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

Library of America, 1983 - 1126
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.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA
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
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November 20 1802
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December 1 1802 IO LETTER IV December 4 1802
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 (1983)

Washington Irving, one of the first Americans to achieve international recognition as an author, was born in New York City in 1783. His A History of New York, published in 1809 under the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, was a satirical history of New York that spanned the years from 1609 to 1664. Under another pseudonym, Geoffrey Crayon, he wrote The Sketch-book, which included essays about English folk customs, essays about the American Indian, and the two American stories for which he is most renowned--"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." Irving served as a member of the U.S. legation in Spain from 1826 to 1829 and as minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846. Following his return to the U.S. in 1846, he began work on a five-volume biography of Washington that was published from 1855-1859. Washington Irving died in 1859 in New York.