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Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" : 'the Mountain Episode'

1085 words - 4 pages

Washington Irving, the writer of this American tale introduced many Americans to aspects of the European Culture.Maybe his interest in Europe has started when his brothers sent him abroad for a 2 year tour of Europe (after he showed signs of tuberculosis),where in his notebooks he steadily became an acute observer and felicitous recorder of what he witnessed. Later on in his life he has also spent a lot of years in Europe where he met Sir Walter Scot who helpfully directed Irvings attention to the wealth of unused literary material in German Folktales. This is where Irving found the source for 'Rip van Winkle'.Before the real story begins, Irving introduces Diedrich Knickebocker; an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from it's primitive settlers.Diedrich Knickebocker was one of Irvings pseudonyms, and so I believe that Irving himself, just as the by him created Diedrick Knickebocker, was very curious in the Dutch history of the province and the manners of the descendants from it's primitive settlers.'The mountain episode' contains a lot of Dutch aspects, which show Irving has done some research like he said himself about Diecrich Knickebocker.For example the fellows Rip van Winkle meets at the mountain are Hendrick Hudson with his crew of the Half Moon according to Peter Vanderdonk. ( "He assured the company that it was a fact, handed down from his ancestor the historian, that the Kaatshill mountains had always been haunted by strange beings. That it was affirmed that the great Hendrick Hudson, the first discoverer o the river and country, kept a kind of vigil there every twenty years, with his crew of the Half-moon, being permitted in this way to revisit the scenes of his enterprise, and keep a guardian eye upon the river, and the great city called by his name. That his father had once seen them in their old Dutch dresses playing at nine pins in a hollow of the mountain: and that he himself had heard, one summer afternoon, the sound of their balls, like long peals of thunder. " ( p. 328-439)Hendrick Hudson was born in 1564 and he was an explorer who discovered the Hudson Bay. In 1609, he was hired by the Dutch East India Company to discover a Northwest Passage. The route he chose led Hudson and his crew of 22 men into what is now James Bay off the coast of Canada. In 1611, after a long and fruitless voyage, muting broke out. Henry Hudson, his son and seven other men were set a drift in a small boat and never seen or heard from again.Now this explains also the Dutch clothes and gin ( Hollands ). Another thing is the fact that the people on the mountain were playing at 9 pins. The game of 9 pins was introduced to North America by the Dutch. Later on In American colonies 9 pin bowling became the sport of the common man, mainly cause they liked to gamble on the outcome of matches. A ban of 9 pin bowling was attempted in order to stop the gambling. The enterprising...

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