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Flashcards in Washington Irving Deck (36):




Early Career

Satirical Writing, including a History of New York, praised by Walter Scott



Addison, Shakespeare and Sterne



Lives in Europe for 17 years


The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

First American to Achieve International Literary Fame (Not quite true - Phillis Wheatley)


Later Career

Diplomat, Minister to Spain


What younger writers does Irving influence?

Hawthorne, Longfellow and Melville as Schoolboys


Rip Van Winkle Sources

True sources in German Folk Tales; Frame narrative = found in papers of Knickerbocker, allusion to his satirical History of New York


Rip Van Winkle Setting

Catskills in the time of British Rule


Rip Van Winkle, Character

Anti-Franklinian Counter-Hero


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Setting

Sleepy Hollow, near Terrytown, NY


Ichabod Crane

School Master, Gangly, Mistaken for a Scare Crow. Used the rod on school children. Women admired his taste.


Katrina Van Tassel

- Beautiful and rich coquette
- Pastoral homestead filled with luxury
- Ichabod’s mouth waters with thoughts of plenty, luxury


Brom Van Brunt a.k.a. “Brom Bones”

- Jocular, Herculean Suitor of Katrina Van Tassel
- Claims to have raced the Headless Horseman
- Perhaps the Headless Horseman who chased off Ichabod?


Mock-Epic Courtship Plot

- Poking Fun at Crane as a Don Quixote Figure
- Katrina Van Tassel as Coquette
--“He that wins a thousand common hearts, is therefore entitled to some renown; but he who keeps undisputed sway over the heart of a coquette, is indeed a hero.”


When was "Sketch Book" published?



What is the name of the work in which "Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" appear?

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.


Who is Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.?

The central figure of Irving's frame narrative for the collection of tales that would bring him international fame. It is his papers that supposedly contain "Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" -- though these stories were supposedly written by yet *another* invented persona, Diedrich Knickerbocker.


Within the context of the frame narrative, who is "Rip Van Winkle" written by?

Diedrich Knickerbocker (the imaginary character who supposedly wrote Irvings "History of New York")


How does Rip Van Winkle emphasize the shortness of American history?

Though published in 1820, tales from "Sketch Book" place even earlier; "Rip Van Winkle" starts before the Revolutionary War. Even though Rip is only asleep for twenty years, that short period of time is enough to render the part of America he had known completely unrecognizable.

After spending time in Europe, where history is...pretty ancient...this difference would have been especially striking to Irving. The idea that the twenty years could be the beginning of a national history and identity was exciting and worthy of exploration.

(Though we should note at the same time that the presence of some mysterious force in the forest alludes to a prior culture. Interestingly, it's not Native American, but earlier settlers who are the source of mysterious forces. Irving's elision of Native American presence is important.)


Rip Van Winkle: Discuss the role of Native Americans in this story.

The mysterious forces in the mountains are notably not Native American, but European -- Rip sees those dressed like the earliest Dutch settlers. Native American traditions are included in a postscript to the story as further proof that there is something supernatural in the mountains of that region.

The presence -- or lack thereof -- of Native Americans is also interesting considering this story's positioning at the "beginning" of American history.


Rip Van Winkle: What is Rip's cultural heritage/that of the Hudson River Valley?



In whose papers was found the text of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"?

Diedrich Knickerbocker


Sleepy Hollow: What Quals text is referenced in this work?

The Nun's Priest's Tale from The Canterbury Tales (Chanticleer is one of the things to be eaten at Katrina's ball).


Sleepy Hollow: What is the literary form of the dinner at Katrina's?

The whole courtship takes the form of a mock-heroic or mock-romantic plot. Ichabod hopes to present himself "in the true style of a cavalier...like a knight-errant in quest of adventures."


Sleepy Hollow: What is one reason the text suggests that belief in the supernatural -- and perhaps the supernatural itself -- is more prominent in these NY Dutch communities?

Because the area has been settled the longest. Other parts of the country are newer - ghosts have "scarcely had time to finish their first nap."


Sleepy Hollow: Where is Ichabod from?

Connecticut; he is an outsider.


Sleepy Hollow: What site is the center of many of the native people's stories?

Major Andre's tree and the bridge on which he was captured.

Major Andre was British general in the Revolutionary War taken captive on the bridge, and hanged from a nearby tree.


Sleepy Hollow: What is the book Ichabod frequently quotes from?

Cotton Mather's "History of Witchcraft."


Sleepy Hollow: What happens to Ichabod Crane?

Though initially no one in Sleepy Hollow knows his fate, it is eventually revealed that he fled the area and became a judge.


Sleepy Hollow: What happens to Brom Bones?

He marries Katrina


Sleepy Hollow: Did Ichabod really see the Headless Horseman?

The story strongly suggests that Ichabod was pursued by Brom Bones playing a cruel trick, and not an actual ghost.

But metaphorically, Brom and Katrina are natives of the area who have lived there a long time. Crane was a newcomer hoping to capitalize off of Katrina's wealth, and he was pushed out by the "ghost" of Dutch cultural ties.


Rip Van Winkle: Who does Rip consider himself a subject of ?

King George III


Rip Van Winkle: Whose portrait replaces King George's at the local inn?

George Washington


Rip Van Winkle: Who are the figures Rip spent time in the woods with rumored to be?

The ghosts of Hendrick Hudson's crew


Sleepy Hollow: Discuss the Revolutionary War in this story.

The major source for the supernatural in Sleepy Hollow is Major Andre's tree. Major Andre was a spy/soldier that died in the Revolutionary War, but he was a British soldier, not an American one.

This reverence for pre-American culture is echoed in the narrator's declaration that, unlike everywhere else in the nation, time seems to stand still here. Sleepy Hollow seems a completely "un-Revolutionary" space. Crane, and outsider from Connecticut, is driven out.