This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Washington Irving Essay

2595 words - 10 pages

Biographical Summary

Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 in Manhattan, New York City. He was the youngest of eleven children born from his parents, William and Sarah Irving. During the week in which he was born, the Americans emerged victorious in the Revolutionary War and his parents named him after the war hero, General George Washington. When Irving was six-years-old, he met his namesake and Washington blessed the child, which sparked a sense of gratitude and interest in the president. This encounter would inspire Irving to write his five volume biography on George Washington, which was completed in 1859.
Washington Irving grew up in a wealthy merchant family and he received a good education, although he was an uninterested student. In his early teenage years he would often skip class to attend plays at theaters. During his free time, Irving would read tirelessly and explore the nearby Hudson River Valley. Both contributed to his ever growing imagination. His ventures in the valley also exposed him to local myths and folktales, which are lucidly displayed in his short stories. In 1798, Yellow Fever broke out in Manhattan and Irving’s family sent him to live with James Paulding in Yorktown, away from the disease. While there, he familiarized himself with the Dutch town of Sleepy Hollow and became fascinated with their ghost stories. Irving based perhaps his most famous work, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” on his experiences there. During his childhood, he also took adventures through the Hudson River Valley to Johnstown New York and the Catskill Mountains, which became the setting for another of his short stories, “Rip Van Winkle.”
At age nineteen Washington Irving began his literary career by writing to the New York Morning Chronicle, which was owned by his brother Peter, under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. This was his first of many pen names that he would use. Later, he began socializing with a group of intellectuals whom he referred to as “the Lads of Killkinny.” They stirred in him a deeper interest in literature and soon he began to write “his first book, Salmagundi; or, The Whim-Whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq., and Others,” with the help of Paulding and his brother William (“Washington Irving” 1). He also achieved literary success with “A History of New York, from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, a comical, deliberately inaccurate account of New York's Dutch colonization narrated by the fictitious Diedrich Knickerbocker” (“Washington Irving” 1).
In 1815 Irving moved to England to work in the family import-export business. However, the business was unsuccessful and he made the decision to support himself through his writing. “He began recording the impressions, thoughts, and descriptions which became the pieces that make up [his most famous work,] The Sketch Book” (“Washington Irving” 1). He adopted a second pseudonym, Geoffrey Crayon, for this book. The...

Find Another Essay On Washington Irving

Washington Irving Essay

1665 words - 7 pages , 1824)Washington Irving was born in New York City as the youngest of 11 children. His father was a wealthy merchant, and his mother, an English woman, was the granddaughter of a clergyman. According to a story, George Washington met Irving, named after him, and gave his blessing. In the years to come Irving would write one of his greatest works, THE LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON (1855-59).Early in his life Irving developed a passion for books. He

Washington Irving And His Works Essay

604 words - 2 pages Washington Irving and His Works      Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 in Tarrytown, New York. His father was a merchant and owned an import business. Irving had literary influences early in his life. He was friends with Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Charles Dickens. Washington Irving had no formal schooling. Instead, he taught himself by reading as many books as possible.    &nbsp

Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving

1143 words - 5 pages Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, is the story of Rip Van Winkle, a seemingly lazy man, prone to habitual drunkenness who wanders into the mountains to escape the tyranny of his nagging wife Dame Van Winkle. During his alleged hunting trip, he meets with a mystical band of creatures “dressed in a quaint, outlandish fashion” ( (Irving p 476). Upon the encounter, he is offered a flagon of beverage of mysterious nature, which he consumes most

A Brief Biography of Washington Irving

1595 words - 7 pages “WHETHER we agree or not with the judgment that Washington Irving was the first American man of letters, it is not to be questioned that he was the first American author whose work was received abroad as a permanent contribution to English literature” (W.A.N). The creation of his greatest stories revolve around his personal life in New York and the time after the American Revolution. This time in history was the beginning of imagination

Irving Washington, The History of New York

1323 words - 5 pages Irving Washington was born in 1783 in New York into a large family where he was the youngest of eleven children. He started his career from a law office feeling that it was a job not to his heart content. Being light-hearted and sardonic in his nature he attempted to write for the journal of his brother Peter called “The Morning Chronicle”. Later Irving and Peter thought of creating a high-quality literary mockery. Originally the text

Jacob Overstreet Washington Irving ROugh Draft

1236 words - 5 pages Rough Draft Washington Irving wrote mainly essays and short stories such as “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” and “Rip Van Winkle.” And to this day is called “the father of the modern short story”. This paper is on the work and life of Washington Irving. In this paper I will tell how he came by the marvelous stories that he is famous for. Like the famous story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”. Another story that he is famous for is “Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

970 words - 4 pages Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving When superficially read, Washington Irving's short story "Rip Van Winkle" seems to be a simple tale of an unhappily married man whose happy-go-lucky, carefree attitude gains him loving adoration from the village women, children, and dogs; but only scorn from his wretched wife. However, when read more closely, the story takes on an entirely different meaning. Through his constant references to Dame Van

Washington Irving´s Rip Van Winkle vs. The Revolutionary War

675 words - 3 pages They say “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is implying that there is more to something than meets the eye. This is the same case with Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle.” You have to read between the lines of the short story to understand the passion and meaning that Irving has so, intelligently, woven into his story. In the beginning of the story Irving talks of how Dame Van Winkle would basically nag her husband to death. He never

Washington Irving, comparing "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and !The Devil and Tom Walker"

659 words - 3 pages Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 in Tarrytown, New York. His father was a merchant and owned an import business. Irving had literary influences early in his life. He was friends with Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Charles Dickens. Washington Irving had no formal schooling. Instead, he taught himself by reading as many books as possible.Washington Irving had other interests than just writing. Irving was an inventor. He

Well written and descriptive essay/bio on Washington Irving, from a B to an A- paper

947 words - 4 pages Washington IrvingWashington Irving was the first native American to succeed as a professional writer. He remainsimportant as a pioneer in American humor and the development of the short story. Irving was greatlyadmired and imitated in the 19th century. Toward the end of his career, his reputation declined due to thesentimentality and excessive gentility of much of his work ("Irving" 479). Washington Irving's time spentin the Hudson Valley and

The Devil And Tom Walker" By Washington Irving, And "The Man In The Black Suit" By Stephen King Comparison

781 words - 4 pages The Devil has been the subject of many stories, always represented as an evil being, a cursed creature that preys on the souls of humans. He is described in many different ways, just like the many forms he takes in many stories. Two famous stories that deal with this fearsome creature are "The Devil and Tom Walker" by Washington Irving, and "The Man in the Black Suit" by Stephen King. Both suggest that the Devil always pursue the human

Similar Essays

Washington Irving Essay

1777 words - 8 pages Washington Irving Washington Irving was considered to be the first professional man of letters and was influential in the development of short stories. He was the first author to sell his stories abroad other than America. Washington Irving was born and raised in New York City on April 3, 1783, and he was the youngest of eleven children. Washington Irving was the first American to make a living as an author during his career in the early 1800’s

Irving, Washington Essay

743 words - 3 pages Washington Irving (1783-1859) The year of Washington Irving's birth, 1783, was also the first year that England recognized the United States as a sovereign nation. His generation was left with the task of filling the boots of the larger-than-life hero George Washington. Irving eventually forged himself the title of the "Father of American Literature", but this journey was plagued with despair.His search for freedom was not from

Washington Irving Essay

2050 words - 8 pages A Clash between a Pre-Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary World Washington Irving grew up during a period of change and turmoil in the world. He was born the year that England officially recognized the United States as an independent country. His unprecedented writing style was a new experience for American readers. Even though his works are known as lighthearted short stories, they also express strong views on controversial subjects in America

Washington Irving Essay

788 words - 3 pages Washington IrvingWashington Irving was an American writer, the first American author to achieve international fame, who created the fictional characters Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane. The strict acceptance and standing popularity of Irving's tales involving these characters proved the effectiveness of the short story in American literary form.Irving was born in New York City, Irving studied law at private schools. After serving in several law