Washington Irving

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Washington Irving (1783-1859) was a nineteenth century American diplomat [1] and fiction writer, best known for his story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the shorter Rip Van Winkle.

He has been called the "Father of the Short Story." He was "first among American writers to obtain universal recognition abroad." [2] When he was 26, his 17-year-old fiancée died.[3] He spent 17 years in Europe.[4]

"Irving ... loved to write historical fiction under the guise of history. His misrepresentations of the history of early New York City and of the life of Washington were topped by his history of Christopher Columbus." [5]

See also


  1. He had been a competent secretary and chargé d'affaires of the American Legation in London from 1829 to 1832 and a skillful and shrewd Minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846. (Austin McC. Fox, Introduction to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other selection from Washington Irving, Simon & Schuster, 1962)
  2. Washington Irving, Bibliomania
  3. Washington Irving, Books and Writers
  4. Washington Irving. Excerpted from White on Red, Eds. Black, Nancy B. and Bette S. Wiedman, New York; Kennikat Press, 1976.
  5. Jeffrey Burton Russell: "The Myth of the Flat Earth" August 4, 1997 at Westmont College for the American Scientific Affiliation Conference