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After several months in Paris, Irving returned to England to publish Bracebridge Hallwhich focused on the customs of England. Then he was off again, traveling through Europe until settling in Dresden for six months, after which he lived in Paris from August,until May, When he returned to London, he published the appropriately titled Tales of a Traveller This work was not well received by the critics, however, and caused Irving his first professional disappointment.
Washington Irving Biography Washington Irving, though he wrote extensively throughout his life, is remembered essentially for two short stories. Irving was particularly adept at short-form writing, and many of his earliest works were humorous, often satirical pieces that appeared in literary periodicals. Irving served in the military and fought in the disastrous War of The law quickly bored him, however. Even so, he worked in it in various offices until Irving traveled through Europe from for reasons relating to his health, but also to further his education, like many young people did.
He would use material collected during this trip later in his stories and essays. Upon his return to America and New York City, Irving was readmitted to the bar, but he quickly lost interest in the career that he had never really enjoyed. He turned more seriously to literature.
Washington Irving American author. Learn about Washington Irving, who is credited with being the first American man of letters. Learn More in these related articles: Bread and Cheese Club.
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Washington Irving Biography
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The British surrender at Saratoga brought the French into Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India. As such, he came to be considered the father of his country Muhammad is traditionally said to have been born in in Mecca and to have died in in Medina, where he had been forced to emigrate to with Editor Picks is a list series for Britannica editors to provide opinions and commentary on topics of personal interest. He is regarded by most Christians as the Incarnation of God. Washington Irving arrived in New York, after seventeen years abroad, on May 21, That September, he accompanied the U.
Frustrated by bad investments, Irving turned to writing to generate additional income, beginning with A Tour on the Prairiesa work which related his recent travels on the frontier.
The book was another popular success and also the first book written and published by Irving in the United States since A History of New York in Irving made quick work of Astor's project, shipping the fawning biographical account titled Astoria in February During an extended stay at Astor's, Irving met the explorer Benjamin Bonnevillewho intrigued Irving with his maps and stories of the territories beyond the Rocky Mountains.
These three works made up Irving's "western" series of books and were written partly as a response to criticism that his time in England and Spain had made him more European than American. InIrving purchased a "neglected cottage" and its surrounding riverfront property in Tarrytown, New York. The house, which he named Sunnyside in required constant repair and renovation over the next twenty years. With costs of Sunnyside escalating, Irving reluctantly agreed in to become a regular contributor to The Knickerbocker magazine, writing new essays and short stories under the Knickerbocker and Crayon pseudonyms.
He was regularly approached by aspiring young authors for advice or endorsement, including Edgar Allan Poe, who sought Irving's comments on " William Wilson " and " The Fall of the House of Usher ". Writing in the January issue of Knickerbockerhe openly endorsed copyright legislation pending in the U.
The legislation did not pass. Irving at this time also began a friendly correspondence with the English writer Charles Dickens and hosted the author and his wife at Sunnyside during Dickens's American tour in While Irving hoped his position as Minister would allow him plenty of time to write, Spain was in a state of perpetual political upheaval during most of his tenure, with a number of warring factions vying for control of the twelve-year-old Queen Isabella II.
However, the politics and warfare were exhausting, and Irving—homesick and suffering from a crippling skin condition—grew quickly disheartened:. I am wearied and at times heartsick of the wretched politics of this country. The last ten or twelve years of my life, passed among sordid speculators in the United States, and political adventurers in Spain, has shewn me so much of the dark side of human nature, that I begin to have painful doubts of my fellow man; and look back with regret to the confiding period of my literary career, when, poor as a rat, but rich in dreams, I beheld the world through the medium of my imagination and was apt to believe men as good as I wished them to be.
With the political situation in Spain relatively settled, Irving continued to closely monitor the development of the new government and the fate of Isabella. His official duties as Spanish Minister also involved negotiating American trade interests with Cuba and following the Spanish parliament's debates over slave trade.
He was also pressed into service by the American Minister to the Court of St. Polk had vowed to resolve. Returning from Spain inIrving took up permanent residence at Sunnyside and began work on an "Author's Revised Edition" of his works for publisher George Palmer Putnam. For its publication, Irving had made a deal that guaranteed him 12 percent of the retail price of all copies sold. Such an agreement was unprecedented at that time. As he revised his older works for Putnam, Irving continued to write regularly, publishing biographies of the writer and poet Oliver Goldsmith in and the work about the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Inhe produced Wolfert's Roosta collection of stories and essays he had originally written for The Knickerbocker and other publications,  and began publishing at intervals a biography of his namesake, George Washingtona work which he expected to be his masterpiece. Five volumes of the biography were published between and He continued to socialize and keep up with his correspondence well into his seventies, and his fame and popularity continued to soar.
Preston in a letter to Irving. On the night of November 28,at 9: Legend has it that his last words were: When will this end?
Irving and his grave were commemorated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem, "In The Churchyard at Tarrytown", which concludes with:.
How sweet a life was his; how sweet a death!
Living, to wing with mirth the weary hours, Or with romantic tales the heart to cheer; Dying, to leave a memory like the breath Of summers full of sunshine and of showers, A grief and gladness in the atmosphere.
Irving is largely credited as the first American Man of Lettersand the first to earn his living solely by his pen. Eulogizing Irving before the Massachusetts Historical Society in Decemberhis friend, the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, acknowledged Irving's role in promoting American literature: Irving perfected the American short story,  and was the first American writer to place his stories firmly in the United States, even as he poached from German or Dutch folklore.
He is also generally credited as one of the first to write both in the vernacular, and without an obligation to the moral or didactic in his short stories, writing stories simply to entertain rather than to enlighten.
As George William Curtis noted, there "is not a young literary aspirant in the country, who, if he ever personally met Irving, did not hear from him the kindest words of sympathy, regard, and encouragement". Some critics, however—including Edgar Allan Poe—felt that while Irving should be given credit for being an innovator, the writing itself was often unsophisticated. Other critics were inclined to be more forgiving of Irving's style.
William Makepeace Thackeray was the first to refer to Irving as the "ambassador whom the New World of Letters sent to the Old",  a banner picked up by writers and critics throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Hawless in"yet belonging to the New World, there is a quaint Old World flavor about him". Early critics often had difficulty separating Irving the man from Irving the writer—"The life of Washington Irving was one of the brightest ever led by an author", wrote Richard Henry Stoddardan early Irving biographer  —but as years passed and Irving's celebrity personality faded into the background, critics often began to review his writings as all style, no substance.
Williams could be scathing in his assessment of Irving's work  —most agreed he wrote elegantly. Irving popularized the nickname " Gotham " for New York City, later used in Batman comics and movies as the name of Gotham Cityand is credited with inventing the expression "the almighty dollar ". The surname of his Dutch historian, Diedrich Knickerbocker, is generally associated with New York and New Yorkers, and can still be seen across the jerseys of New York's professional basketball team, albeit in its more familiar, abbreviated form, reading simply Knicks.
In Bushwick, Brooklyna neighborhood of New York City, there are two parallel streets named Irving Avenue and Knickerbocker Avenue; the latter forms the core of the neighborhood's shopping district.