Lafcadio Hearn's America Ethnographic Sketches and EditorialsBy Lafcadio Hearn
The American essays of renowned writer Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1914) artistically chronicle the robust urban life of Cincinnati and New Orleans. Hearn is one of the few chroniclers of urban American life in the nineteenth century, and much of this material has not been widely available since the 1950s. Lafcadio Hearn's America collects Hearn's stories of vagabonds, river people, mystics, criminals, and some of the earliest accounts available of black and ethnic urban folklife in America. He was a frequently consulted expert on America during his years in Japan, and these editorials reflect on the problems and possibilities of American life as the country entered its greatest century. Hearn's work, which reflects an America that is less "melting pot" than varied, spicy, and often exotic gumbo, provide essential background for the study of America's first steps away from its agrarian beginnings.