THERE are as many possible biographies of a man as there are possible biographers-and one more! Of Lafcadio Hearn there has been, and there will be, no excuse for any biography whatever. A properly edited volume of his letters, and, perhaps, a critical estimate of the methods and development of his imaginative power and literary character are, and still remain, most desirable. That some competent hand may yet be found to undertake this task is still hoped by those who recognize the value of a man's best work. To furnish material and help toward this end is my object in collecting the following pages. The life of a literary man interests and is of value to the world because of the literature he has created. Without a bibliography, without even mention of the works he wrote, his biography would be useless. To correct many untrue and misleading statements and inferences of a serious nature that have been published concerning him and his life, should it ever be undertaken, will prove a labour so difficult and thankless that it will scarcely be entered upon by one who would do it rightly. That it will not be hazarded comes, as I have said, from the fact that it is not needed, because neither Hearn himself, nor his real friends, nor again, a discriminating literary sense, have been, nor can be, under any illusion as to his "greatness." He has been spoken of as "a great man," which, of course, he was not. Two talents he had, but these were far from constituting personal greatness. Deprived by nature, by the necessities of his life, or by conscious intention, of religion, morality, scholarship, magnanimity, loyalty, character, benevolence, and other constituents of personal greatness, it is more than folly to endeavour to place him thus wrongly before the world.
|Publisher:||Philadelphia, G.W. Jacobs & Company|
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