Washington Irving, American Story Teller Essay examples

Washington Irving, American Story Teller Essay examples

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Washington Irving, American Story Teller
I believe it is true that “Washington Irving found in legend and folklore a view of the natural world colored by emotion, by superstition, and by the ancient belief that supernatural beings inhabit the wild places of the earth. He wrote stories that illustrated old truths about human nature and the dramatic possibilities of the American landscape.” Although Irving wrote over twenty volumes, including essays, poems, histories, biographies, and more, in class, we have focused on his fiction. Irving dispersed many beliefs and legends of his time, and the past, into his stories. He also made great use of American themes in these literary pursuits. Such details along with existent people and events interlaced in his fanciful tales are some of the reasons I find his work so distinctive and enjoyable.
Washington Irving was the youngest of eleven children, born into a somewhat wealthy New York City merchant family in 1783. He began writing for newspapers, journals, and magazines in his twenties. Shortly afterward, he worked in publishing and editing. Being a true belletrist, Erving found great enjoyment in writing. His first notable book, (which he heralded the release of with a fanciful precursor,) was A History of New York (1809), published under one of his many clever, pseudonyms “Diedrich Knickerbocker.”
When Irving was thirty-six years old, the simultaneous publications of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819), in New York, Philadelphia, and London, enabled him to become an international figure. The book contained a variety of witty sketches and fictitious accounts, narrated by an illusory, Geoffrey Crayon. This collection included two of the most recognized (and e...


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...es that the Great Henrick Hudson, (a famous historian and eponym of the Hudson River), claimed his own father witnessed these mountain folks and that he himself heard them bowling. This validation allows Van Winkle to propitiate the town folk, permitting him to resume his idle life among them. The story ends, leaving Rip to relay the tale of his misadventure to anyone who will listen, from then forward.
Irving adds a note after the story’s end. Within it, he hints that this story may have been derived from “a little German superstition about the emperor Frederick der Rothbart, and Kypphauser Mountain” ( 505 ). In the postscript, he goes into detail, describing abundant Indian folklore relating to the Catskill Mountains, involving spirits. This addition is yet another example of Irving borrowing from the supernatural and ancient beliefs to enrich his writing.

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