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Two Springs: Hearn's And Kyōka's Other Worlds

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Chapter Summary

Lafcadio Hearn's poor eyesight, for one, no doubt rendered to whatever he gazed upon a dim, hallucinatory quality. But Hearn had good cause to feel disengaged from his own culture, because his own origins were so problematic. Professor Hirakawa suggests that Hearn's paganism was ultimately more Irish than Greek. He also suggests that the ballads and folk tales told to him by his Irish Catholic nannies and servants had a profound effect on his imagination, ultimately making him more receptive to similar polytheistic and oral elements in Japanese culture. Hearn and Kyōka were two springs (Izumi and Koizumi) that drew from the same source. Like Hearn, Kyōka lost his mother when he was young; the maternal became the focus for erotic longing, which in turn was displaced onto the world of the dead.

Keywords: Hearn's paganism; Hirakawa; Izumi Kyōka; Japanese culture; Lafcadio Hearn



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