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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a short story of speculative fiction by American author Washington Irving, contained in his collection of 34 essays and short stories entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. Written while Irving was living abroad in Birmingham, England, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was first published in 1820. Along with Irving’s companion piece “Rip Van Winkle”, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity, especially during Halloween because of a character known as the Headless Horseman believed to be a Hessian soldier who lost his head to a cannonball in battle.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Irving’s haunting, macabre stories will give wide-eyed young readers delightful chills. This spooky anthology of timeless tales includes “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the eerie “Rip Van Winkle,” the funny “The Specter Bridegroom,” and “The Devil and Tom Walker.” It’s perfect for Halloween, campfires, or anytime kids want a fun scare!

About the Author

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” (1819) and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820), both of which appear in his collection, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad, and George Washington, as well as several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Alhambra, Christopher Columbus, and the Moors. 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 Chronicle, written under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. After moving to England for the family business in 1815, he achieved international fame with the publication of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., serialized from 1819–20. He continued to publish regularly—and almost always successfully—throughout his life, and just eight months before his death (at age 76, in Tarrytown, New York), completed a five-volume biography of George Washington.

Irving, along with James Fenimore Cooper, was among the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and Irving encouraged American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was also admired by some European writers, including Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Charles Dickens, Francis Jeffrey, and Walter Scott. Also, as the United States’ first internationally best-selling author, Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
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