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HEARN, [PATRICIO] LAFCADIO [TESSIMA CARLOS]

HEARN, [PATRICIO] LAFCADIO [TESSIMA CARLOS] (1850–
1904). Lafcadio Hearn was born in Greece and migrated to the United
States, where he drifted from New York, to Cincinnati, to New Orleans. In
New Orleans he wrote Chita: A Memory of Last Island (1888), a fictionalized account of a hurricane in 1850 that decimated lle Dernie `re, a resort
island in the Gulf of Mexico. The sea’s moods, from destructive and deathdestroying, to calm, provide the tone and structure for the book, which first
appeared serially in Harper’s Magazine.
Hearn then toured the Caribbean,* settling for a while in Martinique,
where he worked on stories about Americans in the tropics and Creoles
emigrating to the north. Martinique Sketches (1890) includes such portraits
of Caribbean life as “La Grande Anse” and “Les Porteuses,” as well as “Ti
Canotie `,” the story of Maximilien and Ste `phane, two boys who venture
dangerously far out to sea in their canoe and are caught by a current that
sweeps them from Martinique toward Dominica. By the time a passing
steamer notices the canoe, Ste `phane has died. Hearn’s novel Youma (1890),
written in Martinique, is the story of a slave girl who refuses to participate
in a slave rebellion. Hearn subsequently published Two Years in the French
West Indies (1890), a series of impressionistic essays about life in the Caribbean. In later life Hearn lived in Japan, where he became a noted collector
of Asian folktales and published a number of books with Japanese subjects.