Washington Irving

By Ian Ustanik

Basic Biographical Info

Author and editor Washington Irving was born in New York City on April 3, 1783. Irving achieved international fame for his fictional works, including the stories Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as for his biographies and historical writings. Irving served as the United States ambassador to Spain and helped to promote international copyright before his death in 1859.


Washington Irving: Biography, Works, And Style

Major Literary Works

Other Literary Works

* The Sketch Book (1822)

* Tales of a Traveler (1824)

* The Conquest of Granada (1829)

* The Alhambra (1832)

* A Tour of the American Prairies (1835)

* The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, USA (1837)

* Bracebridge Hall (1822)

* The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828)

* Voyages and Discoveries of the Companions of Columbus (1831)

* Astoria (1836)

* Life of George Washington (1855-1859)



Common Themes and/or Subject Matter

Irving both experienced and influenced the early stages of Romanticism in America through his descriptions of Nature’s beauty, his utilization of Gothic imagery, and his belief that man was inherently good. All these traits were representative of Romanticism as a whole. Indeed, descriptions of nature are common throughout Irving’s work, being particularly emphasized in such stories as "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.