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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.,
by Washington Irving
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The creator of such quintessentially American fiction as "Rip Van Winkle," Irving earned his preeminence with the masterpieces in miniature collected here: dozens of short stories, travel essays, biographical discourses, and literary musings.
THE following papers, with two exceptions, were written in England, and formed but part of an intended series for which I had made notes and memorandums. Before I could mature a plan, however, circumstances compelled me to send them piecemeal to the United States, where they were published from time to time in portions or numbers. It was not my intention to publish them in England, being conscious that much of their contents could be interesting only to American readers, and, in truth, being deterred by the severity with which American productions had been treated by the British press.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
) Short-story collection by Washington Irving, first published in 1819-20 in seven separate parts. Most of the book's 30-odd pieces concern Irving's impressions of England, but six chapters deal with American subjects. Of these, the tales THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW and RIP VAN WINKLE have been called the first American short stories, although both are actually Americanized versions of German folktales. In addition to the stories based on folklore, the collection contains travel sketches, literary essays, and miscellany. The Sketch Book was the first American work to gain international literary success and popularity. Its unprecedented success allowed Irving to devote himself to a career as a professional author.
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