On wooing the Muse of the Odd

Your observation about my knowledge is something
I cannot accept; for in positive acquirements
I am even exceptionally ignorant. By purchasing
queer books and following odd subjects I have been
able to give myself the air of knowing more than I
do ; but none of my work would bear the scrutiny of
a specialist; I would like, however, to show you my
library. It cost me only about $2000; but every
volume is _queer_. Knowing that I have nothing
resembling genius, and that any ordinary talent
must be supplemented with some sort of curious
study in order to place it above the mediocre line,
I am striving to woo the Muse of the Odd, and
hope to succeed in thus attracting some little attention.

 –Lafcadio Hearn to W.D. O’Connor, 1883
The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn, volume 1, pp.290-291


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