The New Orleans of Lafcadio Hearn: Illustrated Sketches from the Daily City Item

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Delia LaBarre
LSU Press, 2007 - 232 pagine

Lafcadio Hearn (1850--1904) was a master satirist who displayed a fiery wit both as a writer and as an artist. For seven months in 1880, he surprised and amused the readers of New Orleans with his wood-block "cartoons" and accompanying articles, which were variously funny, scathing, surreal, political, whimsical, and moral. This delightful book collects in their entirety, for the first time, all of the extant satirical columns and woodcut illustrations published in the Daily City Item -- 181 columns in all. Hearn displays immense range, illuminating in words and prints the unique culture of New Orleans, including its Creole history, debauched underworld, corrupt politicians, and voudou practitioners. The columns are expertly annotated by Delia LaBarre, who places them in their unique Crescent City context.
With virtually no training in art of any kind, Hearn began creating his illustrations partly to boost the circulation of a small daily newspaper in a competitive market. He believed in the power of satirical cartoons to communicate big ideas in small spaces -- in particular, to reveal the habits, prejudices, and delusions of the current generation. Blind in his left eye (since a boyhood accident) and severely myopic in his right, Hearn nonetheless painstakingly carved out drawings on wood blocks with a penknife to be printed alongside his articles on the newspaper's letterpress. Hearn developed, from the first of these woodcuts to the last, a unique style that expressed the full range of his wit, from razor-sharp condemnation to tender affection.
Hearn had a keen eye for the absurd, along with an extraordinary ability to modulate his criticism and praise in a continuum from cauterizing vitriol to palliative balm, from the heaviest sarcasm to the lightest wit. In the pieces collected here, there can be found a unifying thread: Hearn's love/hate relationship with the virtues and vices of New Orleans, a city that continually amused and amazed him.
Born in Greece and raised in Ireland, Lafcadio Hearn immigrated to the United States as a teenager and became a newspaper reporter in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he married a black woman, an act that was illegal at the time, the newspaper fired him and Hearn relocated to New Orleans. In the early 1880s his contributions to national publications (like Harper's Weekly and Scribners Magazine) helped mold the popular image of New Orleans as a colorful place of decadence and hedonism. In 1888, Hearn left New Orleans for Japan, where he took the name Koizumi Yakumo and worked as a teacher, journalist, and writer.
"And it may come to pass that I shall have stranger things to tell you; for this is a land of magical moons and of witches and of warlocks; and were I to tell you all that I have seen and heard in these years in this enchanted City of Dreams you would verily deem me mad rather than morbid." -- Lafcadio Hearn, 1880, describing New Orleans in a letter to a friend

 

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Sommario

Acknowledgments
xi
The Vitriol and Balm of a NineteenthCentury Prophet
xiii
Editorial Note
lii
The Haunted and the Haunters
1
Free Board and Lodging for Thieves
2
The Delivering Angel
3
The Ideal Commissioner
4
Frank J Mumford
5
Murder and Violence
67
Rowdyism Suppressed
68
Not a Dream at All
69
The Witch
70
Des Perches
71
Washerwomen
72
Sons of the Sea
73
A Small Nuisance
74

Mumford of Ours
6
Dog Days
7
The Devil on Carondelet Street
8
Exthract from the Spach ov Paddy Whack
9
The Tropical Palm
10
Away Away
11
The Smile That Johnson Smole
12
Military Salutes
13
Illustrated Letters from the People June 24
15
Boots
16
The Last of Tilden and the Last of Grant
17
The Unspeakable Velocipede
18
The Bicycle Fiends Defense
20
The Organ Grinder
21
I Know YOULL Give Me One
22
The Nurse Maid
23
My Office in My Hat
24
Feminine Intolerance
25
Hancock and English
27
Morning CallsVery Early
28
The Goat
29
Oakland Park Scenery
30
Forty Fights to a Dance
31
CitizenExecutioner Sherman
32
In the Vise
33
Illustrated Letters from the People July 12
34
The Last Shake of the Bloody Shirt
35
How They Do It
36
The Wolfish Dog
37
Street Car Nuisances
38
Dr Tanner July 18
39
Shine?
40
Mischievous Boys
41
Illustrated Letters from the People July 22
42
The Banana Curse
43
Dr Tanner July 24
44
Dr Tanners Present Aspect
45
The Direful Boost
46
Mosquitoes
47
House Hunting Nuisance
48
Attention Rowdies
49
Taxpayers Catechism
50
The Fatal Plunge
51
Illustrated Letters from the People August 4
52
Ins and Outs
53
Under the Electric Light
54
Slams the Door on the Undertakers Nose
55
Seeking a Sensation
56
LakeSide Lickings
58
Sarah Bernhardt
59
Voluntary Contributions
60
Jewells Defence of Garfield
61
Hunting for the Honest Eight
62
Ghosteses
63
Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before
64
The Chinese Vice
65
Catankarous
66
The Milkman
75
Prickly Heat
76
The HandMaiden
77
DandyTraps
78
Contraband
79
Whited Sepulchres
80
Dead Sea Fruit
81
The FlowerSellers
82
The Man with the Small Electric Machine
83
The Police Board
84
The Vendor of Wisdom
86
The Curse of the Newspaper Vendor
87
At the Photographers
88
Cakes and Candy
89
The Puller of Noses
90
Ye Pilot
91
Frantic Appeals for Help
92
Police Efficiency
93
The Master Spirit
94
The Police Mutual Aid Society
95
You Pays Your Money and You Takes Your Choice
97
The Great Eastern
98
That Verdict
99
Poney Up
100
Statement of a Victim
101
That Villainous Broker
102
Improved Police Ideas
103
Nothing like SelfEsteem
104
Scourged to the Ballot
105
The Festive
106
Aïda
107
Not 329 but 350
109
Youthful Smokers
110
Spanish Moss
111
Fire
112
All Saints
113
Dreams of the Ballet
114
French Opera
115
The Shooting Season
116
Une Première Danseuse
117
Recollections of the Theatrical Season
118
Jourdan
119
The Bone of Contention
120
Gossi
121
Something to Be Proud Of
122
British Recollections of New Orleans
123
An Artful Dodger
124
Oft in the Stilly Night Etc
125
Ugh
126
Moral Edification
127
Tantalizing
128
Wont Wait Till the Holidays
129
The Inundations
130
Notes on Columns
131
Bibliography
171
Copyright

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