Kusa-Hibari; From the Book "Kotto" Lafcadio Hearn.
Kusa-Hibari; From the Book "Kotto"
Kusa-Hibari; From the Book "Kotto"
Kusa-Hibari; From the Book "Kotto"

Kusa-Hibari; From the Book "Kotto"

Montreal: Privately Printed [for Charles Corbett Ronalds by The Ronalds Company Limited], 1924. First Edition. Hardcover. First separate printing, one of 350 copies, octavo size, 17 pp. Near fine / near fine. Item #20082905

Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) had in his family background blood both Greek and Arab, Irish and Gypsy. Born in Greece, raised in Ireland, at the age of 19 he emigrated to the United States, spending time in Cincinnati and New Orleans, whence sprang the Creole Sketches. He eventually travelled for work (newspaper reporting) to the West Indies and thence to Japan.

He married Setsuko Koizumi, from a Samurai family, and had four children, fully immersing himself into the Japanese culture. Largely unknown to westeners at the time, his writings on the customs, religions and literature of Japan were avidly read; although Hearn would come to condemn the Westernization of Japan, he accepted its inevitability, and attempted to describe the county even as it was changing.

Hearn's many translations of Japanese fairy tales are avidly collected; this particular tale originally appeared in "Kotto" (published by Macmillan in 1902). The story (the title "Kusa-Hibari" translates to the "Beautiful Cricket") is a "beautiful and sad story about a cricket" which are indeed sometimes kepts as pets in parts of Japan and China (n.b., quote from the web site blog of Ramana Pingili, dated March 20, 2017).

This the first separate publication of this tale, printed privately for Charles Corbett Ronalds (by the Ronalds Company Limited, a noted Montreal printer which is still in business today) as Christmas presents. It is an incredibly lovely and delicate work, with an ethereal frontis illustration (unsigned; we see the initials "JC" at the lower right corner of the illustration, but no name). Very few copies of this fragile book have survived; as of this writing there are two copies in the online marketplace, neither in this condition and both lacking the tissue wrapper and slipcase.

___DESCRIPTION: Decorated paper over boards, paper label mounted onto the front with red lettering and a small illustration of a cricket on a leaf in black, black ruled border, frontis illustration in grey, title page with red lettering and a red decoration, cover label replicated as a chapter headpiece opening the story; octavo size (8 3/8" by 5 1/8"), pagination: [1-8] 9-15 [1, blank] [1, colophon]. With a thin, plain white laid paper wrapper, housed in a slipcase covered with grey laid paper.

___CONDITION: Volume near fine, with clean boards, straight corners with minute rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; a few stray, light marks, else fine (note that we had a professional (name available upon request) restore the spine, which is now sturdy). The wrapper also near fine with some light edgewear, sunning to the spine, and two small holes at the spine; the slipcase very good, just beginning to split at the top of the spine but overall still sturdy, with overall light edgewear and overall light soiling. A scarce book in this condition, overall a remarkable copy.

___CITATION: Perkins p. 99.

___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.

___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.

Price: $350.00

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