Comparing Rip Van Winkle And The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

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Washington, the last name of one of the most significant figures in American History, George Washington, who served as both the leader of the Continental army and the 1st president of the United States. This name was also the name chosen on April 3rd, 1783 in New York City, when Washington Irving was born. Irving would meet his namesake as a child in 1789. Years later this boy would be called “the Father of American Romanticism” and would travel around the US and Europe. Irving’s most famous short stories focused on in this paper, “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” are considered to be the first pieces of Romanticism in American Literature, the themes of which are still found in modern day American storytelling. Irving…show more content…
He used American settings and discussed American concerns such as the loss of traditions and the American dream”. ( Washington Irving’s works marked the beginning of uniquely American Romanticism in American literature. “For Irving, English romanticism was always an idealization of the past, whereas American romanticism lay in its promise for the future. In his preface to The Sketch Book, Irving presents his narrator as a genial, cultivated traveler who fondly describes the picturesque qualities of the English countryside: ‘Europe held forth all the charms of storied and poetical association. There were to be seen the masterpieces of art, the refinements of highly cultivated society, the quaint peculiarities of ancient and local custom. My native country was full of youthful promise; Europe as rich in accumulated treasures of age.’ In contrast, the narrator is drawn to the images of the wild, the free and the primeval. These images are based on his sense of the American landscape: ‘I visited various parts of my own country…On no country have the charms of Nature been more prodigally lavished. Her mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver; her mountains, with their bright aerial tints; her valleys teeming with wild fertility; her tremendous cataracts, thundering in their solitudes; her boundless plains, waving with spontaneous verdure; her broad, deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the ocean; her trackless forests where vegetation puts forth all its magnificence; her skies kindling with the magic of summer clouds and glorious sunshine--no, never need an American look beyond his own country for the sublime and the beautiful of natural scenery.’” (Phillips,

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