With his beloved Gothic tales, Washington Irving is said to have created the genre of the short story in America. Though Irving crafted many of the most memorable characters in fiction, from Rip Van Winkle to Ichabod Crane, his gifts were not confined to the short story alone. He was also a master of satire, essay, travelogue, and folktale, as evidenced in this classic collection.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, "Every reader has a first book.... which, in early youth, first fascinates his imagination, and at once excites and satisfies the desires of his mind. To me, this first book was The Sketch Bookof Washington Irving... The charm of The Sketch Book remains unbroken; the old fascination still lingers about it.
About the Author
One of the first American writers to gain acclaim in Europe, Washington Irving was also an essayist, a biographer, an historian, and a diplomat. He is best known for having written the short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," both of which appeared in the collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Though he is best known for his short stories, Irving's written works include social and political commentary for the literary magazine Salmagundi, which he helped found, as well as biographies of a number of historical figures including George Washington and the prophet Muhammad. Irving died in 1859 at the age of 76.
Alice Hoffman is the bestselling author of nearly twenty acclaimed novels beloved by teens and adults, including Aquamarine and Practical Magic, both made into major motion pictures, as well as The Foretelling, Green Angel, The Ice Queen, and Here on Earth (an Oprah Book Club selection). She has also written the highly praised story collections Local Girls and Blackbird House. The author lives outside of Boston.
"Washington Irving... makes Nathaniel Hawthorne read like Dr. Seuss!"