Overall Impression: Some great atmospheric short stories hidden within a cascade of irrelevant non-fiction.
Phew, I am so glad to have finished this book! What a slow journey, at times I didn’t think I was ever going to finish it. I should mention however, that the reason for my negative rating is to do with this specific edition of the book by Collins Classic. The short stories – my original reason for purchasing, were entertaining and historically interesting. I set out only to buy the famous short story Sleepy Hollow but discovered this edition was cheaper. Getting more pages for a better price seemed like a win win at the time. Hm, turns out not so much… the title is clever, it tends to suggest the book will be full of chilling stories when in fact, there are only three (73 pages worth). The rest of the 332 pages are non-fiction, not quite what I had in mind!
Featuring ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’, this collection of inspired essays, stories and sketches established Washington Irving’s reputation as one of America’s foremost authors. Irving’s timeless characters, including Ichabod Crane, Rip Van Winkle and the headless Hessian trooper, jostle for space 31 equally atmospheric and lyrical works in this haunting anthology from one of America’s most distinctive literary voices.
Learning about the author himself was actually one of the most interesting parts of this book! Before I began I had no idea how crucial Washington Irving’s work was to literature, he apparently was one of the first to successfully bridge the gap between America and Europe. He is named as one of the first authors to bring up the idea of copyright to protect author’s work from being plagiarised and was great at using marketing to his advantage. He created the pseudonym Knickerbocker and put up missing person posters suggesting the author had mysteriously disappeared to help gain a buzz of interest around his work. He also created the Christopher Columbus myth Continue reading