Lafcadio Hearn's America: Ethnographic Sketches and by Lafcadio Hearn

By Lafcadio Hearn

The yank essays of popular author Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) artistically chronicle the strong city lifetime of Cincinnati and New Orleans. Hearn is without doubt one of the few chroniclers of city American existence within the 19th century, and masses of this fabric has no longer been largely on hand because the Nineteen Fifties. Lafcadio Hearn's the United States collects Hearn's tales of vagabonds, river humans, mystics, criminals, and a few of the earliest debts to be had of black and ethnic city folklife in the US. He used to be a regularly consulted specialist on the United States in the course of his years in Japan, and those editorials examine the issues and chances of American lifestyles because the kingdom entered its maximum century. Hearn's paintings, which displays an the US that's much less "melting pot" than a diverse, highly spiced, and sometimes unique gumbo, offer crucial history for the learn of America's first steps clear of its agrarian beginnings.

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Sometimes I think of Europe, sometimes of the West Indies,—of Florida, France, or the wilderness of London. ’ Whenever I go INTRODUCTION 25 down to the wharves, I look at the white-winged ships. ” (Bisland 1906, 1:183). He had two sometimes conflicting longings. He wanted to be lost in a more primitive place, and at the same time he wanted to be enmeshed in an intellectual literary circle. —may be laughed off in the daytime, but always returns to haunt me like a ghost in the night” (1:225).

May be laughed off in the daytime, but always returns to haunt me like a ghost in the night” (1:225). A vacation to Grand Isle in the Gulf whetted his appetite for a life of writing in the West Indies. Amid primitive surroundings, the island had its share of vacationers from whom he wanted to get away. He hoped for a more remote island paradise where he could work on his prose undisturbed. The ethnic diversity on Grand Isle prompted in him the desire to be among “mixed races” and native customs and natural sights untainted by modernity.

With commerce booming by the 1840s, the city attracted German and Irish immigrants. At that time, 20 LAFCADIO HEARN’S AMERICA New Orleans held the distinction of being the largest southern city and one of the nation’s most prosperous ports, but after the Civil War it fell behind northern commercial centers that it once had exceeded. Steamboating through the port struggled to compete with the rise of overland railroading and northern industry. Sudden drops in cotton and sugar prices increased the instability of the local economy.

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