Lafcadio Hearn (Patricio Lafcadio Tessima Carlos Hearn)
BiographyLeucos, Ionian Islands, Greece
At the age of 6, Lafcadio Hearn, who had been born in Leucos in the Greek Ionian Islands to a Greek mother and an Irish father, was made a ward of his Irish great-aunt, who packed him off to Jesuit boarding schools in France and Britain. At the age of 16, he was sent to the US, where he worked as a journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio, and New Orleans, Louisiana. He translated French literature into English and began to develop his own taste, which was for the foreign, the exotic, and--sometimes--the macabre. Read more... 1890. He fell in love with the place and then with Setsu Koizumi, the daughter of a samurai family whose husband had deserted her and left her penniless. They were married in 1891. Hearn enthusiastically became a Japanese citizen, took the name Yakumo Koizumi, and acquired a teaching position at Imperial University, which he held until 1903. His interpretations of things Japanese--customs, geography, folk tales and literature--were internationally translated, widely admired, and adapted into films such as Kwaidan (1964); any of his works are still in print today. His loyalty and love for his adopted country was unflagging throughout his life. He died at the age of 54.