Washington Irving: History, Tales & Sketches (LOA #16): The Sketch Book / A History of New York / Salmagundi / Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent.

Library of America, 15/11/1983 - 1144
Washington Irvings career as a writer began obscurely at age seventeen, when his brothers newspaper published his series of comic reports on the theater, theater-goers, fashions, balls, courtships, duels, and marriages of his contemporary New York, calledLetters of Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent. Written in the persona of an elderly gentleman of the old school, these letters captured his fellow townsmen at play in their most incongruous attitudes of simple sophistication. Irvings next work,Salmagundi, written in collaboration with his brother William and James Kirke Paulding, and published at irregular intervals in 180506, continued this roguish style of satire and burlesque.

A History of New York
, publicized by an elaborate hoax in the local newspapers concerning the disappearance of the elderly Diedrich Knickerbocker, turned out to be a wild and hilarious spoof that combined real New York history with political satire. Quickly reprinted in England, it was admired by Walter Scott and Charles Dickens (who carried his copy in his pocket). In later years, as Irving revised and re-revised his History, he softened his gibes at Thomas Jefferson, the Dutch, and the Yankees of New England; this Library of America volume presents the work in its original, exuberant, robust, and unexpurgated form, giving modern readers a chance to enjoy the version that brought him immediate international acclaim.

The Sketch Book
contains Irvings two best-loved stories, Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It also includes many sketches of English country and city life, as well as nostalgic portraits of vanishing traditions, like the old celebrations of Christmas.

A writer of great urbanity and poise, acutely sensitive to the nostalgia of a passing age, Washington Irving was a central figure in Americas emergence on the international scene.

is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nations literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, Americas best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

November 15 1802
November 20 1802
December 1 1802 IO LETTER IV December 4 1802




Best known for such classic tales as "Rip Van Wrinkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,"Washington Irving, (1783-1859) was America's first internationally recognized man of letters.

James W. Tuttleton(19021996), volume editor, was chairman of the Department of English at New York University and a co-editor ofThe Gotham Library. His books on American literature includeThe Novel of Manners in AmericaandThomas Wentworth Higginson.