Saturday, November 28, 2009

Washington Irving

Author Washington Irving passed on November 28, 1859. Irving was the son of William Irving, originally from Orkney, who arrived in Manhattan with his English wife Sarah Sanders about 1763. Washington was born in April of 1783, just as the Revolutionary War was ending. Irving is named for American hero General George Washington. Irving's last contribution as a writer was his five volume "Life of George Washington" (1855-1859).

Irving is probably best known for his stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". These stories appeared in his "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (the Sketch Book)". This work was published in London, and became enormously popular with Europeans. Publication was facilitated by Sir Walter Scott.

Irving met Scott in 1817 through an introduction by author Thomas Campbell. Scott wrote to Campbell afterwards to thank him for one of the best and pleasantest acquaintances he had met in many a day. When Irving couldn't find a publisher for his "Sketch Book", Scott introduced him to his publisher John Murray, who gave Irving L200 for the copyright, later doubling that figure.

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