THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW AND OTHER STORIES : Collins ClassicsWashington Irving
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A Famous Tale Which Is Set In A Dutch Settlement In New York & Features The Iconic Character of The Headless Horseman
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“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic short story written by Washington Irving, not Wilkie Collins. Washington Irving wrote this famous tale, which is set in a Dutch settlement in New York and features the iconic character of the Headless Horseman. It was first published in 1820 as part of a collection of short stories titled “The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” This story has become one of the most enduring and iconic pieces of American literature.
‘There was a contagion in the very air that blew from that haunted region; it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land.’
Featuring ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’, this collection of inspired essays, stories and sketches established Washington Irving’s reputation as one of America’s foremost authors. Irving’s timeless characters, including Ichabod Crane, Rip Van Winkle and the headless Hessian trooper, jostle for space alongside 31 equally atmospheric and lyrical works in this haunting anthology from one of America’s most distinctive literary voices.
The plot of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is set in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York, in the early 19th century. It revolves around the character of Ichabod Crane, a lanky and superstitious schoolteacher who comes to Sleepy Hollow to teach and falls in love with Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of a wealthy farmer.
Crane is also mercenary and courts Katrina Van Tassel mostly because she is the daughter of a rich farmer and is expected to receive a large inheritance. Abraham Van Brunt, also called Brom Bones, is Crane’s jealous rival, a local favorite, and a rash horseman who often plays tricks on the schoolmaster.
The story is set in a secluded glen known as Sleepy Hollow, which is inhabited by descendants of the original Dutch settlers. The story follows the protagonist, Ichabod Crane, a Yankee schoolteacher who lives in Sleepy Hollow and is a suggestible man who believes in ghost stories and tales of witchcraft. The story is framed as a legend within the town, involving the spooky figure of the Headless Horseman, a Hessian soldier who lost his head in battle during the American Revolution and is said to ride through the woods at night seeking a replacement for his lost head.
Late one night, as Ichabod Crane rides home from a party at Katrina’s home, he is suddenly frightened by a ghostlike headless horseman. The ghost pursues him and hurls at him a round object that he takes to be a head but is later revealed to have been a pumpkin.
The story explores themes of superstition, folklore, and the power of storytelling. It blends elements of horror, humor, and romance, making it a quintessential piece of American Gothic literature. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has been adapted into numerous films, television shows, and other media over the years and remains a beloved and enduring tale in American literature. The character of the Headless Horseman is particularly iconic and has become a symbol of Halloween and spooky folklore.
The story is also among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity, especially during Halloween because of a character known as the Headless Horseman, believed to be a Hessian soldier who was decapitated by a cannonball in battle. The story has been adapted into several films and TV shows, including a 1999 feature film adaptation directed by Tim Burton.
About The Author :
American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat, Washington Irving was born in New York City in 1783. He is best known for his short stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, both published in his book, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, as seven paper-bound installments between June 23, 1819 and September 13, 1820.
Irving made his literary debut in 1802, publishing a collection of observational letters under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon. He moved to England in 1815 and gained international acclaim with the success of The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. He was among the first American writers to earn fame in Europe, along with James Fenimore Cooper. Authors Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe and Herman Melville were among the distinguished authors who benefited from Irving’s encouragement.
Irving continued to write regularly, returned from abroad and traveled deep into Indian territory, then accepted a post in Spain. He published biographies about writer and poet Oliver Goldsmith (1849) and a the Islamist prophet Muhammad (1850). With his popularity continuing to soar, Irving kept up with correspondence and socialized well into his 70s. Irving died of a heart attack in 1859, eight months after completing his significant biographical series on George Washington. Appropriately enough, Irving was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
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