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Hearn: Travel-Writing And Controversy

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Chapter Summary

The travel-writing scenario Lafcadio Hearn adopted was one of an entry and total immersion into the life of a foreign culture, so that he could interpret the culture through 'vivid sensation given to the reader'. Hearn explained that he did not expect to discover new things in Japan, 'but only to consider things in a totally new way'. The travel-writing scenario adopted by Hearn provided him with points of reference throughout his time in Japan. In Japan: An Interpretation he maintains that Japan is at a different stage of evolution from the West 'psychologically much farther away from us' than the Ancient Greeks. The significance of Hearn's originating scenario can be seen throughout his letters written in Japan, letters which remain one of the great resources for those who wish to map the intellectual life of the fin de siècle period.

Keywords: Ancient Greeks; fin de siècle period; Japan; Lafcadio Hearn; travel-writing scenario



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