Roger Pulvers: The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn


The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn


This fascinating fictional account of the life and times of Lafcadio Hearn probes the question: "What was the nature of this man, born wanderer, informant of the fiendish details of Japanese lore ... a man who chose to live his life 'in defiance of the season'?"

Though now largely forgotten in the West, he is, in the 21st century, still considered by the Japanese to be the foreigner with the most insight into their mind and mores.

Orphan of Europe, chronicler of the eerie and the grotesque, journalist and ethnographer of subcultures, Greek-Irish author Lafcadio Hearn arrived in Yokohama from the United States in 1890. During his 14-year stay in Japan he wrote 14 books about the country, becoming known, in the decades succeeding his death, as the foremost interpreter of things Japanese in the West.

The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn is a novel not only about Hearn in Meiji Japan but about any person in any era who may feel, for a time or forever, more at home in a foreign land than in their own. The novel is preceded by a detailed introduction on Hearn from the time of his birth in Greece in 1850 until his death in Japan in 1904.

The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn has been published in Japanese translation by Kodansha.


  • " intriguing and absorbing account of Hearn's life in Japan from the perspective of this Japanese chronicler, describing Japan as it was in the 1890s before it underwent massive change. Pulvers pulls it off with aplomb, expertly mimicking Hearn's prose [...] Pulvers's characterisation of Hearn is marvellously done providing a well-rounded impression of this flawed, socially awkward, cantankerous, peculiar, shy, macabre misfit who managed to gain great respect and acceptance in Japan."
    Susan Meehan, The Japan Society of the UK
  • "Hearn's devotion to his adopted land is so complete that it seems to exonerate the pain he endured as an outsider in his own surroundings.... [Pulvers'] painstaking research grips the reader, with his interpretation of Hearn's Japanese dream he produces the closest answer to a Westerner's fascination with Japan."
    Suvendrini Kikuchi, Number 1 Shimbun
  • "Roger Pulvers has spun a highly readable and enjoyable portrayal of an unconventional man who embraced Japan in a time of transition, and who struggled intellectually and emotionally to come to grips with sweeping change."
    Mark Schreiber, Japan Times Online
  • "Roger Pulvers' novel was so intriguing that it left me breathless. It has a reality as if written by Hearn himself."
    —Tamaki Masayuki, Nami (in Japanese)
  • "The novel brings out the clash between Hearn's idealized vision of a society rooted in ancient lore of the grotesque, the macabre and the quaint, and the thrust of industrialization and war that was transforming a rising imperial power. Drawing on his experience of immersion in Japanese literary, theatrical and filmic life for much of the last forty years, Pulvers limns the extraordinary life and times of Lafcadio Hearn."
    —Review and excerpts by JapanFocus


  • 220 pages
  • Trade paperback 5" x 8" (127mm x 203mm)
  • ISBN-13: 978-4-902075-41-0
  • ISBN-10: 4-902075-41-5
  • Kurodahan Press Book No. FG-JP0031-L37
  • List Price: US$14.00
  • Cover: Alice Pulvers

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About the author:

Roger Pulvers, author, playwright, theatre director and translator, has published novels including The Death of Urashima Taro, General Yamashita's Treasure and The Honey and the Fires. He has also published numerous works of nonfiction, including his autobiography, The Unmaking of an American.
Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, he arrived in Japan in the summer of 1967. He taught Russian and Polish in Kyoto for five years, before going to Australia to lecture in Japanese at the Australian National University in Canberra.
Among his many published or produced translations are the works of Miyazawa Kenji, Inoue Hisashi , S. I. Witkiewicz, and Nikolai Gogol.
Roger's plays have been performed extensively in Australia, Japan and the U.S. He has twice directed at the Adelaide Festival of Arts; and in Japan has worked with such actors as Kishida Kyōko, Fujita Makoto and Emoto Akira. He was assistant director to Oshima Nagisa on "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," and won the Crystal Simorgh Prize for Best Script at the 27th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran for "Ashita e no Yuigon." He was also awarded the Miyazawa Kenji Prize in 2008.
He is currently head of the Center for the Study of World Civilizations at Tokyo Institute of Technology.


Kurodahan Press

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