Washington Irving

Washington Irving
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Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving served as the U.S. ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846.

He made his literary debut in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning... more »

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  • Who ever hears of fat men heading a riot, or herding together in turbulent mobs?—No—no, 'tis your lean, hungry men who are continually worrying society, and setting the whole community by th...
    Washington Irving (1783-1859), U.S. author. A History of New York, bk. 3, ch. 2 (1809). Written under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker.
  • ''Whenever a man's friends begin to compliment him about looking young, he may be sure that they think he is growing old.''
    Washington Irving (1783-1859), U.S. author. "Bachelors," Bracebridge Hall (1822).
  • The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal—every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep op...
    Washington Irving (1783-1859), U.S. author. "Rural Funerals," The Sketch-Book (1819-1820).
  • There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in travelling in a stage- coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one's position and be bruised in a new pl...
    Washington Irving (1783-1859), U.S. author. Tales of a Traveler, preface (1824).
  • The great British Library—an immense collection of volumes of all ages and languages, many of which are now forgotten, and most of which are seldom read: one of these sequestered pools of obsolet...
    Washington Irving (1783-1859), U.S. author. "The Art of Book-Making," The Sketch-Book (1819-1820).
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