An Introductory Selection of Books about Hearn
Numerous biographies and articles have been written about Lafcadio Hearn from the early 1900s to the present time. More Recent biographies include:
Young Hearn (1958) by American writer O.W. Frost. This work features the first three decades of Hearn’s life.
Lafcadio Hearn: His Life, Work and Irish Background (1991) by Sean G. Ronan (the then Irish Ambassador to Japan and Toki Koizumi (Hearn’s grandson).
Wandering Ghost: The Odyssey of Lafcadio Hearn (1992) by American biographer, Jonathan Cott.
A Fantastic Journey: The Life and Literature of Lafcadio Hearn (1997) by Paul Murray, former Irish diplomat and ambassador, who served many years in Japan.
Hearn’s Published Work
A chronology of the works of Lafcadio Hearn is attached (as provided in the work of Sean G Ronan and Toki Koizumi (1991) listed above.
During his 14 years in Japan, Hearn published 13 books. Our personal recommendation, in order to obtain an overview of Hearn’s work on Japan, would include:
Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, (1894).
Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation: (published posthumously 1905)
Impact of Hearn’s Work and Research
Hearn first earned the reputation of being Japan’s ‘Great Interpreter to the West’ through the descriptive essays he published in American journals. In Japan today he is best remembered for his writings on Japanese folktales and ghost stories. In 1965 his work Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, was made into a major film, directed by Masaki Kobayashi.
Perhaps lesser known is the beneficial impact that his sociological and interpretative work on Japanese society, had on the American management of their postwar occupation of Japan after World War 2.
Chronology of the works of Lafcadio Hearn
1882 One of Cleopatra’s Nights, and other Fantastic Romances, Théophile Gautier, translated by Lafcadio Hearn
1884 Stray Leaves from Strange Literature and Other Stories
1885 Gomo Zhèbes-Little Dictionary of Creole Proverbs; La Cuisine Créole; Historical Sketch Book and Guide to New Orleans and Environs
1887 Some Chinese Ghosts and Other Stories
1889 Chita: A Memory of Last Island
1890 The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, Anatole France, translated by Lafcadio Hearn. Two years in the French West Indies. Youma
1894 Glimses of Unfamiliar Japan
1895 Out of the East
1897 Gleanings in Buddha-Fields
1898 Exotics and Retrospectives
1899 In Ghostly Japan
1901 A Japanese Miscellany
1902 Fantastics and Other Fancies. Kottõ
1904 Kwaidan *** Published posthumously ***
1905 The Romance of the Milky Way and Other Stories. Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation
1910 The Temptation of St. Anthony, Gustav Flaubert, translated by Lafcadio Hearn
1911 Leaves from The Diary of An Impressionist
1915 Interpretations of Literature, 2 vols.
1916 Appreciations of Poetry
1917 Life and Literature
1924 An American Miscellany
1925 On Art, Literature and Philosophy
1926 On Poets and Poems
1927 A History of English Literature