An analysis of the imaginative characteristics in the legend of sleepy hollow by washington irving

Washington Irving The Legend of Sleepy Hollow In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of Saint Nicholas, there lies a small market town which is generally known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given by the good housewives of the adjacent country from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley among high hills which is one of the quietest places in the whole world.

An analysis of the imaginative characteristics in the legend of sleepy hollow by washington irving

Washngton Irving was fortunate, granted his special though restricted gifts, to be alive and in England at that moment in the history of literature.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

He sought out, and was taken up by, Sir Walter Scott, who was showing how the sentiment of nostalgia for the past could infuse fiction and become its informing principle. In his novels Scott projected that sense of historical continuity which formed a curious undercurrent of sensibility even before the Romantic movement began.

Little though the Augustans attended the medieval or more recent past, there were important eighteenth-century successors to such early antiquarian works as Sir Thomas Browne's collection of Vulgar Errors and Samuel Pepys' collection of broadside ballads.

Scott took his prominent place in both with his ballad collection, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border and his comprehensive Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft Much more influential, however, than these formal studies in introducing a whole generation of readers—and authors—to such materials was his use of folklore in his own fiction.

Washington Irving was already something of an antiquary. His early Knickerbocker's History of New York reveals him to be enchanted with the very past he satirized. In The Sketch Book Irving used several themes to which he would again and again recur: One of these retells a German folktale in this American setting, in which Rip Van Winkle sleeps away his twenty years after a heady game of bowls with the ghostly crew of the Half-Moon.


In Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones he dramatized that clash of regional characters—the Yankee versus the Backwoodsman—which would soon become a major theme in our literature, as well as a continuing motif in a century and a half of folktales, and in our national history. It is surprising that the extent to which Irving drew upon native folklore has scarcely been acknowledged.

The chief reason for this seems to be Henry A.

An analysis of the imaginative characteristics in the legend of sleepy hollow by washington irving

Pochmann's convincing demonstration, inof the extent of Irving's indebtedness to his German contemporaries. Williams, in his definitive biography, gives us a further exploration of Irving's methods of composition.

But his Dutch people were of the past, joining only at a distance with current portrayals of native character.

An analysis of the imaginative characteristics in the legend of sleepy hollow by washington irving

I do not know; but I hope to show that in Ichabod and Brom Bones, Irving gave us portrayals of current native character projected backwards in time, rather than merely historical types unrooted in contemporary folklore. There are of course good reasons why Brom and Ichabod have not been so recognized.

For one thing, Irving's style is hardly what we expect in a folk document.

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For another, the Hudson Valley Dutch have long been thought an alien people by the Anglo-Saxons who conquered, surrounded, and outnumbered them. But the third and principal reason is Irving's own treatment of his Dutch materials.

As a consequence of Irving's popularity and of widespread ignorance of what the Dutch were really like, his caricatures were widely accepted as portraits of the Dutch-Americans. Paulding, writing The Dutchman's Fireside twenty-two years after the Knickerbocker History, imitated his friend in attributing chuckleheadedness and indolence to the brothers Vancour.

In Cooper's Satanstoehowever, we get a more realistic picture of the Dutch; his Guert Ten Eyck amply fulfills the historian Janvier's description: Here his usual Dutchman does appear Van Tasselbut only in the background. Brom Bones is his realistic Dutch frontiersman, who meets and bests a Yankee in the traditional conflict of our native folk humor.

Why did Irving choose this theme, so different from his usual preoccupations? When we admit his dependence upon books, we must look at the kinds of authors on whom he depended.

Irving knew personally a third folklorist, Dr. Brom and Ichabod had their beginnings in local characters he had known as a boy;5 what made them take their singular form, however, was the direction in which Irving's imagination impelled them.

And that direction was toward the fabulous. The fabulous was Irving's milieu. But he may well indeed have heard such stories in the old Dutch chimney corners.

Thompson recounts similar motifs in York State folklore: Still another important part of Dutch folk culture was the lusty practical joking7 which Cooper used in some of the most spirited pages in Satanstoe.

Before any of these was born in print Ichabod had already been a country teacher, a singing master, a sometime farmer; later he is to undergo still further metamorphoses which link him still more closely to these heroes of popular legend and literature.The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Analysis Washington Irving.

Sleepy Hollow has two main characteristics. The first is a sense of “listless repose” that . THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW POSTSCRIPT LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS VIEW IN SLEEPY HOLLOW [from sketch by J.

H. Hill] W M. WASHINGTON IRVING 7 in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole nine grow imaginative— to dream dreams, and see apparitions.

At a Glance

A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a high German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; o. An analysis of the imaginative characteristics in the legend of sleepy hollow by washington irving.

By March 26, just announced the opening of their retail store at Oak Ridge Highway in Knoxville, TN. This video introduces Washington Irving, the father of American literature. Through his works, like 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' Irving developed a sophisticated yet.

Detailed analysis of Characters in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Learn all about how the characters in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow such as Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel contribute to the story and how they fit into the plot.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow | Character Analysis Share. Share. Click to copy Ichabod .

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Analysis