Notes on American Literature
Notes on American Literature
Important figures: ·Sir Walter Raleigh ? traveler, Elizabeth’s I lover, poet, soldier, died in Tower of London. A famous English writer, poet, courtier and explorer. He was responsible for establishing the second English colony in the New World (after Newfoundland was established by Sir Humphrey Gilbert nearly one year previously, August 5 1583) on June 4, 1584, at Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina. When the third attempt at settlement failed, the ultimate fate of the colonists was never authoritatively ascertained. ·John Winthrop ?
governor of Massachusetts. led a group of English Puritans to the New World, joined the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629 and was elected their first governor on April 8, 1630. Between 1639 and 1648 he was voted out of governorship and re-elected a total of 12 times. Although Winthrop was a respected political figure, he was criticized for his obstinacy (stubborn) regarding the formation of a general assembly in 1634. Calvin’s influence: ·theory of predestination, limited redemption ·self trials to find destiny ·the only hope was faith in God.
·God’s goodwill ? irresistible grace ·faith makes everyone good but good deeds without faith don’t work ·one should follow their destiny, ex. become a farmer, following destiny will make you successful, (wealthy) but you shouldn’t don’t spend money, invest it! ·the holy act of making money for God Puritans were waiting for signs, they read ? books to read’ (the Bible), interpreted it, interpreted history in their own, Puritan way. Anything could be a sign (weather conditions, Indian attacks, diseases, famine, etc. ). Puritan faith:
·grim, no paintings, no music ·sermons were extremely important as they interpreted the Bible Michael Wigglesworth: (1631-1705) ·wrote The Day of Doom (1662) – his poem represents puritan thought of the time. Many of the puritans memorized it and used it to get people back into the church. They used it to teach children and lingering adults. This was the first “best seller”, even though this term wasn’t used yet. It describes the Day of Judgment and the sentencing to punishment in hell of sinners and of infants who died before baptism.
Samuel Danforth: (1626-1674) ·In 1670, he was invited to give the annual election sermon to the General Assembly, which was afterwards printed as A Brief Recognition of New-England’s Errand into the Wilderness (about turning nature into civilization) and is regarded as one of the finest examples of the “jeremiad” form ·jeremiad sermons – explained things form the Bible, created context, it said that future is glorious because we can be better, improve ourselves History interpretations: Cotton Mather: (1663-1728).
·Magnalia Christi Americana (about religious development of Massachusetts, and other nearby colonies in New England from 1620 to 1698); the English title was The Ecclesiastical History of New England (1702) ·he also wrote descriptions of the Salem Witch Trials, in which he criticizes some of the methods of the court and attempts to distance himself from the event; account of the escape Hannah Dustan, one of the most famous to captivity narrative scholars; his complete “catalogus” of all the students that
graduated from Harvard College, and story of the founding of Harvard College itself; and his assertions that Puritan slaveholders should do more to convert their slaves to Christianity ·made a heritage, typological approach 08. 10. 2007 Religious texts: – sermons ? instruments of communication between the minister and the people – theological thesis – chronicles (historical) Mary Rowlandson (1635-7 ? 1678) ·She was a colonial American woman, who wrote a vivid description of the seven weeks and five days she spent living with Native Americans.
Her short book, ·A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682), is considered a seminal work in the American literary genre of captivity narratives. The first phase of heroic period ? first 30 years, after that a serious problem occurred? experience of conversion, but not everyone did it so what to do with their children? 1662 ?
Halfway Covenant (by Senate in Boston) ? salvation is heredity even if they didn’t experienced it. 17th century was more flexible what led to great religious revival in the US, literary phenomenon, outburst of religious emotions ? thus texts. George Whitefield ? a rhetorician, preacher, appealed to American people, triggered religious revival.
The Great Awakening: (1735 ? 1750) ·paradoxical movement, they considered themselves as only true Puritans but they were considered almost heretical movement, their enthusiasm had negative connotations, people thought they should be more rational ·leaders: Jonathan Edwards who wrote a fire-and-brimstone sermon entitled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741), he believed in Protestant dogma, he wanted people to experience real conversion, was against formal sermons, he had a hypnotic way of teaching, appealing to emotions, he was forced to move and live in wilderness, died of smallpox.
He was an active philosopher, tried to combine old religion with Locke’s new approach to religion. ·the movement (the Great Awakening) was the last significant moment to regain control by Puritans Edwards vs. Franklin ? they lived in the same time, enlightenment competing with the old heritage Franklin was born in Boston and he wanted to move to Philadelphia ? city of enlightenment, Quakers, city owned by William Penn. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) ·Autobiography (written in 1771 – 1790)
-Learning model behavior, proposed model human being, he would respond to the beauty of the world, and nature as a living presence of God, story of narrator’s progress from Boston to Philadelphia, devoted himself to common good, he made success count most (financial in your own eyes and prestige in others’ eyes) -12 commandments, it’s good to imitate Jesus and Socrates (although Socrates was a pagan and a suicider) ·Poor Richard’s Almanac -was a yearly almanack published by Benjamin Franklin, who adopted the pseudonym of “Poor Richard” or “Richard Saunders” for this purpose. The publication appeared continuously from 1732 to 1758.
It was a best seller for a pamphlet published in the American colonies; print runs reached 10,000 per year. Franklin, the American inventor, statesman, and publisher, achieved success with Poor Richard’s Almanack. Almanacks were very popular books in colonial America, with people in the colonies using them for the mixture of seasonal weather forecasts, practical household hints, puzzles, and other amusements they offered. Poor Richard’s Almanack was popular for all of these reasons, and also for its extensive use of wordplay, with many examples derived from the work surviving in the contemporary American vernacular.
Addressed to farmers (almanacs), useful information about farming, weather, astronomy, moral advice, many proverbs, (for example “God helps those who help themselves” what is opposite to Puritan philosophy), Do good papers, colonies literature.
Franklin developed practical procedure of self improvement day by day and step by step to be thoroughly rational human being. political literature ? debate between Federalists and anti-Federalists Americans identified with Ancient Rome, that’s why the Declaration was born. The creators were educated, they read Greek, Roman works, developed sense of public virtue, conflict with the British Crown.
Locke, Milton ? inspired colonies to develop ideology to sewer the ties with the Crown + “no taxation without representation” Thomas Paine (1737-1809) ·in 1774 ? came to America as an old man, in 1776 he published Common sense, an anti-British book about Britain illegal financial abuse, appealed to Americans self-confidence, enough to be independent, to shape their destiny by determination, stamina, brains etc. The document denounced British rule and, through its immense popularity, contributed to stimulating the American Revolution.
Hartford Wits (also called the Connecticut Wits) A group of American writers centered around Yale University and flourished in the 1780s and 1790s. Mostly graduates of Yale, they were conservative federalists who attacked their political opponents with satirical verse. Members included Joel Barlow, Timothy Dwight IV, David Humphreys, John Trumbull, Lemuel Hopkins, Richard Alsop, and Theodore Dwight. Works produced by the group include: The Anarchiad (published in the New Haven Gazette from 1786? 1787) The Political Greenhouse (Connecticut Courant, 1799)
The Echo (American Mercury, 1791? 1805) John Trumbull (1756-1843) ·believed in poetics, aesthetics, heroic couplet, satire. Member of a group of artists who painted important American historical events, Trumbull had an insider’s view of the War, serving as a colonel in the Continental Army and aide to Gen. Washington in the American Revolution ·The Progress of Dullness (1772-1773) – n attack in three poems on educational methods of his time (three parts: 1. adventures of Tom Brainless, sent to college, he learns “the art of preaching,”; 2.
Dick Hairbrain, a town fop, the son of a wealthy farmer, ridiculous in dress, empty of knowledge, but profound in swearing and cheap infidelity; 3. Miss Harriet Simper, slender female education, formerly in vogue, and the life of the coquette) Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) ·continued Wigglesworth tradition ·The Conquest of Canaan (pub. 1785) ? ambitious epic in eleven books, about George Washington & war of independence ·Greenfield Hill (1794) – descriptive poem about small New England town, turned by Dwight into ideal place to live, with common wellbeing, where people take care of education, etc.
It’s also a historical poem, about Peacock (Indian tribe) war and massacre of Indians ·Travels in New England and New York (1820-1822) – huge publication, sort of a tourist guide, covers areas of Southern New England. He loved the place and wanted to commemorate it. Joel Barlow (1754-1812) ·graduate of Yale, he died in Zarnowiec in Poland of pneumonia while he was on his journey to the Emperor in France ·Poem, Spoken at the Public Commencement at Yale College (1781) ? becoming American diplomat Barlow witnessed French return to France after the war; ·The Vision of Columbus (1787)?
poem about future glory of America, Columbus visited by an Angel in prison (like in Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius where the author is visited by incarnation of philosophy; parallel of Columbus) ·1807 ? Barlow changed his religious, political option, became enthusiast of the French Revolution; ·1st American poem ? Barlow’s first attempt Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784) ·black slave woman from Senegambia, purchased by Boston Whitley (sort of philanthropist). She managed to learn English, extremely gifted girl, learnt to read (Milton, Homer), write. She was allowed to study, learn Latin.
She started to write good poetry, praised by George Washington, but Jefferson didn’t like her poetry ? point of controversy. She expressed sort of gratitude, makes references to Greek poetry, ancient Rome, neo-classical poetry, giving a testimony that she decided to adopt, make her way to elite, in England she was a well known poet. She died young. 15. 10. 2007 Michel Guillaume (also known as Hector Saint John de Crevecoeur) (1735? 1813) ·French-American writer, fought on the French side in the French and Indian War, then moved to New York State, becoming a naturalized citizen.
After travels through various colonies, he settled on a farm in Orange Co, New York. ·wrote a number of essays and books which portrayed life in the New World ·Letters from an American Farmer (1784) where he describes conditions on the frontier, says that in America men are free, it’s a beautiful, natural country of liberty. Sketches of the 18th century America ? slaves, animals, community, style of slavery practice in the South, American farmers are not happy because of the lies of Independence. Early American novels had to compete with a large amount of English novels. They were also fiction and lies. SENTIMENTAL NOVELS
William Hill Brown (1765-1793) ·The Power of Sympathy (1789) ? first American novel written by first American novelist. Controversial for its time, displays the themes of seduction, betrayal, and incest. It’s a moral novel written in letters. It’s against immoral behavior, sort of educational guide against seduction. Plot: written in correspondence: several letters between friends and lovers. two young people fall in love, but in fact they’re brother and sister. They woman kills herself because she had fallen in love with her own brother and then the man devastated commits suicide. Susanna Haswell Rowson (1762-1824)
·Charlotte Temple (1791) – first American bestseller ? seduced young lady gives a birth to a child, Lucy, then dies. Successful novel but Susanna didn’t make money for it as the novel was published illegally. It is characterized by emphatic moralism and melodramatic language, the idea that women should take care of each other. Written to protect young women from the pain of social rejection, includes theme of seduction and betrayal. Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) ·Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady (1748) – epistolary novel, tells the tragic story of a heroine whose quest for virtue is continually thwarted by her family.
It is commonly cited as the longest novel in the English language. Clarissa is a beautiful and virtuous young lady whose family has become very wealthy only in recent years and is now eager to become part of the aristocracy. Her relatives attempt to force her to marry a rich but heartless man against her will and, more importantly, against her own sense of virtue. Desperate to remain free, she is tricked by a young gentleman of her acquaintance, Lovelace, into escaping with him. However, she refuses to marry him, longing ? unusual for a girl in her time ? to live by herself in peace.
Lovelace, in the meantime, has been trying to arrange a fake marriage all along, and considers it a sport to add Clarissa to his long list of conquests. However, as he is more and more impressed by Clarissa, he finds it difficult to keep convincing himself that truly virtuous women do not exist. The continuous pressure he finds himself under, combined with his growing passion for Clarissa, drives him to extremes and eventually he rapes her.
Clarissa manages to escape from him, but becomes dangerously ill. When she dies, however, it is in the full consciousness of her own virtue, and trusting in a better life after death. Lovelace, tormented by what he has done but still unable to change, dies in a duel with Clarissa’s cousin. Clarissa’s relatives finally realise the misery they have caused, but discover that they are too late and Clarissa has already died. ·Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740) is an epistolary novel.
It tells the story of a maid named Pamela whose master, Mr. B. , makes unwanted advances towards her. She rejects him continually, and her virtue is eventually rewarded when he shows his sincerity by proposing an equitable marriage to her.
In the second part of the novel, Pamela attempts to accommodate herself to upper-class society and to build a successful relationship with him.
The story was widely mocked at the time for its perceived licentiousness and it inspired Henry Fielding (among many others) to write two parodies: Shamela (1741), about Pamela’s true identity; and Joseph Andrews (1742), about Pamela’s brother. Hannah Webster Foster (1758-1840) ·The Coquett,; or, The History of Eliza Wharton (1797) is an epistolary novel. Published anonymously until 1866, 26 years after Webster’s death. It was one of the best-selling novels of its time.
The novel is a fictionalized account of the story of Elizabeth Wharton, the daughter of a clergyman who died after giving birth to a stillborn, illegitimate child at a roadside tavern. Writers and preachers of the day blamed her demise on the fact that she read romance novels, which gave her improper ideas and turned her into a coquette. Foster responded with The Coquette, which provided a more sympathetic portrayal of Wharton and described the difficulties faced by middle-class women. Tabitha Tenney (1762-1837) ·Female Quixotism (1801) ? the heroine goes mad, she has a strange idea of love (all men are the heroes of romances).
She had some candidates but she doesn’t like them. The book is rather a parody. The woman can’t get married, she makes wrong choices, rejects good man and accepts the dishonest ones. HORROR STORIES ? THE GOTHIC NOVEL Ann Radcliffe (1764 – 1823) ·pioneer of the gothic novel. English writer. ·The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) – follows the fortunes of Emily St. Aubert who suffers, among other misadventures, the death of her father, supernatural terrors in a gloomy castle, and the machinations of an Italian brigand. Often cited as the archetypal Gothic novel, Charles B. Brown (1771 – 1810).
·he wanted to be professional writer but people didn’t want to read him. He quitted and became a political writer. He was the first American gothic writer. ·Wieland, or, the Transformation (1798) ? Theodore Wieland is master of a landed estate, which he has inherited from his father, an immigrant from Germany. Wieland Senior was a man of strange inclinations who, having built a temple on a hillock in the grounds, devoted to his own idiosyncratic religion, later dies mysteriously of spontaneous combustion (samospalenie). Wieland inherits his father’s god-fearing disposition.
However the rural idyll he shares with his wife, children, sister and best friend is shattered when he becomes prey to the trickery of Carwin: a mysterious ventriloquist (brzuchomowca) who has moved to the area after leading an undercover life of deception in Europe. Under the influence of religious mania and Carwin’s trickery Wieland kills his wife and children as a demonstration of his obedience to a ‘divine voice’. In court he expresses no remorse for his deeds and later escapes from prison to attempt the life of his sister, before being stopped in his tracks by the command of a final ‘divine voice’, which in reality emanates from Carwin.
Wieland then commits suicide. The story is told as a first person narrative by Wieland’s sister Clara. As the story proceeds her initial calm and rational disposition is sorely tried by the uncanny and bloody events of the story, which reduces her, by the end, to a state of near mania.
Her relations with the deceiver Carwin are ambiguous, veering between attraction and repulsion as the story unfolds. Apparently the novel was based on the true story of a multiple murder which took place at Tomhannock, New York in 1781. ·Ormond; or, the Secret Witness (1799) ? about lady who kills her seducer with a penknife.
The novel engages with many of the period’s popular debates about women’s education, marriage, and the morality of violence, while the plot revolves around the Gothic themes of seduction, murder, incest, impersonation, romance and disease. Set in post-revolutionary Philadelphia, Ormond examines the prospects of the struggling nation by tracing the experiences of Constantia, a young virtuous republican who struggles to survive when her father’s business is ruined by a confidence man, and her friends and neighbors are killed by a yellow fever epidemic.
·Arthur Mervyn (1799) – Arthur Mervyn suffers form yellow fever, discovered by Dr. Stevens who invites him home. Mr. Wortley comes over to Dr. Stevens, recognizes Arthur Mervyn, and reacts with extreme displeasure. Dr. Stevens demands an explanation. Mervyn begins to tell his story. This is the frame, nearly three quarters of the book bring Mervyn’s adventures up to this moment in time. ·Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799) – The story of a young man who sleepwalks each night and is a threat to himself and others, unable to control his baser passions.
Set outside Philadelphia in 1787, the book is a metaphor for the founding of a new nation, but can be read on a literal level as an American “Gothic” novel. Placed in the middle of wilderness. Young man wakes up in a dark hotel room, he doesn’t know how he got there, he has a tomahawk. Kills a panther and eats it raw. Eventually returns home. Isaac Mitchell (1835-1893) ·Alonzo and Melissa (1804) ? gothic castle on Long Island. Explanation that the castle was built by Puritans. ADVENTURE NOVELS Royall Tyler (1757-1826)
·The Algerine Captive (1797) – about a Harvard-educated American schoolteacher turned doctor, who was captured by Barbary (the Algerians) pirates in 1788 and sold into slavery in the City of Algiers. Description of conditions in which black slaves were kept on ships. At the end the character returns to USA. ·The Contrast (1790) – is an American play in the tradition of the English Restoration comedies of the seventeenth century; it takes its cue from Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, a British comedy of manners that had revived that tradition a decade before.
Royall uses the form to satirize Americans who follow British fashions and indulge in ‘British vices’. Hugh Henry Brackenridge (1748-1816) ·Modern Chivalry: Containing the Adventures of Captain John Farrago and Teague O’Regan, His servant (1792) is a rambling, satirical American novel. The book is arguably the first important work of fiction about the American frontier and called “to the West what Don Quixote was to Europe”. “a more thoroughly American book than any written before 1833. ” The model of modern chivalry was Don Quixote – they travel all over US.
Cultural change was in Boston or around Boston in 18th century. New cultural force ? Unitarianism. Dutch Bishop, rejected the dogma of the predestination, unificated the Great Trinity to one God Father. Unitarians believed that people can improve themselves without grace of God. New, much more optimistic model of human being began. Sermons ? people should show likeness to God by practicing virtues, trying to be good. Henry Ware – educated at Harvard College, Professor at Harvard, precipitating a controversy between Unitarians and more conservative Calvinists.
He took part in the formation of the Harvard Divinity School and the establishment of Unitarianism there in the following decades, publishing his debates with eminent Calvinists in the 1820s. William Emerson – In 1804, Emerson founded the Anthology Club, a Boston literary society, and wrote articles for the club’s The Monthly Anthology. This publication was the forerunner of the North American Review, America’s leading literary journal, and the Club’s reading room led to the founding in 1807 of the Boston Athenaeum.
Joseph Stevens Buckminster – Upon his graduation, he became minister of the Brattle Street Church in Boston, and quickly launched an almost legendary career of eloquent preaching, biblical scholarship, and literary production which set the tone for the pattern of the minister as a man of letters. In 1801 he traveled to Europe and returned with books. He was the most brilliant member of the Anthology Club, an early editor of the Monthly Anthology, and in 1811 was appointed Dexter Lecturer at Harvard where he occupied the first Chair in Scripture. Buckminster’s influence on his contemporaries was striking.
His mastery of the emerging New Criticism from German Biblical scholars led to his rational investigation of the Bible, subjecting its text to the same scrupulous scholarly investigation given other texts from antiquity. Founded in Boston in 1815, The North American Review (NAR) was the first literary magazine in the United States, and was published continually until 1940, when publication was suspended due to World War II. The Review’s first editor, William Tudor (1779-1830), and other founders had been members of Boston’s Anthology Club, and launched The North American Review to foster a genuine American culture.
In its first few years it was published poetry, fiction, and miscellaneous essays on a bi-monthly schedule, but in 1818 it became a quarterly with more focused contents intent on improving society and on elevating culture. The Review promoted the improvement of public education and administration, with reforms in secondary schools, sound professional training of doctors and lawyers, rehabilitation of prisoners at the state penitentiary, and government by educated experts.
Its editors and contributors included such literary and political New Englanders as John Adams, George Bancroft, Nathaniel Bowditch, William Cullen Bryant, Lewis Cass, Edward T. Channing, Caleb Cushing, Richard Henry Dana, Alexander Hill Everett, Edward Everett, Jared Sparks, George Ticknor, Gulian C. Verplanck, Daniel Webster. 22. 10. 2007 Norton Anthology ? early times, complaining about American literature, being poor, inferior to British, what should be done to improve Madame de Stael (1766-1817) ·quickly translated into English, pub. in New York; as a French-speaking Swiss author living in Paris and abroad.
She influenced literary tastes in Europe at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries Walter Cherning ? in North American review, tried to apply Madame’s ideas to American context The Analectic ? literary magazine There was no a really popular, one author in American unknown for Europe (in literature) until Irving. Washington Irving (1783 – 1859) ·One of the first noted American authors to be highly acclaimed in Europe during his life time, Irving was a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction. He wrote numerous short stories, biographies, histories, and tales of his travels.
His characters Ichabod Crane and Rip van Winkle are now icons of popular American culture, and many of Irving’s works have inspired adaptations to the stage and film. ·Washington, while born sickly, was a mischievous and adventuresome young man, sneaking out at night to attend plays and frustrating his pious parents, especially his father. He roamed the city and environs, dreaming of far-off places–dreams that were partly fueled by one of his favourite books, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Travelling would become a life-long passion. Although he was not an avid student, he studied law and became a clerk.
·Suffering from ill-health off and on for many years, in 1804 Irving set sail from New York Harbour, the first of many trips abroad: he was going to a spa in Bordeaux, France to treat a lung ailment. He learned French, made many friends, travelled through Europe. In 1806 he returned to America. ·with his brother William and James Kirke Paulding created a semi-monthly periodical World of New York to compete with the more sombre news publications of the day. While it was short-lived The Salmagundi Paper; or, the Whim-Whams and Opinions of Laucelot Langstaff, Esq. And Others.
(1809) was met with great success. The Jonathan Swift-like satire and tongue-in-cheek pokes at politics, culture, and society was “to instruct the young, reform the old, correct the town, and castigate the age. ” ·The Salmagundi Papers (1809) – satirical work by Washington Irving (under the pen name Diedrich Kinckerbocker), with the title being derived from the dish. The work is nowadays remembered especially for first popularizing the sobriquet Gotham for New York City. ·In a similar vein Irving composed his first novel, Knickerbocker’s History of New York (1809).
A burlesque and comprehensive weaving of fact and fiction, his “History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty” is narrated by Diedrich Knickerbocker and won Irving much acclaim at home and abroad. ·Irving’s short stories, first printed in America under his pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon between the years 1819-20 were collected in The Crayon Papers and The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. They contain two of Irvings’ most famous tales: Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. These stories were wildly popular in America and soon too in Europe.
·His next novel was Bracebridge Hall, or, The Humorists, A Medley (1822). Published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon, centers on an English manor, its inhabitants, and the tales they tell. Interspersed with witty, evocative sketches of country life among the English nobility is the well-known tale “The Stout Gentleman” and stories based on English, French, and Spanish folklore, vividly recounted with Irving’s inimitable blend of elegance and colloquial dash. They include Dolph Heyliger the story of a New Yorker who encounters a haunted house, ghosts, and a buried treasure.
·It was followed by Tales of a Traveller (1824), which Irving considered one of his finer works. A last experiment with fiction before he turned to the writing of history, biography, and adaptation of folktales. Arranged in four sections, the miscellany of short fiction reveals elements of comedy and melodrama new to Irving’s work. The first three groups of stories have a European background, while the final five stories, supposedly “found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker,” are set in New York and feature pirates and buried treasure.
·In 1826 Irving moved to Madrid, Spain, where he set to writing his highly lauded The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828), Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada (1829), and Tales of the Alhambra (1832) – rich compendium of tales, deftly interwoven with historical accounts and picturesque sketches, was assembled from Spanish and Moorish folklore, history, guidebooks, and anecdotes of Irving’s experiences among the local residents.
The forty-nine pieces range from stories based on Granada’s colorful history to graceful vignettes of its contemporary scene, from romantic descriptions of the local architecture and terrain to medieval tales of the supernatural. ·Astoria: Anecdotes of an enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains (1836). “…. I have felt anxious to get at the details of their adventurous expeditions among the savage tribes that peopled the depths of the wilderness. ” It explores Irving’s impressions from travels in Canada and America as guest of John Jacob Astor’s Northwest Fur Company.
Irving expresses his sympathy to the displaced, and dispossessed ‘savage’ Native American Peoples in such stories as “Philip of Pokanoket”, “Traits of Indian Character”, and “Origin of the White, the Red, and the Black Men”. first American Literary Account of the Wild West, surprised that his view is different from Ch. Browning’s (who portrayed the Westerners as wild animals). Irving portrays them as human, describes buffalo hunting (exaggerated a bit as he describes himself hunting).
Counts as the earliest literary description of the West. ·The Adventures of Captain Bonneville (1837) – Drawing on Bonneville’s own journals, Washington Irving chronicles the exploits and adventures of Captain James Bonneville, one of the earliest explorers of the American West, detailing his various journeys with mountain man Joseph Rutherford Walker; their discovery of Yosemite, Walker Pass, and the Bonneville Salt Flats; and life among the Native Americans and trappers of the West.
·Irving’s last finished work, something he had been working on for many years but kept putting aside for other more pressing projects is his Life of George Washington (1859). ·The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) – The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a lanky schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, only daughter of a wealthy farmer.
As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who lost his head to a cannonball during “some nameless battle” of the American Revolutionary War and who “rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head. ” Crane disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was “to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related.
” ·Rip Van Winkle (1819) – The story of Rip Van Winkle is set in the years immediately before (the early to mid-1770s) and after the American Revolutionary War (the early to mid-1790s). Rip Van Winkle, a villager of Dutch descent, lives in a nice village at the foot of New York’s Catskill Mountains. An amiable man whose home and farm suffer from his lazy neglect, he is loved by all but his wife. One autumn day he escapes his naggi.