Friday, June 18, 2010

Great American Literature - Washington Irving

Washington Irving was often referred to as America's First Storyteller. He was the first American to earn acclaim as an internationally best-selling author and the first to earn a living solely by his pen. He was said to have "encouraged" a number of famous American writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. He was, of course, best known for his short stories which included "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" but he was also an historian and biographer, whose works included biographies of George Washington (his namesake), Christopher Columbus and Mohammed (hopefully no pictures!). He traveled in very famous circles with Presidents Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Charles Dickens being among his closest friends.

I made an assumption as I was writing this post that everyone knows Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane, but (sadly) that is probably not the case. Do yourself and your kids a favor and read some of Irving's short stories. You can find them at your local library. Remember where that is?

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