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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (Classic Illustrated Edition)

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (Classic Illustrated Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Washington Irving , A. Willis
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

* Beautifully illustrated with delightful illustrations from early editions, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. is a collection of 34 absorbing essays and short stories that includes two of Irving's best known works - 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow'.

* Just as accessible and enjoyable for today's readers as they would have been when first published, the novels are some of the great works of American literature and continue to be widely read throughout the world.

* This meticulous digital edition from Heritage Illustrated Publishing is a faithful reproduction of the original text and is enhanced with images carefully selected by our team of professional editors.

About the Author

'Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 - November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors, and the Alhambra. Irving also served as the U.S. minister 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. in 1819. He continued to publish regularly-and almost always successfully-throughout his life, and completed a five-volume biography of George Washington just eight months before his death, at age 76, in Tarrytown, New York. '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, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was also admired by some European writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Francis Jeffrey, and Charles Dickens.' -- Information Courtesy of Wikipedia

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2521 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Heritage Illustrated Publishing (7 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #515,343 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I don't think many people will want to read this book for fun, although, as something to dip into - perhaps in the spirit of its original publication, as a periodical in monthly chunks - it could be just about amusing. Some readers may be interested in Irving as a forerunner of other American writers, or perhaps in what this book has to say about the relationship between English and American literature in the early nineteenth century.
If so, you will find that this edition (Oxford World Classics) is admirably edited, with detailed and interesting notes and an illuminating introduction by Susan Manning. I would definitely recommend it to anyone studying the book as part of a literature course.
The Sketch Book is an account of an apparently light tourist exploration of some aspects of Europe and America as Irving saw them. Not a travelogue in any generally accepted sense, it is, as its name suggests, more like a series of sketches.
Like many Americans before and since, Irving had an ambivalent relationship with Europe and this is what makes his stories of it interesting. However, his descriptions of English customs, places and people will probably seem quaint (at best) to most readers today. In my opinion he is more interesting when he is creating some myths about his own country. This is probably why he is best known for two memorable, and very American, tales - Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, both of which appeared first in The Sketch Book so you can read them here. These are both truly valuable pieces of writing and well worth study.
If you want a rather more fun and up to date take on the subject of an American in England, why not compare this book with Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island? A bit of a jump, I know, but give it a go, it made me think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleepy Hollow - anything but supernatural 28 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was not aware of Sleepy Hollow being a short story (or novella), my husband was and told me it's not about the supernatural - while I was halfway through, wading through a lot of landscape descriptions and budgies of various sizes. I thought it was setting the scene for a scary ghost with the face of Christopher Walken. Well, I was disappointed as it's nothing like it and yet I liked the turn. It's a critique of xxxxxx says my husband. I think he may be right, or perhaps I should read it again. If anyone, like me, walks into this thinking the story is like the cinematic version, you'll be disappointed, perhaps pleasantly so.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars what am I doing wrong with this? 17 April 2012
By Lesley
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this so that I could read the stories in any order, just like a poetry collection I've bought and also another collection of short stories. Wrong! I want to read The Legend Sleepy Hollow. It's the penultimate story. I can't highlight it to select it, I have to click each page until I get to it. Sorry, life's too short. Very peeved.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok 19 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Same old problem with purchasing art books on line without being able to physically flick through them first to check that the content is suitable
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful collection of observations, essays, and stories. 14 Nov 2004
By Monika - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I must admit I bought this book solely out of a desire to read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," probably the work Irving is most well-known for today. Every year on Halloween, when I was growing up, a small group of friends and I would watch the old Disney cartoon version of the story while we sorted through our candy. More recently, I fell in love with the 1999 live action adaptation "Sleepy Hollow" starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci. I figured it was about time I read the original story to see how these two films stack up in comparison. The rest of the material in the book was of secondary interest to me in making my purchase, but having now read it I can say that, while it wasn't quite what I expected, it was well worthwhile.

The title is both apt and misleading by turns: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other stories in the Sketch Book." The use of the term "other stories" led me to believe that it would be just that - a collection of short fiction stories. Not so. There are three pieces in the book which would fit this description - "Rip Van Winkle," "The Specter Bridegroom," and the aforementioned "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" - but the rest is a conglomeration of various other types of writing. The title "Sketch Book" is very appropriate. Irving has, in essence, provided us with a series of short, literary "sketches" on a variety of subjects and in a variety of styles. The topics vary, but they are also arranged in such a way that one usually flows smoothly into the next, lending a sense of continuity despite the variability of material covered.

A large percentage of the book is devoted to the author's observations on life in England, himself, though an American, having spent 17 years there. Some are purely observational, and some have elements of fiction and imagination woven in, as is the case with "The Mutability of Literature," an interesting little piece in which Irving imagines a conversation between himself and an old book. Irving also occasionally ventures into the realm of satire. Other topics he explores include the differences between America and England, the role of women, English funeral traditions, Christmas, love, etc. He also did travel pieces, including the interesting "Stratford on Avon," which tells of his exploration of places connected with the life of William Shakespeare. Toward the end there are two pieces discussing the lot of Native Americans - not politically correct by today's standards, but offering an interesting insight on the mindsets of the time.

I should probably take a little time to discuss "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" itself, since it was my primary motivation for purchasing the book and, I suspect, will be what draws most other modern readers to it as well. If you've only seen the 1999 movie version, do NOT expect anything remotely similar. The old Disney cartoon is much more accurate. It is actually a very short story - about 32 pages in length. Ichabod Crane is a schoolmaster (not an investigator as in the 1999 movie) in the town of Sleepy Hollow, and falls for the young and lovely Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina, however, is also being courted by a rival suitor, Brom Van Brunt. Following a town "quilting frolic" at which many tales of local superstition are told, including that of the Headless Horesman, Ichabod sets out into the night alone, is beset by a headless rider before he reaches is destination, and is never seen in Sleepy Hollow again. It is left up to the reader to determine what happens to him.

The language of the book is antiquated, to be sure, having been composed in 1820, but it is not difficult to read. Irving's writing is very warm and inviting. He does tend to paint things rather romantically, and the England he shares with us is not the England of the Industrial Revolution during which the book was written, but this almost makes it more appealing as it opens up room for imagination. One must also remember that Irving wrote the pieces in "The Sketch Book" largely to combat his own depression, a condition he suffered from greatly, and he probably needed a cheerful outlet to distract him. We do, nevertheless, get a glimpse of his more melancholy thoughts in pieces like "The Widow and Her Son," "Rural Funerals," and "The Pride of the Village," all of which deal with death.

The last chapter of the book, "L'Envoi," is a closing piece that was included at the end of the second volume of the London edition. It is an interesting collection of the author's thoughts on and explanations for his own work. He makes an interesting note on the ecclectic nature of the book: "His [the author's] work being miscellaneous, and written for different humors, it could not be expected that anyone would be pleased with the whole, but that if it should contain something to suit each reader, his end would be completely answered. Few guests sit down to a varied table with an equal appetite for every dish" (362). Also included is an Afterword by Perry Miller, which offers observations and insights on Irving's life and career.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...bright gems of wisdom and golden veins of language." 22 Nov 2003
By Thomas Moody - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not to be read quickly and to be savored like fine wine, Washington Irving's "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon" is a matchless classic in American Literature. Written in 1820 and destined to become a true American literary pantheon (along with his preceeding work "Diedrich Knickerboker's History of New York), Irving introduces us to timeless observations and wit that ultimately become enduring discources defining early American Literature.
Irving's mantra with this work is a set of observations, indeed "sketches" of his many travels and musings while roaming through England and his home in upstate New York along the Hudson River. The eternal figures of Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane are evoked in this tome and set a literary standard that others aspire to, but one that Irving effortlessly achieves time and again. Not only does this volume frame these two classics, "The Sketch Book" also contains other literary giants such as "The Angler", "John Bull", "Philip of Pokanoket", "The Specter Bridegroom", "The Mutability of Literature" and "The Art of Bookmaking" wherein the essence of Irving's literary style is neatly conveyed in the following:
"Being now in possesion of the secert, I sat down in a corner and watched the process of this book manufactory. I noticed one lean, bilious-looking wight, who sought none but the worst worm-eaten volumes, printed in black letter. He was evidentley constructing some work of profound erudition that would be purchased by every man who wished to be thought learned, placed upon a conspicuous shelf of his library, or laid upon his table, but never read. I observed him, now and then, draw a large fragment of biscuit out of his his pocket and gnaw; whether it was his dinner, or whether he was endeavoring to keep off that exhaustion of the stomach produced by much pondering over dry works, I leave to harder students than myself to determine."
With a style that has emitted diverse emotions (Lord Byron "unashamedly wept" over the melancholy pieces "The Broken Heart", "The Widow and her Son" and "The Rural Funerals") and having enjoyed over a century and a half of eminent popularity, Washington Irving's "aim in life is to escape 'from the commonplace realities of the present' and to lose himself 'among the shadowy grandeurs of the past' ". Readers tuned in to this philosophy continue to enjoy Irving's literary prose (by buying and re-reading his works), and also, by buying and reading, secure his reputation as a master in American Literature. When one has digested "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon" and "Diedrich Knickerboker's History of New York", one has embraced the essential works of Washington Irving and most would then assuredly join me in saying that he rates eminately in American Literary standing.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irving the Satirist 25 Mar 2002
By "calico30" - Published on
There's more to Washington Irving than "Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". Irving's life was an enthralling tale of world travel, high society, and other, bookish diversions. He would have been, judging from the biography provided at the front of the edition I read, one of the most fascinating tale tellers of his day. That comes across in the Sketchbook; but we also get an idea of the wicked, roguish sense of humor, that impeccable feeling for satire that Irving could deploy even upon those people he loved most.
The Sketchbook was written largely in England, at first as Irving was inheriting the family law business from his infirm brother. Rankling under the confines of business that can seem insufferable to the creative mind, Irving turned his full energy to writing. These sketches reflect a man passionate about many things, but who is always doctoring his reminiscences with timeless satire: Literature (The Art of Book Making and the Mutability of Literature, with, respectively, the writers of the new school being assaulted by the old favorites of western lit, and the talking book created in illustration of the fact of history's unkindness to many authors and receptivity to a few)is an abiding love to Irving, with every sketch preceded by a poem from antiquity to the works of Irving's coevals, and the stories themselves can make one believe Irving to have been downright pedantic. For what other reason would he break the flow of innumerable stories with lengthy and often only tangentially relevant allusions. Other stories,such as the delightful Christmas cycle and the numerous sketches with Shakespeare addenda, juxtapose Irving's love and ridicule of the English, especially the rural English, with their antediluvian customs (which Irving commends), and their increasing acquiescence to modern fashion (which he abhors). Ironically, the very people whom he often ridiculed as pretentious, bombastic, destructive, prejudiced, and insensitive, loved him, perhaps because, at the same time, he lauded them for their refinement and their characters so analagous to those of the American people, whom he proclaims a young people, while the British should be something like elder statesmen, big brothers if you will.
The Sketchbook is delightful reading, if you can get past the author's bookishness and often archaic language.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book offers so much 20 April 2003
By Melissa Miller - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was happily surprised by this book. I have only heard of Irving's ghost stories, which are great and why I purchased it. As I was reading the other stories, I was surprised to be reading of distant lands and historical sites as well. Normally, that would not interest me, but Irving's imagination is profound. He can turn a run down liabrary into a living soul who speaks and interacts with us humans. He can turn an ancient palace into a love story. The only thing I had a problem with was the old school language. It did make reading a little more difficult, however I plan on reading this book again, so I'm sure the second time around will be easier and I will be able to come back and turn the 4 stars into 5.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Under-appreciated Gem 17 Oct 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Washington Irving's Sketch Book is not only a literary document, with more import than just what literary scholars can glean, but also an ambitious work by a young author. Like reading any first work, observing the chances Irving takes with these articles and stories is revealing and rewarding.
Sketch Book has more than just scary tales, like Sleepy Hollow, but also has travel pieces, period literary criticism, and insightful social analyses. Irving honestly contrasts British and Continental cultures with nascent American currents. The theme of the book is the uniqueness of American culture, but also its continuities with European trends. The Sketch Book is commentary on a very ambitious scale. It is a model for anyone writing a travel memoir, either non-fiction or fictionalized.
Irving's style is also very ornate, but economical and organized, and his range of subjects is vast. Any one interested in 19th-century history or culture will find this independent work revealing.
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