describes Hearn’s early years in Cincinnati and the topics and people he wrote about for the Cincinnati Enquirer, and subsequently, The Commercial.   He, too, like so many other researchers of Hearn, describes his “journalistic mark” from the very topics and people of Hearn’s choosing.  As Kevin so aptly puts it, Hearn went where other journalists wouldn’t go….and that’s not just location, but of course where the common people were.  He included all types of people, the  most colorful or mundane, the most unusual “professions” and the most strange or outlandish experiences.  He was one of the first to live among  and  write about  African Americans living in the city.  Hearn’s writing is best described by a Hearn quote that Kevin found describing his days in Cincinnati,

 

“ Now in those days there was a young man connected with the Daily Enquirer whose tastes were whimsically grotesque and arabesque.  He was by nature a fervent admirer of extremes.  He believed only in the Revoltingly Horrible or the Excruciatingly Beautiful…..”

 

Now if that doesn’t intrigue the reader to find what Hearn has written!  Indeed, the newspapers and journals of his time sold many copies because of the novel subject matter at the time, but also of the impeccably well written work as well.

 

As we have learned from other presenters to the Society, these choices influenced his future writings as he authored books and journal articles wherever he went.  With the authoring of approximate 400 articles in Cincinnati, these early experiences not only began Hearn’s writing career but, in many ways became his foundation for his writing as he selected cultural and folklore topics.

 

I wish to thank Kevin Grace for his work on this book, for sharing with his audiences the richness of Cincinnati’s literary history and for his many contributions to the Hearn Society/USA in Cincinnati.  It was a trip down nostalgia lane in many respects for me, as my grandfather, born in 1900, had spoken of many of the people, the literature and poetry of the period.  Still, I learned a lot from the book, and it also has spurred my curiosity to visit some of the locations mentioned, including the Author’s Grove in Eden Park, and the remnants of a memorial wall near the water tower there.  Again, Congrats on your book, Kevin!

 

-Gary Eith, editor of the Lafcadio Hearn Journal

 

 

 

 




President of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA, Steve Kemme talks about Lafcadio Hearn's legacy and his open mind

"Lafcadio Hearn’s legacy in terms of race and social consciousness is demonstrating the need for tolerance of people of different races, nations and religions. And not just to tolerate them, but to learn about them and get to know them as fellow human beings. He also displayed the importance of helping those in need."

 

Steve Kemme: Lafcadio Hearn's Open Mind

American writer/scholar Steve Kemme is president of the Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA, retired Cincinnati Enquirer reporter, author of yet-to-be-published Hearn biography — “From Gore to Ghosts: The Strange Odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn.” The first westerner to translate Japanese stories into English was Patrick Lafcadio Hearn. Born in 1850 on the Greek island of Lefkada, and later abandoned by his parents, Hearn was sent to America. He is best remembered for his books about Japanese culture, especially his collections of legends and ghost stories, such as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In the United States, he is also known for his writings about New Orleans, based on his decade-long stay there.

 

In his fifty-four years among the living, Patrick Lafcadio Hearn wrote twenty-nine books in just about every conceivable genre—folktales, travelogues, novels, cookbooks, translations, dictionaries of proverbs—none of which can compete, in terms of sheer Dickensian horror and pluck, with the story of his own life. Hearn distinguished himself at the Cincinnati Enquirer (1872-1875) and the Cincinnati Commercial (1875-1877) for his sensational crime stories and his penetrating portraits of African Americans. He moved to New Orleans in 1877, where he wrote about the Creole culture. He moved to Martinique in 1887. During his two years there, he wrote two novels and a book about his experiences and observations of life on the island. Hearn went to Japan in 1890, married a woman from a samurai family, assumed the Japanese name of Yakumo Koizumi, and lived there until his death at the age of 54 in 1904.

 

 

   

Special Thanks: Takis Efstathiou & Steve Kemme

 

How started the thought of Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA? What characterize LHS philosophy and mission?

The Lafcadio Hearn Society/USA was founded in 1989. Dr. Kinji Tanaka, a Japanese native who had been living in Cincinnati for many years, and several other Hearn enthusiasts formed the Hearn Society. The founding members included Jon Hughes, then a journalism professor at the University of Cincinnati. He edited and wrote an introduction to a collection of Hearn’s more sensational Cincinnati newspaper stories called Period of the Gruesome, which was published in 1990.

 

The Hearn Society published a series of newsletters containing articles about Hearn’s work and life. Tanaka, who sadly died last year of Covid-19, was the primary force behind the Hearn Society’s establishment. He was my friend and mentor. The Hearn Society encourages the study of Hearn’s writing and life and strives to make more people aware of him. It is under the jurisdiction of the Japan Research Center of Greater Cincinnati, a non-profit organization that Tanaka founded and led.

 

How has Lafcadio Hearn's books/life influenced your views of the world and life's journeys you’ve taken?

 

I didn’t know about Hearn until the early 1990s. I read a review of Jon Hughes’ Period of the Gruesome shortly after it was published. Then a couple of years later I came across a Hearn book that included selections from all periods of his career. I was in my early 40s at the time and already had a keen interest in other cultures throughout the world. Hearn’s work and life deepened my curiosity and my love of exploring other cultures, primarily through the arts. I majored in English in college and have always read fiction, non-fiction, poetry from other English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries. Hearn stoked my interest specifically in ancient Japanese culture. Without knowing about Hearn, I wouldn’t have taken two trips to Japan, one in 2004 and the other in 2018. I also wouldn’t have met and become friends with people from Japan, Ireland, Greece and other countries. So Lafcadio’s influence on me has been profound.

 

Why do you think that Lafcadio Hearn continues to generate such a devoted following in music culture?

 

Hearn became interested in music at an early age. When he was growing up in Ireland, he loved listening to Irish folk songs. When he came to Cincinnati, he frequented the bars and dance halls where African-Americans congregated and listened to their music, which often displayed characteristics of what we would today call gospel and blues. They radiated joy, sadness, humor and bawdiness. Hearn wrote down many of the songs’ lyrics and included some of them in stories in the two Cincinnati daily newspapers he wrote for, the Enquirer and the Commercial. He and his journalist friend, Henry Krehbiel, who later became a music critic in New York, would walk along the docks and listen to the black stevedores and other dockworkers singing. Hearn would jot down the words, and Krehbiel would notate the music. At this early stage in his career, Hearn functioned as a folklorist.

 

In Japan, he absorbed the music of the ordinary people and wrote about it. The voice of a blind female street singer so entranced him that he invited her into his house and paid her to sing to his family. When construction workers spent a week or so on a project near his house, Hearn would pause from whatever he was doing and listen to them sing. He considered the chirping of many varieties of Japanese insects to be musical and enjoyable. His intense love of music of many kinds and his ability to write about it vividly continues to draw readers to his work.

 

How important was Afro-American and Creole music in his life? How did the music affect his inspirations?

 

Hearing African-Americans play and sing their music gave Hearn an appreciation for music that was different from European classical music, which he liked, and from most of the popular tunes of the day. He loved the driving rhythms of many of the songs he heard in the black dance halls and bars in Cincinnati. In a couple of his newspaper stories, he described not only the music, but also the passion and skill of some of the black dancers. This music had an emotional dimension and intensity that he hadn’t heard in other kinds of music.

 

Hearn immersed himself in the Creole culture in New Orleans with the same enthusiasm that he had in the African-American culture in Cincinnati. He immediately began writing down lyrics of the Creole songs he heard. In addition to the Creoles’ music, he loved the melodiousness of their language.

 

The music of blacks and Creoles helped him understand their character and their history and what made them unique and set them apart from the rest of society. It inspired him to seek out the music of whatever culture he was investigating. In a broad sense, it reinforced his belief that great art must speak to the emotions as well as to the intellect.

 

 

What has made you laugh from Lafcadio Hearn's life and travels? How do you want his work to affect people?

 

Hearn had such an eccentric personality that he was prone to get involved in many humorous and unusual situations. In Cincinnati, he dressed up as a woman in order to be able to go to a female-only lecture by a former nun about the alleged sexual acts she witnessed in the convent. He donned a blond wig, a long dress, high-button ladies’ boots and long gloves. He made it through the lecture undetected and wrote a very funny story about it. In another incident in Cincinnati, with the help of three steeple-jacks, he climbed to the top of the steeple of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. He wrote a hilarious story about it. Hearn’s grandson, Toki Koizumi, whom I met in 2004 in Japan, told me that he learned about this incident from his father, Kazuo Koizumi. So it made such as impression on Hearn that he passed it down to his family.

 

In Martinique, he once offered to pay 17 boys 10 cents each to pose for pictures with their canoes.  After the pictures were taken, the boys lined up for their reward. Hearn began paying them. But other boys broke into the line and the ones who got paid went back to the end of the line in hopes of collecting a double fee. Suddenly surrounded by dozens of naked boys wanting to be paid, Hearn ran to the house of a friend and scrambled up to the building’s fourth floor. Police had to shoo the boys away from the building. When Hearn saw them later that day, the boys began to cry. Hearn felt bad for them and paid them – even those who hadn’t posed for him.

 

On his first trip to Japan’s Oki Islands, many of the people in the village where he was staying had never before seen a Westerner. He sparked so much interest that they formed a line up the stairs to the door of his second-floor room. One or two of them would look in his room at him, smile, bow and then leave. The next ones in line would step up and do the same. After the hotel manager chased all the villagers out, some boys climbed up to balconies on a nearby building so they could look in Hearn’s window and see him. When he walked around the village, he attracted a crowd of people who followed him at a respectful distance. Hearn was a little unsettled by all the attention but didn’t object.

 

What are some of the most important life lessons you have learned from your experience in Hearn's work?

 

One of the things I most admire about Hearn is his determination to overcome whatever obstacles faced him as he worked to build his writing career and explore the world. He was extremely self-conscious about his face, which had been disfigured by a boyhood injury that blinded his left eye. But he didn’t let that stop him from achieving his writing goals. In my own case, I had a serious stuttering problem that began in my teenage years. I related to Hearn’s fear of being ridiculed.

 

As a 19-year-old immigrant, he began his life in Cincinnati in dire financial straits, sleeping in haylofts and cardboard boxes for the first couple of months. He had the same economic issues when he moved to New Orleans and later to Japan. He suffered from the extreme heat and from a serious illness in Martinique. Yet through all these hardships, he didn’t give up.

 

He also withstood big physical challenges in his travels. He climbed to the top of Mount Pelee in Martinique and when he was in declining health, he climbed Mount Fuji. If he wanted to see or experience something, he wouldn’t let anything get in his way.

 

 

 

 What is the impact of Lafcadio Hearn on the racial and socio-cultural implications? What's the legacy of Hearn?

 

Hearn had a profound respect for non-Western cultures, racial minorities and people on the fringes of whatever society he was living in. In Cincinnati, he wrote about the lives of African-Americans and others struggling to survive. He wrote about rag-pickers, seamstresses who received a pittance for their work, dockworkers and prisoners.

 

In Japan, he earned the love of his students by showing a respect for their culture that many other Western teachers there had not shown. Many Western teachers considered Japan’s culture to be inferior to the West’s and displayed an arrogance that conveyed that attitude to their students. On the other hand, Hearn considered Japanese culture superior to Western culture in many respects. He developed a personal relationship with his students and while teaching them English literature, also encouraged them to respect the traditions of their own country.

 

Hearn’s legacy in terms of race and social consciousness is demonstrating the need for tolerance of people of different races, nations and religions. And not just to tolerate them, but to learn about them and get to know them as fellow human beings. He also displayed the importance of helping those in need.

 

If he was speaking seriously to us, what do you think he would tell us? What would you like to ask Lafcadio Hearn?

 

If he were alive today, I believe he would be appalled by the growth of racial and religious bigotry in the United States and in many parts of the world. His message to us would be a humanitarian one. He would tell us to be more tolerant, respectful and empathetic toward other people, regardless of their race, religion or national origin.

I would like to ask him a lot of questions about his Cincinnati years. He was estranged from his great-aunt who raised him and knew of no other relatives. So, the few letters he may have written while in Cincinnati didn’t survive. I would like to know exactly how he spent his year in London, how long he stayed in New York City after coming to America and exactly when he arrived in Cincinnati.

 

Do you have a dream project you'd most like to accomplish? What projects are you working on at the moment? 

 

I’ve written a literary biography of Hearn that is being considered by a publisher. It’s not meant to be a massive, definitive biography. It’s more a concisely written book that focuses as much on his development as a writer as his personal growth from orphan to an internationally acclaimed writer. I look forward to having this book published.

 

  

 

 -finis-

 

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