kirstennnnnn (kirstennnnnn) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Writings by Washington Irving

book 215:  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Writings by Washington Irving

This book has short stories and chapters excerpted from Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent., Salmagundi, The Sketch-Book, Bracebridge Hall, Tales of a Traveller, and A History of New York.  The most famous, I believe, are "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle"; however, it seems that I have either read or heard of several of the others before, as well.  At least, I recognized similar themes.  On the whole, Irving comes across as a very humorous, positive, and silly (in a good way) man.  I told my mom that I thought he was a "goofball", meaning that I bet he was a very happy, mischievious, and entertaining person to be around.  That's the spirit that comes through his works to me, anyway.  Even his ghost stories, and there are many more than just the headless horseman, are told with a bit of a "wink".  Even the set-up of some of his stories is like a game...stories within stories within stories or fictional histories introduced in ways as to seem real, but even if you are fooled initially, you find yourself in the midst of the joke within the satires of semi-real events.  But, as with most observant and clever writing, even in the most fictional paragraphs, reality of life shines through clearer than ever.  In many of his works, I found I could substitute modern political figures and events into the text, and the jokes would work just as well.  I don't know whether or not to be relieved or horrified that American politics has not changed ONE BIT since its inception.  I think Irving deserves his place among the brilliant American writers.  I also think that his works are some of the most positive, life-affirming reading that I have done maybe ever and even though he is frequently making fun of that life which he is affirming.  It's all in good humor, and he writes well enough for his intention to reach you.
Tags: 19th century literature, humor, literature, politics, satire, suspense, travel writing

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