The improbable life story of Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904) included a peculiarly gothic childhood in Ireland during which he was successively abandoned by his mother, his father and his guardian; two decades in New Orleans, where he worked as a journalist and was sacked for marrying a former slave; and a long period in Japan, where he became a Buddhist, married a Japanese woman and wrote about ju-jitsu and Japanese aesthetics for a Western readership. His ghost stories, which were drawn from Japanese folklore, appeared in collections throughout the 1890s. He is a much celebrated figure in Japan.
Exhuming Lafcadio Hearn
Jeff Kingston looks at three new books by and on the extraordinary Lafcadio Hearn....