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Lafcadio’s Nightmares

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Chapter Summary

Widening gaps between positive appreciations of Koizumi Yakumo in Japan and negative depreciations of Hearn by American Japan interpreters are very intriguing. To check the origins of these gaps this chapter addresses not only the writer Hearn per se, but also considers what these gaps mean. Hearn's life was minutely described by Koizumi Setsuko in her Reminiscences of Lafcadio Hearn. The part Setsuko played in Hearn's retelling of folk tales is well known through her Reminiscences, which according to James Kirkup, is the very best book on Hearn. The most valuable part of Hearn's writing is his folk tales, a work he accomplished together with his Japanese wife. It is true that there are many nightmarish stories in Hearn's Kwaidan, but the author is sure that his years in Japan spent in a warm conjugal relationship were far from nightmares.

Keywords: American Japan interpreters; Koizumi Setsuko; Kwaidan; Lafcadio Hearn; nightmarish stories



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