The Sketch-Book
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The Sketch-Book

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  30,914 ratings  ·  269 reviews
In The Sketch-Book (1820-21), Irving explores the uneasy relationship of an American writer to English literary traditions. In two sketches, he experiments with tales transplanted from Europe, thereby creating the first classic American short stories, Rip Van Winkle, and The Legend of SleepyHollow. Based on Irving's final revision of his most popular work, this new edition...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published July 11th 1996 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1819)
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I was a victim of marketing with this book: If it had been The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (the original title) on the cover I almost certainly would have passed it by. However, I could not miss out on the book holding Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, two stories whose fame outstrips that of their author by a few miles (at least in Britain).

See the complete review here:
N.T. Embe [Against GR Censorship]
Sep 11, 2011 N.T. Embe [Against GR Censorship] rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those looking for the origins of some old legends, and the enjoyment of some pretty good stories!
Recommended to N.T. Embe by: American Literature of the 19th Century (Class)
Shelves: education
It's been a long time since I had the pleasure of sitting down and reading pieces of literature written in a time before these last couple of decades, and this one did not disappoint. Mind you, while I'm reading this for my American Literature of the 19th Century class (English Major~ Who'd have guessed it~), it's a really delicious experience to be able to put down the more rampant outlandish stories that so often capture the minds of the youths today and read something that was trying to estab...more
He is called "America's first man of letters," one of the first American writers to separate literary fiction from public discourse; playing mentor to the likes of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allen Poe.

There are a lot of reasons I admire Irving's writings. One reason is I respect the tenacious writer, Irving, who only wanted to be left alone to write. He wasn't afraid to tell his family this after their firm collapsed, or to tell it to the editors who offered him jobs instea...more
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow starts off with the narrator describing the town of Sleepy Hollow. The mood is set perfectly, the small town is said to be haunted and the townspeople believe there is such a thing as the Headless Horseman.
Enter Ichabod Crane, who is a schoolteacher and arrives at Sleepy Hollow from Connecticut to teach the townchildren. Ichabod is described as being tall and lanky, with his clothes too large for his thin frame. He also enjoyed reading, singing and flirting with the t...more
Not as scary as I remember, but still a classic October read.

Over the years, I've read, watched, and listened to a number of headless horseman retellings of Irving's tale, which watered down the original story's impact. So while rereading is fun, the experience isn't as good as when I first read it all those years ago (back when I knew very little about genre tropes and urban legends).
Era da tempo che desideravo leggere un libro di Washington Irving. Per la precisione, la voglia mi è venuta la bellezza di 28 anni fa, ossia da quando, leggendo quel libro mitico che è “Comma 22”, mi sono imbattuta in Yossarian che firma i suoi "lavori" di censore alternativamente con il nome di Washington Irving e Irving Washington. Ma non me ne era mai capitata l'occasione.

Vorrei poter dire che il procrastinare la soddisfazione del desiderio ne abbia proporzionalmente aumentato il piacere. Ma...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
I read The Legend of Sleep Hollow and The Tale of the German Soldier. I'd like to read more by him.
Radina Stamenova
Times I did not live in appeal to me, and though I found it kind of challenging reading this in its original language (I’m afraid it’s quite obvious as you can see, English is not my native speech), I think that kept for me the old atmosphere as well. If you expect adventures, actions or something actually happening, you’ll be slightly disappointed – even in the famous “Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” there’s not much, you have already probably heard the whole thing. The fine humour in the s...more
It has been a while since I saw the movie Sleepy Hollow but when I saw this book I had to get it as I seemed to remember I liked the movie, and the book is usually better than the movie.

Sleepy Hollow is the last story in the book, and so I had to read a lot of other ones before I got to it. They seemed to get more and more boring. The stories themselves wasn't necessarily boring, but the way they were written was. My mind started wandering in all of them and I had to re-read whole pages because...more
Nicole Green
It was nice to re-read the stories I had grown up knowing and loving. I also realized, like most movies, they are completely different from the books. I knew the animated version of the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" quite well and as I grew older I fell in love with Tim Burton's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. The book however, wasn't as terrifying as I remembered it to be. But I guess back in the 1800s when Iriving wrote it, things were quite different.

Also in...more
I'll confess that I had no interest in reading this whatsoever, but did so for a challenge. It's mostly a disappointing set of stories.

My copy had:

1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This was the most disappointing of the lot for me. I love the Tim Burton movie, and it's amazing what was done with it now that I know that the story is so slight. Oh, Irving fills it with atmospheric details, enough to put Wordsworth and his daffodils to shame, but it still does not change the fact that the story is.....more
John Wiswell
Aug 17, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classics readers, short story readers, literary readers
Masterworks from one of the pioneers of the American short story, including the classic "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." "Rip Van Winkle," along with several lesser known stories like "The Angler," have aged very well and are very readable literary fiction for something from almost two hundred years ago. Their themes, of cultural change and the people who are lost in it, are prescient today. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" has both examples of dated humor and dated horror, and i...more
I bought this book after I have seen the movie of Sleepy Hollow almost a thousand times, I absolutely love the movie and I really wanted to have the book. This book contains more then just the story of Sleepy Hollow, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all. There were fun little stories, and all of them contained something about Dutch colonists (I'm Dutch) which I enjoyed. The way Irving wrote about them was fun, with some typical stereotype views. All of the stories also had some kind of...more
Kathy Jackson
Decided to read this as it is a classic and not that long so fit into the amount of time I had to read. In the beginning I loved the dialect it was written in - the old English - however, by the time it was done, I was rather tired of it.

It had some wonderfully discriptive lines such as "Though many years has elapsed ince I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I should not still find the same trees and the same families vegatating in its sheltered bosom."

I was disappoi...more
"That's for kids", most people would say.
But more than that, this book is paranormally satisfying and inspiring.
It is surprisingly readable, witty, well-narrated, and unsoapy of dialogues.

I can't rightly say which of the stories is my favorite; one thing's for sure, Irving's stories were simply ahead of his time. And Arthur Rackham's illustrations were amazing.
After visiting Irving's home in the historic Hudson Valley area, I was so completely intrigued by his life and contributions to American literature that I had to purchase this book. It's great to read works besides The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and understand his true genius in more depth. He led an interesting life, which comes to life in his short stories.
How have I not read anything of his before? I loved reading Sleepy Hollow and I never realized Rip Van Winkle only ever fell asleep for 20 years and that half the story is about escaping a nagging wife. Kind of funny. His sketches are well worded and I can feel my vocabulary increasing (yeah!) while still being amused.
While most readers will be familiar with "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", the various less known works collected here are fascinating in the portraits they produce of life in England (Irving's residence at the time of writing and publication). In particular, the Christmas sketches clearly influenced Dickens's own Christmas tales. One of my favorites, which should also be of interest to other members of GoodReads, is "The Mutability of Literature" in which Mr. Irving visits the...more
This isn't the edition I read (which was The Complete Tales of Washington Irving), but it's as close as I can get for purposes of a review--and close enough. Irving of course is best known for Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but he wrote dozens of other short stories. Most were set in contemporary Europe, where he lived for much of his adult life, or in early New York. One wouldn't recommend reading all the stories, which vary widely in quality, but it's fun to leaf through the...more
This combines several stories written by Washington Irving with his observations of many places and situations that he observed in England. Most are quite descriptive of early 1800s English places and customs. Also included are his Rip VanWinkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow stories. Admittedly, these two are strictly American stories. Most everyone is familiar with them but the reading of them brings out details often overlooked or forgotten. In particular, reading Ichabod Crane's flight from...more
Luciana Darce
Tinha separado esse livro para ler para o DL 2012 mês que vem, mas quando comecei a folhear, percebi que estava meio às voltas com propaganda enganosa. Afinal, quando você se depara com um título que fala de alguém sem cabeça, você normalmente espera medo, sangue, cães do inferno e outras variações do tema. Aliás, tendo assistindo o filme com o Johnny Depp, eu esperava no mínimo algumas mortes.

Nada disso aparece no livro de Washington Irving – meu volume, que comprei no stand da Leya na Bienal d...more
Rachel M.
The short stories in this collection are great! It contains "Rip Van Winkle," "The Spectre Bridegroom," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and "The Pride of the Town." However, this collection mainly contains Irving's essays on random topics of the day. While Irving's writing is elegant and his observations are insightful, his choice of topics is poor-he writes about things that no one is interested in-things like the difference between city and country funerals. The sad thing is that Irving is humo...more
This book, although titled and marketed as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories, is actually a reprint of Irving’s The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., a collection of essays, character sketches, and short stories. The notable works in the book are the stories “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Spectre Bridegroom,” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Irving fashions the sketch book as the character, Geoffrey Crayon, commenting on and retelling stories of his homeland England and his new home,...more
Kyle Brinning
The book that I chose to read was “The Sketch Book” written Washington Irving. In “The Sketch Book,” there are 34 separate stories. Some of the stories were easy to follow, some were a little bit harder. The main story that I liked from the book was “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
This story was one of the main reasons I chose to read the book because it was a story that I knew very well to begin with. Yet I could still read it over and over again. In “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” there is a sch...more
The edition I own is published in the 'Collection of British Authors". That's really funny because Sketches of the American(!) about England are often not very kind. He attends to English people a 'literary animosity daily growing up' and writes about English travellers:
It has also been the peculiar lot of our country to be visited by the worst kind of English travellers.
They miss some of the snug conveniences and petty comforts which belong to an old, highly-finished, and over-populous st
Martha Smith
The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (based on Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, who is a lean, lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer, Baltus Van Tassel. As Crane leaves a party he attended at the Van Tassel home on...more
I absolutely loved this book. Each chapter is self-contained, so it is a great book to keep at your bedside to pick up occasionally or when the mood strikes. Aptly named, because the author tackles a wide range of subjects---wherever his fancy takes him. Written in the elegant, descriptive English of an earlier era, this is not a book to breeze through quickly. Here is a man who has one foot in England and one in the New World and appears to hold both in affection. His unhurried ruminations as h...more
I came around to reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow because of my history book. It reads that Irving was the first popular American writer in both America and Britain. I began to wonder what could be so great about this guy’s books from 190 years ago. Among the many short stories in this consequently short story genre book, is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Its protagonist is the lanky schoolmaster of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane. The place of Sleepy Hollow is somewhere in New York, a predominan...more
Paul Haspel
Washington Irving's Sketch Book is framed by two tales so resonant that it's forgivable if the sketches in between don't quite have the same power. Near the beginning is “Rip Van Winkle,” the immortal tale of a man who falls asleep as a British subject, sleeps through the entire American Revolution, and wakes up unaware that he is now a citizen of the United States. Near the end of The Sketch Book, one finds “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” an equally ageless tale of the feckless schoolmaster Icha...more
Okay, so this is a total romanticized piece of literature, but I can't help loving the cheesiness of some of his writing. Sleepy Hollow is by far the best story in this sketchbook (and is much darker than the animated Disney version). There are a few sketches, however, that despite the overenthusiasm, are good examples of the romantic and picturesque in vogue at the time. For instance, "Europe was rich in the treasures of age. Her very ruins told the story of times gone by, and every mouldering...more
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Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He began his literary career at the age of nineteen by writing newspaper articles under the pseudonym, "Jonathan Oldstyle."

In 1809, he published, The History of New York, under his most well known public persona, Diedrich Knickerbocker.

Irving is best known for his short stories, "The Legend of...more
More about Washington Irving...
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Rip Van Winkle Legend Of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle Tales of the Alhambra The Devil and Tom Walker

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