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Half A Century After Byron: What Did Greece Mean To The Writer Hearn?

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Chapter Summary

It was Lafcadio Hearn who first gave lectures on Byron, which are reproduced from Japanese students' notebooks in his posthumously edited Interpretations of Literature (1915).This chapter checks the evaluations concerning Lord Byron. Byron scholars have gathered here in order to study the poet's writings and doings, and it is generally thought that there is a consensual opinion that what Byron did in Greece in his final years was 'generous, heroic, and truly noble'. What is more interesting in Hearn's lecture on Byron, however, is his explanation concerning the cause of Byron's downfall as a poet. Despite all miseries, he could still hold on to sound fundamental values: Lafcadio had a stabilizing gyroscope built into himself. That basic trust in life was given early by his Greek mother Rosa Antonia Cassimati. Hearn later went native, because he sided with his 'Oriental' mother. That was what Greece really meant to Hearn.

Keywords: Byron; Greece; Japanese students; Lafcadio Hearn; Rosa Antonia Cassimati

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