Washington Irving 1783—1859

Washington Irving

Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”, both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving also served as the U.S. minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846.

He made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. After moving to England for the family business in 1815, he achieved international fame with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. in 1819. He continued to publish regularly—and almost always successfully—throughout his life, and completed a five-volume biography of George Washington just eight months before his death, at age 76, in Tarrytown, New York.

Irving was admired by some European writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Francis Jeffrey, and Charles Dickens. As America’s first genuine internationally best-selling author, Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession, and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement. (source: Wikipedia)

Available eBooks

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Knickerbocker's History of New York (1809)

In 1809, New Yorkers were buzzing about a series of classified ads concerning the whereabouts of Dutch historian Diedrich Knickerbocker. They were unawa...read more »

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)

Ichabod Crane, a schoolteacher, came to Tarry Town in the glen of Sleepy Hollow to ply his trade in educating young minds. He was a gullible and excitab...read more »

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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1820)

This collection of stories from Washington Irving includes some of America’s best-known works of fiction-such as the famous Rip Van Winkle and The Legen...read more »