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Washington Irving

– Early Life: – Born on April 3, 1783 in New York City, New York, U.S. – Parents were Scottish-English immigrants – Studied law but […]

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– Early Life:
– Born on April 3, 1783 in New York City, New York, U.S.
– Parents were Scottish-English immigrants
– Studied law but pursued writing
– Published his first book, “A History of New York,” at age 26
– Traveled extensively in Europe

– Literary Works:
– Known for short stories, essays, biographies, and histories
– Wrote “The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” under a pseudonym
– Popular stories include “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
– Contributed to American literature’s development
– Inspired other writers like Edgar Allan Poe

– Career:
– Worked as a lawyer before turning to writing full-time
– Served as a diplomatic attache in Spain and England
– Contributed to the founding of the “Knickerbocker Group”
– Was a member of the U.S. legation in London
– Known for his wit and humor in his writings

– Legacy:
– Considered the first American man of letters
– Helped shape the American identity through his works
– Inspired generations of writers and artists
– Sunnyside, his home in Tarrytown, is a National Historic Landmark
– The Washington Irving Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to American literature

– Death and Impact:
– Passed away on November 28, 1859, at the age of 76
– Funeral held at Irving’s home, Sunnyside
– Remembered for his contributions to American culture
– His works continue to be studied and celebrated
– Influence seen in American folklore and storytelling traditions

Washington Irving (Wikipedia)

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He wrote the short stories "Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820), both of which appear in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad, and George Washington, as well as several histories of 15th-century Spain that deal with subjects such as the Alhambra, Christopher Columbus, and the Moors. Irving served as American ambassador to Spain in the 1840s.

Washington Irving
Daguerreotype of Washington Irving (modern copy by Mathew Brady, original by John Plumbe)
Daguerreotype of Washington Irving
(modern copy by Mathew Brady,
original by John Plumbe)
Born(1783-04-03)April 3, 1783
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 28, 1859(1859-11-28) (aged 76)
Sunnyside, Tarrytown, New York, U.S.
Resting placeSleepy Hollow Cemetery, New York
Pen nameGeoffrey Crayon, Diedrich Knickerbocker, Jonathan Oldstyle
Occupation
  • Short story writer
  • essayist
  • biographer
  • historian
  • diplomat
LanguageEnglish
Literary movementRomanticism
RelativesWilliam Irving (brother)
Peter Irving (brother)
Signature
United States Minister to Spain
In office
1842–1846
PresidentJohn Tyler
James K. Polk
Preceded byAaron Vail
Succeeded byRomulus Mitchell Saunders

Irving was born and raised in Manhattan to a merchant family. He made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. He temporarily moved to England for the family business in 1815, where he achieved fame with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. which was serialized from 1819 to 1820. He continued to publish regularly throughout his life, and he completed a five-volume biography of George Washington just eight months before his death at age 76 in Tarrytown, New York.

Irving was one of the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and he encouraged other American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe. He was also admired by some British writers, including Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, Francis Jeffrey, and Walter Scott. He advocated for writing as a legitimate profession and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement.

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