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Hearn And The Muse

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Chapter Summary

For a contemporary scholar there are aspects of Lafcadio Hearn which are, to put it mildly, problematic. Yet, at the same time, his work cannot be so easily dismissed if only for the fact that so many continue to take him seriously in Japan, where translations of some of his stories form a part of the national cultural heritage. The dreamer finds he can only keep his eyes fixed on the woman's face. She appears to have no age, being 'neither old nor young', nor to belong to any specific race, although at first he takes her as 'a woman of Izumo'. Eyes closed, lips soundlessly moving, she seems, in one of the writer's favourite phrases, 'a weirdness', a voiceless, reluctant Muse. Hearn's 'Muse', is thus neither the pure, unconscious manifestation of what Carl Gustav Jung called the 'Anima' nor the calculated manipulation of the writer's conscious mind.

Keywords: Carl Gustav Jung; Izumo woman; Japan; Lafcadio Hearn; Muse



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