Rip Van Winkle & Other Stories
Author: Washington Irving
9781840221671 | PB | pp. 172 | 2009 | Wordsworth Editions
In “Rip Van Winkle,” Irving makes a profound social comment about the changes that were happening in his America, and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” isn’t just a chilling tale about the Headless Horseman but an enchanting story about two rival suitors.
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Rip van Winkle is an amiable man whose home and farm suffer from his lazy neglect. A familiar figure about the village, he is loved by all except his wife. One autumn day he escapes her nagging to wander up into the mountains, and there after drinking some liquor offered to him by a band of very strange folk, he settles down under a shady tree and falls asleep. He wakes up twenty years later and returns to his village to find that not only is his wife dead but war and revolution have changed many things. He, on the other hand, although older is not appreciably wiser and soon slips back into his idle habits. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells of conscientious schoolmaster Ichabod Crane. Orderly and strict in school, out of school his life is disorderly and his head full of fearful fantasies. He is in love with the beautiful Katrina but has a rival for her hand, a dashing young hero who, together with his prankster friends, plays on Ichabod’s superstitions, notably with the story of a headless horseman who haunts the region. Tragedy strikes when their hapless victim encounters just such an apparition when returning home one dark and especially dismal night. Three equally compelling stories, The Spectre Bridegroom, The Pride of the Village and Mountjoy, complete this collection of classic tales from the inspired pen of Washington Irving, one of America’s greatest writers.
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