“WHETHER we agree or not with the judgment that Washington Irving was the first American man of letters, it is not to be questioned that he was the first American author whose work was received abroad as a permanent contribution to English literature” (W.A.N). The creation of his greatest stories revolve around his personal life in New York and the time after the American Revolution. This time in history was the beginning of imagination. People began to rebel the classical styles of literature, they strived for more imagination and emotions, they began to believe creativity was more powerful than logic and science and used these approaches in their writings (Schwartz). This is known as the Romanticism movement of the 1750’s and was
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This is where he came up with his book, “The Sketch Book”, which was a collection of his greatest short stories (W.A.N). When he returned home the people in America looked highly upon and glorified him for the stories he had created during his stay. He used the history of the America and England, while making his stories enjoyable to read by creating the pieces in a fictional way. These stories became America's folktales (W.A.N). Irvings most famous folktales that are still around today are, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” which was recreated in film by Tim Burton, and “Rip Van Winkle” (“Washington Irving”).
Which “Rip Van Winkle” may be one of the most famous pieces Irving had created, Kenney W. P. states that Irving does not receive the credit he deserves for this folktale (Kenney). Kenney argues that Rip, the main character, is a reflection of Irving himself and the setting is an overview of the American Revolution. He believes the use of Rip, was Irvings way of displaying his own personal point of view, but not until Rip had awakened 20 years later in mass confusion (Kenney). By Irving placing himself in his fictional character, while using the pen name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, that creates an ironic detachment for the readers. Despite these feelings that people may receive, Kenney remains to praise Irving for creating such a story, from the sources of an old German