Creolization in Lafcadio Hearn’s New Orleans and Martinique Writings


Hitomi Nabae

Kobe City University of Foreign Studies

The word tsunami, now commonly used throughout the world, was, according to the OED, first used in the 1897 story ‘A Living  God’  written  by  Lafcadio  Hearn.  He  wrote  this  story in Japan soon after reading the breaking news about the tsunami  that  had  killed  more  than  20,000  people  in  North Japan. Having been trained as a journalist for twenty years in America, it was no wonder that he responded so quickly to such a catastrophe. Moreover, his first novel was also about oceanic catastrophe: a decade earlier in New Orleans he had written Chita, a story about the Gulf storm of 1856 which had swept away a resort island and swallowed up its inhabitants and  vacationers.  While  Hearn  obviously  utilizes  the  catastrophe  to  dramatize  the  miraculous  moment  of  survival, he also experiments with his narrative voice to render reality more powerfully. These two stories of oceanic catastrophe well illustrate how he turns journalistic realism into legendary myth by framing it within cross-cultural allegories, which arguably is an essential technique that he consciously crafted and developed so as to effectively address the multi-cultural readers of the world.

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Published : 2014-05-15

NabaeH. (2014). Creolization in Lafcadio Hearn’s New Orleans and Martinique Writings. Review of International American Studies, 7(1). Retrieved from

Hitomi Nakamura Nabae
Kobe City University of Foreign Studies  Japan
Hitomi Nabae, Professor of American Literature and Comparative Literature at the Department of English Studies of the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, holds the degree of Ph.D. in English from Stanford, as well as M.A. and B.A. from Kobe College, Nishinomiya, Japan. She is an author of a number of monographs, book chapters and journal articles (in English and in Japanese) dedicated to life and work of Lafcadio Hearn, Henry James, Walt Whitman and American women poets, as well as problem-oriented studies within the field of American literary and cultural studies.

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