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Example research essay topic: Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism Legend Of Sleepy Hollow - 1,408 words

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Washington Irving, a writer of supernatural feats and one of Americas first great writers of satire, wrote during the end of the Revolutionary and Early National period through the end of the Romantic period. Washington Irving was born into a family of eleven children on April 3 1783 in the Dutch part of New York City. His father was named William Irving, the originally family name was Irvine, and his mother was Sarah Sanders, from a family of English rectors. After his parents were married, his father immigrated to America alone, fought in the American Revolution, and named his last-born child after his commander-in-chief (American 405).

He was the favorite among the family while growing up because of his cheerful, kind, and sweet-natured personality even though he was always overcoming some kind of misfortune (Compton's). His parents pushed his education but he cared little for it (Websters). He attended a half dozen private schools, which did not meet his parents expectations. He was an excellent reader from spending time in his fathers library. For health reasons he did not attend college at Columbia, but in 1798 he started studying law at a local firm.

Irving soon left this to write for his brothers paper and in 1804 his brothers sent him abroad when he received tuberculosis (American). In 1807 Irving's literary career began when he, his brother and James Kirke Paulding published Salmagundi, a series of papers. Then he wrote A History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker that was at first a guidebook but then a comic history of Dutch New York. In 1815 he moved to England to run his brothers mercantile firm, but the failure of the business and meetings with Sir Walter Scott convinced him to write for a living. Through 1819 and 1820 The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. was published in London.

This was his first taste of fame. Throughout his travels he accumulated many travel notes to publish the sequel, Bracebridge Hall. Tales of a Traveller in 1824 was produced after a visit to Germany (Websters). Until 1932 when Irving returned to America, he wrote The Life and Voyages of Columbus in 1828 when he went to Madrid. This happens to be his best biographical and historical productions. From 1829 to 1832 he represented the United States Legation in London as the secretary.

In 1832 he went on an expedition to the Osage and Pawnee Indian tribes. From this trip grew Astoria and many other western works (American). When returning from this trip, he bought an estate near Tarrytown called Sunnyside. He lived with two of his brothers and several nieces (American). But in 1842 he was appointed to serve as U. S.

minister to Spain for four years, upon finishing this he permanently resided to Sunnyside (Websters). He enthusiastically began his finally works of Mahomet and Life of Washington that ended in exhaustion. This is believed to be the cause of his heart attack at the age of seventy-six on November 28, 1859 (American). Washington Irving is believed to be the Father of American Literature since he was the first of all the giants in the nineteenth century who all eventually overtopped him (American). Irving was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1900 because of some innovative ness, occasional brilliance, and considerable historical significance. The unevenness of his work did not set him back any (Websters).

Washington Irving is a writer described as a genius who was able to bear his faults (Dana 239). His skepticism about his writing bought him fear of public disapproval and he was not sure that he had an ability to write with creative energy (Rubin-Dorsky 222). Irving is a man who is easily seen through by his humor and sentiment; his nature was gay with a dash of melancholy and his inner thoughts and literary methods were simple (Warner 41). Throughout all of his works he sauntered through his writing always making sketches and discussing his characters in a cordial manner (Pattern 243). Irving shows his faults through his use of secondary sources and that his emotional experiences aided him in creating fiction (Hoffman, A Century of Commentary 354).

Many of his works revolved around authentic settings with local characters and fabrications from his own imagination (Rode's 247). In the work of John Bull and other works he assiduously balanced the characters faults with an appealing trait (Leary 253). Throughout all of Irving's major works he used the narrative devices of personas. In his earliest works he wrote as Jonathon Old style who wrote with a wild and reckless attitude (Evans 983). In his second period he was Diedrich Knickerbocker who was calmer and a stylish and confident amateur. His third and final persona was the most creative and mature in his expression of literature.

Geoffrey Crayon began his greatest writing in The Sketch Book and continued through his later works of Bracebridge Hall and so on. Crayon expresses Irving in many ways while letting him re-experience the emotional traumas and frustrated hopes of his recent past, therefore; the emphasis is always on Crayon (Rubin-Dorsky 232). Crayon was buffer between Irving and the world which solved an emotional need and led to a new genre of American literature (218). In the stories he tells Crayon is the person who is always finding the juicy gossip of a town, but he never gets involved with the oncoming conflicts. This process reinstates Irving's sense of isolation (233).

Geoffrey Crayons role cannot be overstated because he was his ticket to professional authorship since he felt that he had no legitimacy as a writer (233). While reading Irving's works eventually you will notice that each story is parallel to either the one before it or a few stories before that one. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Spectre Bridegroom is a celebration of the bounty of the United States while contrasting to John Bull and The Pride of the Village (Bowden 72). In both stories two men fall in love with the daughter of a wealthy man and so they will win the girl Starkenfaust and Brom Bones both follow a superstitious tale and become spectres. Every characteristic about each of them is exactly the same even down to the color of horse they ride, which happens to be black (73).

Each of these stories have a great effect because the legendary is so firmly interwoven with solid realism (Snell 246). In The Story of a Young Robber and Dolph Heyliger the exterior of the stories are the same, both taking place in the Highlands, duplicating its events and imagery (103). The similarities are the close encounters with the vipers, the protagonist threatening the life of the innocent, the retaliation, and being deceived and the missing of the aim. Irving characterizes each character to represent something in the growing world. His basic pattern is the practical receives the win and the impractical faces defeat (Martin 339).

In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Brom Bones is the first depiction of the frontiersman the expresses American culture (Magill 1249). But in the characters of Brom Bones and Ichabod the popular imagination already half created these figures (Hoffman, Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism 384). He has every characteristic that makes him so great. He is big and strong, self-confident, tough, gifted, relaxed, and knows the wilderness and settlements well. He contains a great knowledge and skill in horsemanship and is always wearing his fur cap with its flaunting fox's tail (Bowden 73). He also tries to have a good sense of humor.

As you know Brom Bones won the heart of Katrina which is a victory for common sense and hard-headed practicality over imaginative indulgence. Brom Bones won the girl because his was jealousy and in love and Ichabod only knew fear and ambition (Hoffman, A Century of Commentary 353). Now Ichabod was seen as a typical Yankee who tried to ward off evil by singing psalms, and read Cotton Mather (Bowden 73). He is portrayed as a comic figure that is also emphasized in a childlike quality. Ichabod is a petite little man that is now to eat and digest anything, meaning that he is always and increasingly gullible (Martin 337). Dolph Heyliger is the successor to Rip, Ichabod, and Brom Bones, since he contains the better qualities of energy, courage, imagination, and the most important, being able to make spectres work for him (Current-Garcia, Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism 3...


Free research essays on topics related to: washington irving, legend of sleepy hollow, irving, nineteenth century literature criticism, american literature

Research essay sample on Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

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