Washington Irving Books

Washington Irving (Irving, Washington) (1783-1859) American novelist, short story writer, essayist, in fact, the first New World writer to gain recognition in Europe. Born April 3, 1783 in New York. Descended from a wealthy merchant`s family, received a law degree. An energetic, versatile and hardworking man, he tried a number of professions in his youth, he was a journalist, publisher, editor, and a representative of a trading company in London. He lived in Europe for seventeen years and was acquainted with Walter Scott and Dickens. He worked as a diplomat in various American missions in many European countries. Until a ripe old age, he remained a tireless traveler. Only after 1818 he began to professionally study literature. He worked in different genres, wrote historical books about Columbus, Mohammed. Fame came to him after the publication of the parody-satirical “History of New York from the Creation of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty” (Diedrich Knickerbocker`s History of New York), allegedly written on behalf of the learned historian Didrich Knickerbocker, an eccentric, handsome gentleman, unexpectedly disappeared, but left behind a chest with manuscripts. The image of Knickerbocker is Irving`s artistic discovery, and his book itself is a vivid example of literary hoax. Perhaps, “The History of New York” was used by Alexander Pushkin when working on “The History of the Village of Goryukhina”. According to Anna Akhmatova, it was the plot of “The Legend of the Arab Astrologer” by V. Irving that served as the source for A. Pushkin`s creation of “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel”. In the 1820s. together with F. Cooper W. Irving becomes an adherent of romanticism at an early stage. He is at the origin of the American romance novel, as evidenced by the collections The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, Bracebridge Hall, Tales of a Traveler, Alhambra (The Algambra: A Series of Tales and Sketches of the Moors and Spaniards, 1832). It was he who laid the foundations of the prose genre, which in the United States began to be called “short story” – a short story. At the same time, Irving used his own geographical knowledge: the action in his short stories takes place in Germany, Italy, England, Spain. But his “American” short stories are especially popular: “The Legend of the Sleepy Valley”, “Dolph Heiliger” and “Rip Van Winkle”. The name of this hero, an innocent Yankee who slept for twenty years and therefore unable to understand the historical changes that have taken place, has long become a household name. In 1829-1832 Irving served as attaché to the American diplomatic mission in London, then returned to the United States. A tireless traveler, he went down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, crossed the Osage territory, got in touch with the life of the American frontier. He later expressed his impressions in the books A Tour on the Prairies (1835), Astoria (1836) and The Adventures of Captain Bonneville (1837). At Sunnyside Manor on the Hudson, he continued to write books, advise on political issues, make cautious judgments about the most original young writers, such as N. Hawthorne and E.A. Poe – in short, he maintained the reputation of an outstanding American writer who know at the courts of Europe and in the literary circles of England, a friend of W. Gifford, J. G. Byron and W. Scott. At the end of his life he wrote a five-volume Life of Washington (Life of Washington, 1855-1859). Irving died in Tarrytown (New York) on November 28, 1859.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Little Britain