Book Cover
Title Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories
Series ---
Author Washington Irving
Cover Art ---
Illustrations Susanne Suba
Publisher Nelson Doubleday, Inc - 1955
First Printing ---
Category Classic
Warnings Some non politically correct words used

Main Characters

See below

Main Elements See below

  • "Rip Van Winkle"
  • "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
  • "Doplh Heyliger"
  • "The Legend of the Storm-Ship"
  • "Kidd the Pirate"
  • "The Devil and Tom Walker"
  • "Philip of Pokanoket"
  • "The Early Experiences of Ralph Ringwood"
  • "The Phantom Island"
  • "The Adalantado of the Seven Cities"

~~~ No book summary ~~~

I was almost 30 by the time I got around to reading this Classic collection of stories. I had believed myself quite familiar with the first two stories, but apparently I was wrong!

Did you know that Rip Van Winkle only slept 20 years, not 100? And having been brought up with Disney's version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (which was surprisingly accurate to the story), I always believe Ichabod Crane did indeed meet up with the Headless Horseman. I was slightly disappointed that the story ended with proof otherwise. Of the other stories I knew nothing beforeheand.

Washington Irving, like many writers of this time, can be very wordy, and plots can be a little slow moving. But that was exactly the charm of the stories, he had a way with words. He wasn't just writing stories, he was a true story-teller. Unfortunately the book gave no author biography, and I was curious as to when he wrote these stories. In some of them, he refers to "pet Negroes", but he wasn't being derogatory, in truth, he was often complementary. This was very much so in the story of Philip of Pokanoket. Don't let the name Philip fool you, Philip was a Native American. And yet, this tale was told from a sympathetic point of view. Irving obviously believed the Indians, though perhaps a little savage, were in the right to kill the colonists, and the British were actually the bad guys, performing all sorts of atrocities on the Indians who were merely attempting to keep their land from being swallowed up by the invading white men.

Thus I was suprised that he was born in the late 1700's, that he should have so open a view on the different peoples and races. But, just as a warning, if you feel a book that uses the word "Negro" even in a historically correct context is racist, then you should avoid his writings, or at least find some edited version. I know people can be touchy about this, and though modern writings should avoid this, books written in a certain time period used a certain terminology. It is part of our history and shouldn't be swept under the carpet.

But you're probably here to hear more about the fantasy aspects of his writings. And indeed, ghosts, and hobgoblins and mischevious little people abound. Now I don't know how many of these legends were actually spoken of during that time period in New York state and its surroundings, and how many just came out of Irving's imagination. I'm also not familiar enough with New England history to tell which of the stories are based on real people, and which, no matter how down to earth the story, is just a flight of fancy.

Read these stories. I don't think anyone can claim to be well versed in the lore of ghosts and fantasy if one has never actually read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Everyone knows what it is, but has everyone actually read it? It's like saying you are a vampire expert but never read Dracula. Sure you could watch the movie, but they never get it quite right.

"Rip Van Winkle"
Main Characters: Rip Van Winkle
Main Elements: Hobgoblins
First Published: ---
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
Main Characters: Ichabod Crane
Main Elements: Ghosts
First Published: ---
"Doplh Heyliger"
Main Characters: Doplh Heyliger, Anthony Vander Heyden
Main Elements: Ghosts
First Published: ---
"The Legend of the Storm-Ship"
Main Characters: Doplh Heyliger, Anthony Vander Heyden
Main Elements: Ghost, hobgoblins
First Published: ---
"Kidd the Pirate"
Main Characters: Captain Kidd
Main Elements: Pirates
First Published: ---
"The Devil and Tom Walker"
Main Characters: Tom Walker, the Devil
Main Elements: Devils
First Published: ---
"Philip of Pokanoket"
Main Characters: Philip of Pokanoket
Main Elements: Historical account
First Published: ---
"The Early Experiences of Ralph Ringwood"
Main Characters: Ralph Ringwood
Main Elements: Historical account? Apparently based on a real person of another name
First Published: ---
"The Phantom Island"
Main Characters: None
Main Elements: Ghosts
First Published: ---
"The Adalantado of the Seven Cities"
Main Characters: Don Fernando de Ulmo
Main Elements: Ghosts
First Published: ---

Posted: March 2007


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