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Book Jungle provides classic literature in a modern format. Thousands of historical titles are now readily available to the public. Because of the original condition of many of these historical manuscripts, imperfections are possible. The value of these manuscripts lies in their historical significance and vivid accounts of the world from thousands of authors and storytell Book Jungle provides classic literature in a modern format. Thousands of historical titles are now readily available to the public. Because of the original condition of many of these historical manuscripts, imperfections are possible. The value of these manuscripts lies in their historical significance and vivid accounts of the world from thousands of authors and storytellers. Book Jungle is proud to bring these rare volumes back into public use and to make them availableto everyone.

30 review for The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon (eBook)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    Prose writers are voluminous and unwieldy; their pages crowded with commonplaces, and their thoughts expanded into tediousness. I am a child of Sleepy Hollow, New York, and I have lived in Irving’s shadow almost as long as I can remember. Every Halloween, this town is inundated with tourists, who come to wander around the lovely old cemetery where the legend is set, and where Irving himself is buried. Behind my house is where they put on the “haunted hayride.” I went every year as a kid. A picku Prose writers are voluminous and unwieldy; their pages crowded with commonplaces, and their thoughts expanded into tediousness. I am a child of Sleepy Hollow, New York, and I have lived in Irving’s shadow almost as long as I can remember. Every Halloween, this town is inundated with tourists, who come to wander around the lovely old cemetery where the legend is set, and where Irving himself is buried. Behind my house is where they put on the “haunted hayride.” I went every year as a kid. A pickup truck drags groups of twenty in a trailer through a stretch of forest, where volunteers dressed in masks jumped out and scare the kids half to death. And of course no hayride was complete without the headless horseman himself, riding out of the shadows on a black horse with a jack-o’-lantern on his knee. The town nextdoor is called ‘Irvington’ in Washington Irving’s honor, and it is there that his old house, Sunnyside, is situated. The house is a delightful little dwelling, a small jumble of architectural styles—gothic, Dutch, Spanish—overlooking the Hudson River. Irving was an amateur architect and landscaper, very much of the Romantic school, and re-made the old farm he bought into a charming park, with a little pond, a babbling brook, and paths that wind through the forest nearby. On the property is a sycamore tree that has been growing since 1776, seven years before Irving himself was born. When Irving bought the property, he had unimpeded access to the river; but that changed when, ten years later, the Hudson Line railroad was built at the river’s edge. Nowadays, trains rattle by every ten minutes or so. All the old train cars have names printed on their sides; and as I sat there on a recent visit, I saw that one of the cars on the passing Amtrak was named “Washington Irving.” He is simply everywhere. There is a statue of Rip Van Winkle outside the Irvington Town Hall Theater. On the walk back to my house I passed by the Washington Irving Middle School, which I attended, the Tarrytown High School, where our football team is the Horsemen, and the Christ Episcopal Church, where Irving himself worshiped, and where his pew is still preserved.* Outside Philipsburg Manor—an old colonial farm that now serves as a historical site—is an ugly metal sculpture of the Headless Horseman. Right next to it is where the old bridge stood where Ichabod Crane met his fate. There is not much to see now, just a modern concrete construction. But if you keep walking into the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery you can see the Old Dutch Church, and, a little farther on, you will come across the man’s tombstone. Like his house, his grave is neither ostentatious nor grandiose, just a simple stone that lays in a family plot. The man’s influence is inescapable. It was Washington Irving who originated the nickname ‘Knickerbockers’ (after an imaginary Dutch historian he used as a nom de plume) for the denizens of New York. The New York Knicks owe their name to Irving, and the word ‘knickers’ also derives, through devious channels, to this writer. It was Irving who popularized the myth that Christopher Columbus disproved that the earth was flat, which Irving included in a biography of Columbus he wrote while living in Spain. It was Irving, too, who originated the nickname ‘Gotham’ for New York City. We even owe our holiday celebrations to Irving, since it was he, along with Charles Dickens, who helped to make Christmas into the secular holiday of gift-giving and merry-making that it is today. Irving played a hand in the creation of Santa Claus, too, with a story about St. Nicholas in his first book. With his love of ghost stories, Irving is also one of the architects of Halloween—and thousands still make the pilgrimage to visit his tombstone in that ghoulish time of the year. I cannot even escape his influence in Spain, since it was Irving who helped to spread the exotic, enchanted image of Andalusia, and who thus helped make Spain a tourist destination; and it was partly thanks to his book of stories about the Alhambra that people began taking an interest in restoring that old ruin. Washington Irving was named after George Washington, and was born just a few weeks before the Revolutionary War was officially concluded. He was a new man for a new land. An often-told story—difficult to verify—has it that he was taken by his maid to visit George Washington when he was just six years old; there’s a watercolor drawing, still hanging in Irving’s hold house, of the old general patting the young boy on the head. Whether it happened or not, the story seems symbolic of the role that Irving would play in American literature—exactly analogous to George Washington in politics—as a pioneering leader. For it was Washington Irving who was the first American writer to be respected by his English peers. He showed that these unruly savages overseas could aspire to eloquence too. This book is often marketed as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories; but its original title is The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., and was published under that pseudonym rather than Irving’s own name. The book, often merely called The Sketchbook, is a sort of parody of the sketchbooks that other wealthy American travelers made on their visits to Europe. It is framed as a travel book, and contains many vignettes about places Irving visited. But Irving does not stick to this theme very diligently. The book also contains some short pieces about Native Americans; and the two most famous stories, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," are both set in New York, and purport to be found among the old papers of Diedrich Knickerbocker. Although the collection is miscellaneous, Irving was not a writer of great breadth, and his distinctive style is consistent throughout. Thematically, Irving was a purebred Romantic. He has a taste for quaint customs, forgotten ruins, exotic places, and old yarns—in short, everything antique, out-of-the-way, and foreign, everything that allows his imagination to run wild with conjecture. These preoccupations lead him to investigate old English Christmas customs in the country, and to rail against their disappearance. It also leads him to treat the Native Americans as noble savages, the pure emblems of a disappearing culture, as well as to focus his eye on the old Dutch lore lingering about his native New York. In truth there is not much substance to his writing. The closest he ever gets to philosophy is the Romantic, Ozymandian sentiment that all things yield to time. Rather, Irving is a stylist. His prose is fluent and easygoing—indeed, remarkably easy to read considering its age—so effortless that the prose practically reads itself. The subject-matter is usually a description of some kind—of what someone is wearing, of a farm or a tavern, of a funeral or a wedding—and he steers clear of all argument and dialogue, maintaining the fluid rhythm of his pen as it flies forward. When he is not describing a gothic ruin, an old curiosity, or a picturesque landscape, he is involved in some ghost story or traveler’s anecdote. Some of these, indeed many, involve love affairs between gallant soldiers and young women who possess “that mysterious but impassive charm of virgin purity in whose hallowed sphere no guilty thought can live”—it’s quite revolting. But if Irving nowadays strikes one as lightweight and Romantic to the point of silliness, one should remember that he was a pioneer and an innovator—the first American man of letters, and one of the champions of Romanticism when that movement had hardly reached this country. And if he seems more style than substance, one should also remember that Irving wrote to amuse, not to instruct; and it is by that goal that he should be measured. Even now, Irving is a champion amuser; and even if he has some unfashionable tastes, he it still fresh and good-natured after all these years: If, however, I can by any lucky chance, in these days of evil, rub out one wrinkle from the brow of care or beguile the heavy heart of one moment of sorrow; if I can now and then penetrate through the gathering film of misanthropy, prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make my reader more in good-humor with his fellow-beings and himself—surely, surely, I shall not then have written entirely in vain. Surely, surely, he has not. ________________________________ *I recently went to visit this church. As luck would have it, I was about to knock on the door just as the rector, Susan, was on her way out of the building. When I asked about Irving's pew, she very kindly gave me a quick tour. The old pew sits in a corner now, set aside to preserve it. The church also has Irving's bible and prayer book—tattered old things in a glass case—as well as a copy of the 1859 issue of Harper's Magazine that carried a front-page story about Irving's funeral. "So many people came in, they were worried the floorboards would break," Susan said.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Macabre Tales is a collection of short stories by Washington Irving. I liked some stories better than others, but overall I’m giving the book 4 stars. The review that follows is only for the short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" – 4* "[T]here is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Macabre Tales is a collection of short stories by Washington Irving. I liked some stories better than others, but overall I’m giving the book 4 stars. The review that follows is only for the short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" – 4* "[T]here is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail, or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility." This is the setting for “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which involves a money hungry school teacher and a headless horseman. Although not a scary read by any means, I enjoyed it. I like Washington's writing style and the way he ended this story. Easy to understand why this is a classic.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    When I was about 14 years old I went to the first slumber party of my life at a school friends'. It was Halloween and the large living room was greatly decorated (which was gloriously exotic to me since Halloween, back then, was hardly known in Germany). I only remember one movie from that night; it was Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp. I remember lying on the carpet in front of the couch (no idea why we didn't sit or lie on the couch but whatever), covered by blankets and with lots of pillows aro When I was about 14 years old I went to the first slumber party of my life at a school friends'. It was Halloween and the large living room was greatly decorated (which was gloriously exotic to me since Halloween, back then, was hardly known in Germany). I only remember one movie from that night; it was Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp. I remember lying on the carpet in front of the couch (no idea why we didn't sit or lie on the couch but whatever), covered by blankets and with lots of pillows around us. I remember using those pillows frequently so as not to see all of the movie because I thought it creepy as fuck. *lol* Ah, good times. :D Recently, I've seen the movie again and it was so NOT scary in any way and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why past me was so scared. However, while it wasn't all that good and not scary at all, the movie had a pretty good atmosphere when portraying Sleepy Hollow, the woods around it and the fog ... Therefore, it was only a matter of time before I finally read the book too. I had wanted to read Washington Irving for a while since he is one of THE classic American writers. The story is a classic ghost story taking place in America in 1790. Actually, what many might not know, the story is based on a German fairy tale (Rübezahl). :D As with many classic horror stories, it's not "shocking horror" like we know it from modern movies. Instead, it relies on conveying some sense of being remote and shut off from the world, invoking the fog to wrap the reader up and transport one into the story, calling up a sense of dread (while in this particular case, there is also a fine humour threading through the pages). What stood out here was that when I compared this almost 200 years old story to other horror classics of the era, this one not only stood its ground but was actually better than some. I really like Irving's writing style. The story is not as elaborate as others, maybe, nor is the writing style as poetic - but in its simplicity it is easily accessible and very entertaining. I listened to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but my printed book has other tales by the author in it as well (just like in the original publication in 1820). One of those stories, for example, was about a man sleeping for twenty years to wake up in a world forever changed. The stories' themes, therefore, are often of cultural change and of the people who are lost in that change. All of the stories included in this book have the same easily accessible writing style, great descriptions of where they are taking place and a slight layer of humour to keep the mood seemingly light while actually telling a creepy tale. Below, I have included a picture of the inside of my book's cover by the way (just so you can see how lovely the Word Cloud Classics editions are):

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Halloween classic. Irving was a bit of a windy fellow, but I enjoyed the stories nonetheless.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cori Reed

    I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories! I didn't love The Devil and Tom Walker, but all the others were spooky fun that I really enjoyed reading the source material of!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Penelope (Penelope’s Picks)

    *3.5* For once I actually prefer the movie over the book. Don't get me wrong, the language is very lush and evocative, but the constant narration and lack of dialogue was a little hard to get behind. Also, Book Ichabod is such a douchelord. I much prefer Johnny Depp Ichabod. I'll include more thoughts in my Ominous October wrap up video.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Porter

    The stories (Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, etc.) are all good. Everyone should read Irving's stories. The travel essays, on the other hand, were nothing but snooze-worthy. They were so bad and so numerous that they overbalanced the stories for me and threw my overall rating of the book to only two stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The reason I read this book was for the title, THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. For that story, I give a full five stars--the prose, imagery, and even the ending which gives you pause--causing you to second guess what might otherwise seem to be the "obvious" conclusion. As for the other tales, many I remembered reading years before, but there were some that were completely new to me. However good those may have been, individually, nothing stands out quite as much as SLEEPY HOLLOW. Recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    I was a victim of marketing with this book: If it had been The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (the original title) on the cover I almost certainly would have passed it by. However, I could not miss out on the book holding Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, two stories whose fame outstrips that of their author by a few miles (at least in Britain). THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY See the complete review here: http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/ I was a victim of marketing with this book: If it had been The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (the original title) on the cover I almost certainly would have passed it by. However, I could not miss out on the book holding Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, two stories whose fame outstrips that of their author by a few miles (at least in Britain). THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY See the complete review here: http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/33...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Washington Irving was one of the writers who provided a literary voice to America after the American Revolution. Imagine being in his position as a writer - American publishers (before copyright laws) reprinted English literary works with no royalty payments to the authors, and sold them to the American public very cheaply. An American writer like Irving not only had to combat this, but he also had to make himself a name in the English critical circles in order to get American readers to read an Washington Irving was one of the writers who provided a literary voice to America after the American Revolution. Imagine being in his position as a writer - American publishers (before copyright laws) reprinted English literary works with no royalty payments to the authors, and sold them to the American public very cheaply. An American writer like Irving not only had to combat this, but he also had to make himself a name in the English critical circles in order to get American readers to read and to take his (and other’s) work seriously. During Irving’s time, American readers were predisposed towards English works, mainly because they were used to it, and they marginalized American writers as generally unworthy/lower quality. Irving transcended these obstacles by producing lasting stories - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Rip Van Winkle being the most famous. These stories are Americana and will forevermore be entrenched in our culture and society. I was personally surprised by how many more stories there were in this collection of Irving’s works that I enjoyed. The Spectre Bridegroom, Dolph Heyliger, The Storm-Ship, and his stories in Tales of a Traveller - Adventure of the Mysterious Picture, Adventure of the Mysterious Stranger, The Story of the Young Italian, and the Devil and Tom Walker are all great stories and are very well-written. Quite a few of Irving’s letters in The Sketch Book argued for a fair shot for American writers in England by English critics, and his arguments (backed up by the quality of his writing) helped to blaze a trail for American writers. I recommend Washington Irving and particularly this collection of his stories in order to experience a formative American author.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    Ugh to the ugh, this was wretched. I know that I'm not a fan of classics for the most part (I don't enjoy the writing style) but I thought this would be a perfect Spookathon and Halloween time read. I was so epically wrong. I read Sleepy Hollow (which I was most excited for) and 23 fo the 27 pages was pure drool fest boring backstory and 4 pages---4 stinking pages were the actual covered bridge/headless horseman/spook and even those were so far from spooky. I wanted it to be so much more than wh Ugh to the ugh, this was wretched. I know that I'm not a fan of classics for the most part (I don't enjoy the writing style) but I thought this would be a perfect Spookathon and Halloween time read. I was so epically wrong. I read Sleepy Hollow (which I was most excited for) and 23 fo the 27 pages was pure drool fest boring backstory and 4 pages---4 stinking pages were the actual covered bridge/headless horseman/spook and even those were so far from spooky. I wanted it to be so much more than what it was. I could have gotten over the writing style if it had been gripping or atmospheric and it wasn't. Definitely not a fan. REVIEW and DATE changed because I forgot I had this version (the one I own) in my To-Read list and had originally marked a different version as read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lollita

    Sleepy hollow was only 29 pages but I liked it, a little different than I was expecting. The other 32 stories were okay, a few i didn't really care for much, some I rather liked. The author goes off on alot of tangents in a few stories which seemed weird as none are longer than about 30 pages, but they are all beautifully written.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    He is called "America's first man of letters," one of the first American writers to separate literary fiction from public discourse; playing mentor to the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allen Poe. There are a lot of reasons I admire Irving's writings. One reason is I respect the tenacious writer, Irving, who only wanted to be left alone to write. He wasn't afraid to tell his family this after their firm collapsed, or to tell it to the editors who offered him jobs instea He is called "America's first man of letters," one of the first American writers to separate literary fiction from public discourse; playing mentor to the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allen Poe. There are a lot of reasons I admire Irving's writings. One reason is I respect the tenacious writer, Irving, who only wanted to be left alone to write. He wasn't afraid to tell his family this after their firm collapsed, or to tell it to the editors who offered him jobs instead of publishing deals: I am unfitted for any periodically recurring task, or any stipulated labor of body or mind. I have no command of my talents, such as they are, and have to watch the varyings of my mind as I would those of a weather cock. Practice and training may bring me more into rule; but at present I am useless for regular service... I must, therefore, keep on pretty much as I have begun; writing when I can, not when I would...and write whatever is suggested by objects before me... Slow-clap for that kind of wherewithal. The best part of this collection is the selection. Peter Norberg chose works from three of Irving's collections: The Sketch-Book, Brackenridge Hall, and Tales of a Traveller. And selections from other writings: Letters of Jonathan OldStyle, Salmagundi, and A HIstory of New York . I remembered reading, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" a while back. Reading it again, I imagined I would be enthralled, since it is a legend and all. But I didn't like it that much as I liked, say, "The Story of the Young Italian." I also remembered reading "The Mutability of Literature" in high school and it still is peculiar to me. The selections from The Sketch-Book and Tales of a Traveller however, were my favorites--character sketches in confessional and story-telling form, with a hint of Gothic. Irving was very observant when he wrote, so much so that some of his fiction even sounds like personal essays. His ardent descriptions of characters placed me deep into the story , setting, and the characters' innermost thoughts. And while reading his exhaustive landscape observations, I felt as though I were on a journey through Europe and America--no wonder why his work was considered travel literature.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeni

    Average Rating for entire book: 3.33 stars. Some stories were better than others. Read on for an individual review of each story. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: I'm going to rate this story a 3.5, not quite a 4, but a little more than a 3. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers'; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, like a sceptre, and as his horse jogged on, the motion of his arms was not Average Rating for entire book: 3.33 stars. Some stories were better than others. Read on for an individual review of each story. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: I'm going to rate this story a 3.5, not quite a 4, but a little more than a 3. He rode with short stirrups, which brought his knees nearly up to the pommel of the saddle; his sharp elbows stuck out like grasshoppers'; he carried his whip perpendicularly in his hand, like a sceptre, and as his horse jogged on, the motion of his arms was not unlike the flapping of a pair of wings. Yes, this is my favorite quote from the book. I haven't read much classic literature, and the change in writing style was definitely something to get used to. But after a few pages that didn't seem to be a problem anymore. I'm not sure how I would have fared had this story been longer, but as it was, it was a delight to read. I love the dialogue, and the descriptions of Ichabod and his horse were hilarious. I like the movie better than the book in this case, but that is simply because the movie has more to it. I love them both as separate things. The book is a fun, quick read, a little disappointing because it wasn't nearly as spooky as I was hoping. I had to really focus on the words, and try to put myself in Ichabod's shoes to feel even a little wary. That Ichabod was certainly a nervous critter. So to sum up: What I liked: the writing style, creative descriptions (even if they did get a little long-winded), What I didn't like: too short, not spooky enough Rip Van Winkle: This story gets a 3.5 star rating from me. It wasn't captivating enough or fleshed out enough for a 5 star rating, but I definitely liked this story. I'd often heard of Rip Van Winkle, and knew he slept for a long, long time. But that was the extent of my knowledge about this story. I didn't know he was terribly lazy when it came to doing his work while he had no problem doing work for other people. I didn't know he had a wife that was constantly nagging him. Oh, and that poor dog! He's practically as henpecked as old Rip himself! This is a fun quick read, and I love the way it's written. Reading a different writing style is so much fun. I like that it takes a little more effort to read and follow along, due to the way the English language has evolved since this was written. The Spectre Bridegroom 4 out of 5 stars for this one. I think I'd like to read this as a novel. The plot is a bit cheesy perhaps, but I found it enjoyable. And if the story was novel length, there'd definitely be room for more development of both plot and characters, as well as some plot twists. This story played out in my head like a Tim Burton stop motion film. It felt very "The Corpse Bride". The setting, the characters, the crazy family. (Hmm, now I want Tim Burton to create this movie. Anybody know how to get in touch with him?) By the time she was eighteen she could embroider to admiration, and had worked whole histories of the saints in tapestry with such strength of expression in their countenances that they looked like so many souls in purgatory. She could read without great difficulty, and had spelled her way through several Church legends and almost all the chivalric wonders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made considerable proficiency in writing; could sign her own name without missing a letter, and so legibly that her aunts could read it without spectacles. She excelled in making little elegant good-for-nothing, lady-like knickknacks of all kinds, was versed in the most abstruse dancing of the day, played a number of airs on the harp and guitar, and knew all the tender ballads of the Minnelieders by heart. I can't make up my mind whether Irving is being sarcastic and satirical, or sincere, given the time that this was written. Either way, this part was funny, if only in the way he wrote it, regardless of the fact that that would never fly today. The Devil and Tom Walker 2 out of 5 stars for this...cautionary? tale for....money lenders? So, I wasn't sure what to make of this one. Here's what I got out of it: Greed invites misery, don't take shortcuts (the literal, through the woods kind), don't make deals with the devil, greed and selfishness give way to paranoia. Take this quote for example: Some say that Tom grew a little crack-brained in his old days, and that, fancying his end approaching, he had his horse new shod, saddled, and bridled, and buried with his feet uppermost; because he supposed that at the last day the world would be turned upside-down; in which case he should find his horse standing ready for mounting, and he was determined at the worst to give his old friend a run for it. Now if that isn't a man eaten away by greed and fear, I don't know what is. His wife was no better. She nagged him, yelled at him, was just a miserly as he was, never trusting him an inch. Their fights were known to send a bachelor hurrying "on his way, rejoicing...in his celibacy." However Tom might have felt disposed to sell himself to the devil, he was determined not to do so to oblige his wife; so he flatly refused, out of the mere spirit of contradiction. Many and bitter were the quarrels they had on the subject; but the more she talked, the more resolute was Tom not to be damned to please her Such was their relationship. Neither giving an inch to the other, for no other reason than spite. Both were genuinely terrible people. I felt like I was reading a story that no other purpose than to scare me into being good. This was definitely not a story that captured my attention, imagination, or fancy. The Pride of the Village Oh dear. I'm afraid in my eyes this story is only a 1.5/5 I'd like to do better, but I just can't. There's nothing I hate about this story precisely, but nothing I love either. It felt like a combination of the high school drama movies so popular in the 2000s, and a Jane Austen novel. Sweet perfect innocent girl is wooed by someone with less than stellar intentions. She, in her pure innocence, falls deeply in love with him, while he is only looking for a "village conquest" so he can swap stories with his soldier friends. But, then he ends up really falling in love with her. (This is the high school drama part of the story.) What was he to do? There were the old obstacles which so incessantly occur in these heedless attachments. His rank in life, the prejudices of titled connections, his dependence upon a proud and unyielding father, all forbade him to think of matrimony He asks her to run away with him, as a companion, not a wife. She recoils in horror upon understanding his proposal. Her innocence shattered and her heart broken, she withdraws from the world. He leaves and forgets, almost, all about her. But then he returns to her, finding that he can't live without her after all. (And this is the Jane Austen part of the story.) While beautifully written, with a charming little village that reminds me of a village I once visited in Switzerland, this story was not for me. Old Christmas 5 out of 5 stars for this nostalgic tale! This story is so beautiful! The gaiety and cheerfulness Irving brings to the pages, the feeling of nostalgia for the old days, It made me ache. Ache for Christmas to once again be more than a marketing ploy, more than the commercialized holiday it is these days. Our narrator is invited to celebrate Christmas with an old friend and his family. The head of the family, Squire Bracebridge, turns out to celebrate Christmas in the old fashion. While he himself prefers things as they used to be, he still makes sure that the younger generation enjoys themselves by including traditions and foods more to their style. I can't help but wonder if our narrator was feeling nostalgic for simpler times in the 1700s, how vastly have things changed nearly 300 years later? Does anybody still remember these ancient traditions? Being 21 and feeling just as the narrator does, makes me feel ancient. I, too, long for simpler days, for the more simple celebration of Christmas. Shorn, however, as it is, of its ancient and festive honours, Christmas is still a period of delightful excitement I also laughed aloud several times; Irving's sarcastic and humorous writing style making things funnier than they are. For instance, the situation where the parson is telling a story, but he gets less and less enthusiastic as he sees people stop listening, until, at the end, he "concluded his remarks, in an under voice, to a fat-headed gentleman next him, who was silently engaged in the discussion of a huge plateful of turkey." I think this story will be a book I will make a point to read every year when the Christmas season rolls around. Definitely!

  15. 4 out of 5

    N.T. Embe

    It's been a long time since I had the pleasure of sitting down and reading pieces of literature written in a time before these last couple of decades, and this one did not disappoint. Mind you, while I'm reading this for my American Literature of the 19th Century class (English Major~ Who'd have guessed it~), it's a really delicious experience to be able to put down the more rampant outlandish stories that so often capture the minds of the youths today and read something that was trying to estab It's been a long time since I had the pleasure of sitting down and reading pieces of literature written in a time before these last couple of decades, and this one did not disappoint. Mind you, while I'm reading this for my American Literature of the 19th Century class (English Major~ Who'd have guessed it~), it's a really delicious experience to be able to put down the more rampant outlandish stories that so often capture the minds of the youths today and read something that was trying to establish--for the very first time in our history as a country--a train of literature that could be truly called "American." For that single reason, it's a little taste of wonder to go back to these several short stories that became such well known legends in our culture (some that I admit I never knew of as well~) and see what people wrote on the brink of our beginnings as a nation. Yet even to put aside the relationship of this small book's worth in the development of a nation and its establishment of a strain of literature all its own, this is a really fun and enjoyable piece of fiction to read. It's refreshing to put aside all the fantasies that we're used to hearing about, and the pathetic attempts at portraying romance in some "cool" and "sexy" (more like "redundant and grotesquely pathetic") way, and just enjoy plain works that have elements of all of the above and more. Adventure, mysticism, the passing of ages, the call and devotion of love, the fits of passion and miscarriage of rage~ There are so many HUMAN and wonderfully engaging themes to this little collection of stories written by Washington Irving! You don't have to like all of them, but each of them has its own little world and fanciful, charming tale that it weaves for you, easily and quickly fretting you along its bends and easygoing ways. Irving's work is not difficult to read, for all that his language does give away its age at times. His works are for the most part simple and to the point, with the exception that he--like many of the characters he writes--tend to get carried away on whims of fancy and completely engulf themselves in their own passions. *Laughs* But it's an enjoyable thing in every story! Even when I found myself rolling my eyes or shaking my head, I still read the story, because each one of them contained a smidgeon of something that captured my interest and kept me going just a little bit further. His plots are all quite simple to follow. There's nothing bewildering or confusing, even though most of them have a few mysterious elements thrown in there for a while. But most of those are unraveled before long, and the one time he took me on a journey from one story to another to another, only to shock me with a surprise ending in finding the stories were all related, I was awed with wonder at how he expertly swung all these seemingly unrelated tales fully around and linked them together to form a delightful loop! He is, if nothing else, a masterful executor of language, and his storytelling, whether the subjects seem to be up your alley or not, is almost continuously enjoyable! In just under two hundred pages, we get thirteen different stories, and I must say that while some dragged a little, there were quite a few that really caught the imagination or spoke to the emotions and the engaged mind! Irving has a spectacular manner of making things that can be so dated still remain absolutely charming outside their time period, and it is only emphasized by my playful attitude while reading his works. While more than a few of them carry a message, and some beautifully philosophize, we still have that amiable storyteller sitting there before us, telling us his tales of all kinds, yet never losing that same enjoyable quality that made this such a pleasant read. And just for the record, my favorite stories would have to be "Rip Van Winkle," "The Mutability of Literature," "The Wife," and then the string of stories that all lead into one another: "Adventure of the Mysterious Stranger," "The Adventure of My Uncle," "The Adventure of My Aunt," and lastly "The Story of the Young Italian." *Laughs* Seven out of thirteen! Guess I really did enjoy this read for the greater part! And these are only the ones that I loved! The others were still really enjoyable too! It's a fun read, guys. If you're looking for something a little out of the century and common themes, and you're into legends and old folklore (or things from the 19th Century~), then definitely pick this little book up. It's a read that teaches you while you enjoy it, and your vocabulary and mind will thank you for it~! You can so easily have fun with these simple tales, and engage with what's going on. Was it super-spectacular and amazing to me? Not just quite~ But was it a great read regardless? Yeah, it definitely was. :3 Come on! Check it out! A hundred and seventy pages can't hurt you! People read absolute DIRT that's twice as long as that and only zaps brain space instead of increasing it. *Chuckles* Take up this book definitely. It's a skip and a trip~! I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did! ^__^ At the very least, I sure do hope so~!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sotiris Karaiskos

    One of the most famous collections of texts of early American literature, and I say a collection of texts rather than of short stories because ... that's what it is. Inside this collection are articles on literature, travel impressions, emotional local stories, historical references and a few Gothic stories about which it is best known. Each of these texts offers something to the reader despite the fact that some of them can be described as completely indifferent. However, some of these texts ar One of the most famous collections of texts of early American literature, and I say a collection of texts rather than of short stories because ... that's what it is. Inside this collection are articles on literature, travel impressions, emotional local stories, historical references and a few Gothic stories about which it is best known. Each of these texts offers something to the reader despite the fact that some of them can be described as completely indifferent. However, some of these texts are particularly beautiful and written in such a touching way that is the main reason that my overall impression is very positive, so the best I can do is refer to them in detail. The ones I have distinguished is: The Wife. A beautiful and very simple little story about marital loyalty when things go wrong, showing that love is all we need. Rip Van Winkle. A strange story that uses the metaphysical element to satirise the very big changes brought by the American Revolution into a region in a New York area with a Dutch past. Smart and especially funny. Rural Life in England. A beautiful and very romantic description of life in rural areas of England. A Royal Poet. One of the historical texts of this collection. Talks about King James I of Scotland, his sad story, his literary pursuits that gave him a distraction and his great love. A very beautiful and tender text. The Widow and Her Son. A beautiful sad story about a woman who treats her dying son. The Spectre Bridegroom. A Gothic romantic love story, full of tender feelings and ... ghosts. A sweet fairytale. The Stage-Coach, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas Dinner. Four texts for Christmas describe the customs that prevailed in England on this special day, particularly useful and enlightening. Philip of Pokanoket. One of my favorite texts in this collection, a heroic depiction of an Indian leader, which is at the same time a denunciation of the behaviour of the compatriots of the author towards his people. Very bold and unusual text for that time. John Bull. John Bull is a fantastic character who is the personification of the English people, the writer makes an analysis of his person and so makes a satirical reference for the English. The Pride of the Village. My favourite text of the entire collection. The author starts off from the funeral of a beautiful young lady to tell the sad story of her unfortunate love that has become the reason to fade away quietly from life. A very romantic story, full of tender melancholy. I can not describe how much it moved me. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The story for which this collection is best known. An atmospheric Gothic story based on local myths of dutch New York. I admit that I was somewhat disappointed reading it, I was expecting something more exciting, influenced by her best known cinematographic transfer, which I understand is totally irrelevant, but I think that even as funny story about superstition has its value. Μία από τις πιο γνωστές συλλογές κειμένων της πρώιμης αμερικανικής λογοτεχνίας, και λέω συλλογή κειμένων και όχι διηγημάτων γιατί... αυτό ακριβώς είναι. Μέσα σε αυτή τη συλλογή βρίσκονται άρθρα για την λογοτεχνία, ταξιδιωτικές εντυπώσεις, συναισθηματικές τοπικές ιστορίες, ιστορικές αναφορές και λίγες γοτθικές ιστορίες για τις οποίες είναι περισσότερο γνωστή. Κάθε ένα από αυτά τα κείμενα προσφέρει κάτι στον αναγνώστη παρά το γεγονός ότι μερικά από αυτά μπορούν να χαρακτηριστούν εντελώς αδιάφορα. Είναι, όμως, μερικά από αυτά τα κείμενα ιδιαίτερα όμορφα και γραμμένα με τόσο συγκινητικό τρόπο που είναι ο κύριος λόγος που η γενικότερη εντύπωση μου είναι πολύ θετική, οπότε το καλύτερο που μπορώ να κάνω είναι να αναφερθώ σε αυτά αναλυτικά. Αυτά που ξεχώρισα είναι: The Wife. Μία όμορφη και πολύ απλή μικρή ιστορία για τη συζυγική αφοσίωση όταν τα πράγματα δεν πάνε καλά που δείχνει ότι η αγάπη είναι το μόνο που χρειαζόμαστε. Rip Van Winkle. Μία περίεργη ιστορία που χρησιμοποιεί το μεταφυσικό στοιχείο για να σατιρίσει τις πολύ μεγάλες αλλαγές που έφερε η αμερικανική επανάσταση σε μία περιοχή σε μία περιοχή της Νέας Υόρκης με ολλανδικό παρελθόν. Έξυπνη και ιδιαίτερα αστεία. Rural Life in England. Μία όμορφη και πολύ ρομαντική περιγραφή της ζωής στις αγροτικές περιοχές της Αγγλίας. "A Royal Poet". Ένα από τα ιστορικά κείμενα αυτής της συλλογής. Μιλάει για τον βασιλιά James της Σκωτίας, τη λυπητερή ιστορία του, τις λογοτεχνικές του επιδιώξεις που του προσέφεραν μία διέξοδο και τον μεγάλο έρωτά του. Ένα πολύ όμορφο και τρυφερό κείμενο. The Widow and Her Son. Μία όμορφη λυπητερή ιστορία για μία γυναίκα περιθάλπτει τον ετοιμοθάνατο γιο της. The Spectre Bridegroom. Μία γοτθική ρομαντική ιστορία αγάπης, γεμάτη τρυφερά συναισθήματα και... φαντάσματα. Ένα γλυκό παραμύθι. The Stage-Coach, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day και Christmas Dinner. Τέσσερα κείμενα για τα Χριστούγεννα το περιγράφουν τα έθιμα που επικρατούσαν στην Αγγλία για αυτήν την ξεχωριστή μέρα, ιδιαίτερα χρήσιμα και διαφωτιστικά. Philip of Pokanoket. Ένα από τα αγαπημένα μου κείμενα αυτής της συλλογής, μία ηρωική απεικόνιση ενός ινδιάνου αρχηγού που γίνεται ταυτόχρονα μία καταγγελία για τη συμπεριφορά των συμπατριωτών του συγγραφέα απέναντι στο λαό του. Πολύ τολμηρό και ασυνήθιστο κείμενο για εκείνη την εποχή. John Bull. Ο John Bull είναι ένας φανταστικός χαρακτήρας που είναι η προσωποποίηση του αγγλικού λαού, ο συγγραφέας κάνει μία ανάλυση για το πρόσωπό του και έτσι κάνει μία σατυρική αναφορά για τους Άγγλους. The Pride of the Village. Το αγαπημένο μου κείμενο όλης της συλλογής. Ο συγγραφέας ξεκινάει από την κηδεία μιας πανέμορφης νεαρής κοπέλας για να αφηγηθεί τη λυπητερή ιστορία του άτυχου έρωτα της που έγινε η αιτία να μαραζώσει και ήσυχα να φύγει από τη ζωή. Μία πολύ ρομαντική ιστορία, γεμάτη τρυφερή μελαγχολία. Δεν μπορώ να περιγράψω πόσο πολύ με συγκίνησε. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Η ιστορία για την οποία είναι περισσότερο γνωστή αυτή η συλλογή. Μία ατμοσφαιρική γοτθική ιστορία βασισμένη σε τοπικούς μύθους της ολλανδικής Νέας Υόρκης. Ομολογώ ότι κάπως απογοητεύτηκα διαβάζοντας την, περίμενα κάτι περισσότερο συναρπαστικό, επηρεασμένος από την πιο γνωστή κινηματογραφική της μεταφορά που από ότι κατάλαβα είναι εντελώς άσχετη αλλά νομίζω τελικά ότι και ως μία αστεία ιστορία για τις δεισιδαιμονίες έχει την αξία της.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I read Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, and while it was fun to actually read these stories that I'm so familiar with by cultural osmosis, the stories themselves were a little underwhelming. Sleepy Hollow's Ichabod Crane is a pretty good character, and he's described wonderfully, all elbows and flapping. I like the ambiguity of the story as well: (view spoiler)[you're left to decide for yourself whether there's a Headless Horseman, or whether it was all just Brom Bones playing a prank. (hide sp I read Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, and while it was fun to actually read these stories that I'm so familiar with by cultural osmosis, the stories themselves were a little underwhelming. Sleepy Hollow's Ichabod Crane is a pretty good character, and he's described wonderfully, all elbows and flapping. I like the ambiguity of the story as well: (view spoiler)[you're left to decide for yourself whether there's a Headless Horseman, or whether it was all just Brom Bones playing a prank. (hide spoiler)] Irving is getting into the nature of superstition, which was a big topic for our idiot ancestors, and it's done effectively. It's pretty racist though. Rip Van Winkle is kindof a little slip of a story; dude falls asleep, wakes up, it's been a while, and that's sortof the end of it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow starts off with the narrator describing the town of Sleepy Hollow. The mood is set perfectly, the small town is said to be haunted and the townspeople believe there is such a thing as the Headless Horseman. Enter Ichabod Crane, who is a schoolteacher and arrives at Sleepy Hollow from Connecticut to teach the townchildren. Ichabod is described as being tall and lanky, with his clothes too large for his thin frame. He also enjoyed reading, singing and flirting with the t The Legend of Sleepy Hollow starts off with the narrator describing the town of Sleepy Hollow. The mood is set perfectly, the small town is said to be haunted and the townspeople believe there is such a thing as the Headless Horseman. Enter Ichabod Crane, who is a schoolteacher and arrives at Sleepy Hollow from Connecticut to teach the townchildren. Ichabod is described as being tall and lanky, with his clothes too large for his thin frame. He also enjoyed reading, singing and flirting with the townswomen. He spent winter evenings with the old Dutch wives and loved to hear them tell ghost stories. When he meets Katrina Van Tassel, he likes her right away. However, Katrina is being courted by Brom Van Brunt, a young man well known for being mischevious. When there is a party at the Van Tassel home and the whole town is invited, Ichabod is more than happy to go. Ichabod hopes that one day he will marry Katrina and he will inherit the Van Tassel property. As the night goes on with dancing and drinking, the townspeople begin to tell thier ghost stories. And invetiably, they begin to tell stories about The Headless Horseman. Once the night is over and everyone starts to go home, Ichabod stays behind to speak to Katrina. When he is done, he leaves, walking home alone late at night. He begins to pass a few of the places where the ghost stories he heard of took place. Out of the dark appears the Horseman, and comes after Ichabod. The next day all that the townspeople find is Ichabod's horse, hat and a smashed pumpkin. Everyone just accepts that the Horseman killed Ichabod. A few years later, an old farmer visits New York and comes back to town saying that he saw Ichabod Crane there. He claims that Ichabod ran off that dark night because he was spooked in the woods and because Katrina had turned him down. Brom also seemed a bit suspicious whenever people mentioned Icabod's dissapearance. He would laugh at the story and seemed to know more than he was telling anyone. I hadn't read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow since I was in grade school, and on re-reading it, I found that I still enjoyed it. This is a great spooky story for anyone, especially older school children. I liked how Irving sets the mood and there is no dialogue in the story, it is just the narrator telling his tale.

  19. 4 out of 5

    V H

    It has been a while since I saw the movie Sleepy Hollow but when I saw this book I had to get it as I seemed to remember I liked the movie, and the book is usually better than the movie. Sleepy Hollow is the last story in the book, and so I had to read a lot of other ones before I got to it. They seemed to get more and more boring. The stories themselves wasn't necessarily boring, but the way they were written was. My mind started wandering in all of them and I had to re-read whole pages because It has been a while since I saw the movie Sleepy Hollow but when I saw this book I had to get it as I seemed to remember I liked the movie, and the book is usually better than the movie. Sleepy Hollow is the last story in the book, and so I had to read a lot of other ones before I got to it. They seemed to get more and more boring. The stories themselves wasn't necessarily boring, but the way they were written was. My mind started wandering in all of them and I had to re-read whole pages because I had no idea what I had just read. I actually fell asleep while reading this book, I have never before fallen asleep while reading!! Needless to say I was looking forward to getting to Sleepy Hollow, but that was a disappointment too, as it was just as boringly written as the rest. I would like to see the movie again though now that I've read the original story, just to see what they've done differently. But I think this will be one of the few cases where I prefer the movie. The only story in my eyes that wasn't too bad was Rip Van Winkle, I got through it without having to re-read too much and I though it was quite interesting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Not as scary as I remember, but still a classic October read. Over the years, I've read, watched, and listened to a number of headless horseman retellings of Irving's tale, which watered down the original story's impact. So while rereading is fun, the experience isn't as good as when I first read it all those years ago (back when I knew very little about genre tropes and urban legends).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Koelker

    I enjoyed this, however in what seems to be a reoccurring theme as of late, I pictured the Disney-versions of the characters throughout. The illustrations were nice, too.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christine Norvell

    I will always be a fan of Irving's descriptive romantic style and his distinctive humor. His character sketches and parodies are the best classic comedy. "The Spectre Bridegroom" remains my favorite story, but no story spoilers here.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I only read a few of the stories so far (Sleepy Hollow one of them) and the intro of the author, and most of the notes. Much better than I thought it would be! This is a great classic to start with if you've never read classics and would like to try one. Very humerus, but creepy too!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dennise Pendergrass

    I got this book from August's Owlcrate. I was super excited to get it, the cover is just beautiful. I did enjoy a couple of the stories, but not the writing itself. There's a lot of padding to each story with unnecessary information. I understand, it was just the way books were written at the time. But majority of the book was just spent trying to get through it. Large sections could have been left out, and still made a good story. Glad I read it, more classics should make their way to my "read" I got this book from August's Owlcrate. I was super excited to get it, the cover is just beautiful. I did enjoy a couple of the stories, but not the writing itself. There's a lot of padding to each story with unnecessary information. I understand, it was just the way books were written at the time. But majority of the book was just spent trying to get through it. Large sections could have been left out, and still made a good story. Glad I read it, more classics should make their way to my "read" list. Also glad I won't have to read it again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Charles Dee Mitchell

    To the extent that 21st century readers know Washington Irving’s Sketch Book at all, it is most likely because it included the initial publication of two American classic tales, Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And there could be a good reason that the rest of the 400 plus page tome has slid into obscurity. The Sketch Book could easily be damned with faint praise by describing it as “of its time.” But having recently read the whole thing, I will go even further. At it’s best, othe To the extent that 21st century readers know Washington Irving’s Sketch Book at all, it is most likely because it included the initial publication of two American classic tales, Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And there could be a good reason that the rest of the 400 plus page tome has slid into obscurity. The Sketch Book could easily be damned with faint praise by describing it as “of its time.” But having recently read the whole thing, I will go even further. At it’s best, other than those two classic stories, The Sketch Book is pleasantly boring. Irving filled his book with a combination of stories, essays, and reportage, sometimes mixing his genres in a way that is the most contemporary aspect of the book. The problems come with his tone. Given a sentimental topic, he produces treacle. When he waxes philosophical, he offers up commonplaces. What he does well is describe things. An extensive section on Christmas in a country house is vividly and enthusiastically chronicled. (Like Americans through the centuries, Irving is a sucker for the British upper crust.) His walks around London produce eccentric slices of history and some mild fantasy. What I didn’t need to hear were his thoughts on what makes a “good wife” or his admiration for the tidiness among the better sort of peasantry . It could also be that the Sketch Book is not meant to be read cover to cover. Browsing and skipping would be the more reasonable approach.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Illiterate

    American in Britain. The sketches are charming. The tales include comic, sentimental, gothic.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne (winterscribbler) Cole

    Spoilers, because why not?’ ‘As Ichabod approached the fearful tree, he began to whistle; he thought his whistle was answered.’ If I were reviewing ‘Sleepy Hollow’ alone, this would definitely be a four star review, however since I have read the entire book, and this is my first experience of Irving Washington, I will first review the short story Sleepy Hollow (the only of these stories I was really familiar with), then review the collection as a whole. ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ is an interesti Spoilers, because why not?’ ‘As Ichabod approached the fearful tree, he began to whistle; he thought his whistle was answered.’ If I were reviewing ‘Sleepy Hollow’ alone, this would definitely be a four star review, however since I have read the entire book, and this is my first experience of Irving Washington, I will first review the short story Sleepy Hollow (the only of these stories I was really familiar with), then review the collection as a whole. ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ is an interesting “ghost” story. I have always associated it with Halloween, and therefore assumed that the narrative took place around the festival itself. Discovering that it wasn’t actually enhanced my enjoyment of the story, as free from genre tropes of a Halloween story, I was allowed to experience the narrative as organic of the setting which inspired it. I am not sure if Halloween was in any way celebrated at this time in the United States, but the Van Tassel’s party is reminiscent of Autumnal Harvest gatherings, late October the time of year where darkness is only just regaining its full power, and tints of red and orange sky hover over the landscape. I am tempted to surmise, from one of the alternate conclusions to the tale’s events, that it is from this point that the pumpkin took on its symbolism. In sleepy hollow I discovered shades of what would become staples of the classic ghost story, the small town rural setting, the sense of unease between old and new. The most interesting aspect for me, was the characterisation of Ichabod as an outsider, who is in equal measure welcomed into fold of the community, and kept at arm’s length by from true acceptance, both by his occupation, and therefore his social standing, and by his own nature. Irving was not afraid to make his protagonist a figure of ridicule. It is telling that all of his writing contains a strong sense of place, and therefore a character with no roots, even within a single town as he moves from one family’s lodgings to another, creates a rhythm that runs counter to the natural one of a town like Sleepy Hollow. In many ways Ichabod predates the heroes of M.R.James, the stuffy academics pitted against the unfamiliar, protected by the realms of sure knowledge, yet forever caught by the tendrils of folklore. Such are the nature of ghost stories and folk tales, appealing to that part of us which struggles between the rational and the fantastic. In Sleepy Hollow this is especially bourn out in the two interpretations of the stories climax, offered to the reader. The dual nature of Ichabod could be interpreted as symbolic of all of us who are drawn to the supernatural. The image of him reading his ‘History of Witchcraft’ in the open fields after dark, and effect the text has on him as he journeys home will be familiar to many a ghost story and folktale collector. I enjoyed the interplay between Ichabod, Katrina and Brom, during the courtship. Katrina is continually referred to as coquette, one who is simply enjoying having two men vie for her affections, however I felt more clues to her character were displayed by Ichabod’s behaviour than her own, whether or not this was intentional on the part of the author. We never see Katrina actively pursue either of her suitors, in fact it is clear that while Ichabod may have felt a natural physical attraction to her, his real interest in becoming her husband is formed upon his visit to her father’s farmhouse, and the realisation of the security and comfort he had to gain. Katrina’s role in the narrative, is at first glance one she assumes through necessity of circumstance, as her future in the town appears to have only one viable course. I found I was deeply satisfied when Ichabod was frustrated in his desires, especially since it occurs almost entirely off scene, we are only witness to his feelings of confusion and disappointment upon leaving the Van Tassel’s party. Rather than a sign of her own fickle nature, I felt Katrina’s sudden end to the association with Ichabod a just revealing to him of his own hypocrisy. The timing of her rejection, between the telling of the ghost stories, and Ichabod’s encounter with the headless horseman, acts as reminder that in life we are for more likely to be led into trouble by our own natures, especially when dealing with those we love or claim to love, than by any supernatural being. All this builds to the culminating sequence, Ichabod’s encounter and race to the death with the legendary headless horseman. The atmosphere as he plods slowly home, and the trees close in on him, while he broods upon the failing of his ambitions, draws the reader into his state of nerves. The feeling of the familiar, suddenly given new shape, of being just cut off from safety, of being ultimately alone, all this is easily recognised to any who have wandered home alone at night, with only their thoughts for company. As with the rest of this volume, sleepy hollow is strongest in its sense of place, and in this autumnal walk through a darkening woodland, introduces the reader to something primal at the heart of this young town. These woods have been with us throughout, but we have never really paid attention to them until now, when it surrounds us, and seems to reach out. Ichabod’s isolation from the rest of the town is never more pronounced than at this moment, as he races for the bridge which will bring him to safety, back to the world of the rational, the claimed settlement of new American soil. Ultimately, the reader must choose which interpretation of Ichabod’s fate they believe; that he was run down by the ghost of the horseman, spirited into thin air so that only his hat remained, or that the schoolmaster was chased through the woods by Brom and his friends, whose entire assault consisted of tossing a pumpkin at Ichabod’s head, causing him such embarrassment that he departed the town before sunrise, seeing no reason to remain in the place of his recent failure and subsequent humiliation. Either way a kind of judgement is passed upon Ichabod in the closing of the narrative, for no matter how we view the reality of his fate we can be certain of his blindness to his own character, his true motive for perusing Katrina, his double standards in how he punished his pupils. There is a real sadness in the description of Ichabod’s worldly possessions, how little he had to show for his life. The burning of his ‘history of witchcraft’, and his few pathetic poems, seems to ultimately condemn him as an unfortunate episode in the towns history, pointedly illustrated by Van Ripper’s decision never to send his children to school from then on since, ‘no good came from reading and writing’. Perhaps in the end Ichabod was never truly accepted, only tolerated as novelty. Sleepy Hollow had already attained its desired balance between superstition and rationality, Ichabod’s presence swayed this too much, in both directions. To return to Irving discussion on names of local townships, Ichabod tarried to long for his own good. Throughout the writing, Irving weaves in details of old customs and of an emerging system of social norms. Sleepy Hollow is firmly rooted in an America finding it’s way through it’s newly gained independence, struggling as to how to form a coherent identity as a people brought together from varying histories. As it is human nature that drives this story, it is fitting that the headless horseman feels strangely absent when he is not actively hunting down Ichabod, perhaps because it was only ever Ichabod whose true belief in superstition called him into physical being. For the rest of the town, the horseman is only ever a rumour, a whisper in the trees on an autumn night. In ending the story, Irving places the reader in the role of a traveller, the role he himself has assumed throughout this volume, and in doing so passes on ‘the legend of sleepy hollow’ as a folk tale from the town itself. By presenting the story in this manner, he removes any importance of whether we believe in Ichabod’s fate, and in the spectre, or not. It is simply a tale passed on. What we do with it is entirely up to us, the reader, and has no significance whatsoever for those who created it. A similar tone runs throughout the rest of the book, which makes it an interesting, if not a riveting, read. The other story of note in this volume is ‘Rip Van Winkle’, which like sleepy hollow is presented to us as a folk tale. Rip displays the characteristic detachment of the author himself and may well have been better off for having slept away forty years of his life. Having been absent from the war of independence, and the unsettlement that it created. Rip seems to find his place in the new world in which he awakes with remarkable ease, as though the real trauma of drastic change is only felt by those who actually live through its coming about, rather than those who are granted quick passage to its destination. The magic spell that renders Rip unconscious for forty years is simply a part of the landscape, something for wanderers of the mountains to be wary of, but of no great concern to those who avoid them. Unlike Ichabod, Rip, does not suffer from his self-interested independence from his community, perhaps because he is aware of it, and does not let it deter him from the real affection he feels for his neighbours, and the genuine sadness when, upon waking, he learns that many have died or moved on. As with sleepy hollow, the tale closes by assuring us of its authenticity, but also reminding us that we needn’t take it all that seriously. The rest of the book takes the form of a travel journal, containing a few other disjointed musings. Overall it had a lot to gain by discarding a few of the less engaging passages; personally, I found the entire Christmas segment to be out of place. Within other entries as well the author’s tendency to wander off point or over embellish did become off putting, all the more so as I found it impossible to skim over these parts, as there was the risk of missing something truly worthwhile. I found ‘English Writer’s on America’ to be an insightful and challenging piece of work, aimed at those who would dismiss American literature as a poor relation. ‘The Spectre Bridegroom’ was a welcome injection of gothic playfulness. ‘The Royal Poet’ and ‘Philip of Pokanoket’ were intriguing biographies of forgotten historical figures, examined through a literary legacy, and a lived experience of the wounds wrought by new America’s birth. ‘Rural Funerals’ an illustrative view on English death rituals. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Angler’, an examination of a solitary occupation . ‘Stratford-upon-Avon reads as a young fanatic’s exploration into his heroes’ origins, I found it amusing that he was mostly drawn to Shakespeare’s grave, rather than his house. My personal favourite of the travel stories, is ‘The Mutability of Literature’, a wonderfully amusing piece about the lives, and deaths, of written works, and how we consume and later conserve them, I especially liked Irving’s comparison of a lending library to a brothel. Many of the short pieces in this volume contain what today would be called magical realism, but also comes across as the natural imaginative spirit of someone young enough to still view the world with some sense of wonder. The places he explores, as American coming to Europe, greet him with a long lost familiarity that he expresses to us through wonderous and curious images. Traces races of his youthfulness are apparent in his afterword to the volume, in which he asks us to forgive his lack of polish, and hopes that each reader may takes each story exactly as they find it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    blake

    I set out to read "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" a few years back and was sort of surprised to find it such a whimsical story. (The old Disney cartoon basically nails it.) But it was the only Washington Irving story I'd ever read until now. (It's shocking how few of the authors in the "Authors" card game I grew up with I've actually read, or read much of.) The Sketch Book confirms that style throughout. Irving is by turns poetic, respectful and even emotional, but a sense of bemusement pervades throug I set out to read "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" a few years back and was sort of surprised to find it such a whimsical story. (The old Disney cartoon basically nails it.) But it was the only Washington Irving story I'd ever read until now. (It's shocking how few of the authors in the "Authors" card game I grew up with I've actually read, or read much of.) The Sketch Book confirms that style throughout. Irving is by turns poetic, respectful and even emotional, but a sense of bemusement pervades throughout. He seems to enjoy humans and humanity, and consciously partake of all our superstitious ways (which have not changed in recent times, except to be dressed up in lab coats). Most of the essays are about his time in England, at a time when he was relatively new there—he would end up spending 17 years abroad—and are little portraits of English life with his own observations mixed in. (Although, in one he has a debate with an old book, and both "Rip Van Winkle" and "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" are part of this collection.) I'm not sure how seriously I'd regard his observations of Amerinds, though he was probably pretty cutting edge in his defense of Indian character versus the often shabby way they were treated. Word-wise, Irving isn't too hard to read, although you'll find a lot of the definitions he's using in the "archaic" section. The hardest stuff, actually, are the little quotes (e.g. Herrick) that he puts at the front of each story. These often include characteristically arbitrary Middle English spellings but which were probably well known to the literate folks of the time. I smiled and chuckled a lot. I would often finish one essay and launch into the next, even when I was trying to budget my reading time carefully. Looking forward to reading his George Washington: A Biography!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Poiema

    I absolutely loved this book. Each chapter is self-contained, so it is a great book to keep at your bedside to pick up occasionally or when the mood strikes. Aptly named, because the author tackles a wide range of subjects---wherever his fancy takes him. Written in the elegant, descriptive English of an earlier era, this is not a book to breeze through quickly. Here is a man who has one foot in England and one in the New World and appears to hold both in affection. His unhurried ruminations as h I absolutely loved this book. Each chapter is self-contained, so it is a great book to keep at your bedside to pick up occasionally or when the mood strikes. Aptly named, because the author tackles a wide range of subjects---wherever his fancy takes him. Written in the elegant, descriptive English of an earlier era, this is not a book to breeze through quickly. Here is a man who has one foot in England and one in the New World and appears to hold both in affection. His unhurried ruminations as he travels via ocean liner, enjoys an old-world Christmas celebration, visits an ancient cemetery, peruses a dusty library, and cogitates on domesticity are self-contained gems. It had been quite a long while since I had read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", the final installment in the book. What a pleasure to revisit it! Outstanding in its descriptive humor, it is a not-to-be-missed romp. Irving was one of America's first literary greats and he deserves the reputation. This book is worthy of a second look.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I would give this book a 3.5. I could not find the actual book on goodreads. This book of stories is actually 327 pages. There are some classic stories of the Macabre by Washington Irving. I think the the two most well known are:The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. I think Mr.Irving's stories are the first scary ones I remember hearing about. There are many other stories in here as well. They are filled with ghosts, sea monsters, lessons to be learned about greed. and many other stori I would give this book a 3.5. I could not find the actual book on goodreads. This book of stories is actually 327 pages. There are some classic stories of the Macabre by Washington Irving. I think the the two most well known are:The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. I think Mr.Irving's stories are the first scary ones I remember hearing about. There are many other stories in here as well. They are filled with ghosts, sea monsters, lessons to be learned about greed. and many other stories . Still holds up today.

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