Lafcadio Hearn

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Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (27 June 1850 – 26 September 1904), also known as Koizumi Yakumo (小泉 八雲?), was a Japanese author, best known for his books about Japan. He is especially well-known for his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories, such as Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In the United States, Hearn is also known for his writings about the city of New Orleans from his 10-year stay in that city.



Early life

Hearn was born in Lefkada (the origin of his middle name), one of the Greek Ionian Islands. He was the son of Surgeon-major Charles Bush Hearn (of County Offaly, Ireland) and Rosa Antoniou Kassimati, a Greek woman of noble Cerigote lineage through her father, Anthony Cassimati.[1] His father was stationed in Lefkada during the British occupation of the islands. Lafcadio was initially baptized Patricio Lefcadio Hearn in the Greek Orthodox Church. It is not clear that Hearn's parents were ever legally married, and the Irish Protestant relatives on his father's side considered him to have been born out of wedlock. (This may, however, have been because they did not recognize the legitimacy of the Greek Orthodox Church to conduct a marriage ceremony for a Protestant.)[2]

Hearn moved to Dublin, Ireland, at the age of two, where he was brought up in the suburb of Rathmines. Other members of his family also pursued artistic and bohemian interests. His father's brother Richard was at one time a well-known member of the Barbizon set of artists, though he made no mark as a painter, possibly due to a lack of personal ambition. Young Hearn had a rather casual education, but in 1865 was at Ushaw Roman Catholic College, Durham. He was injured in a playground accident in his teens, causing loss of vision in his left eye.

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