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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

de Washington Irving

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1,3571811,115 (3.78)52
With these words, Washington Irving expresses the dilemma of every American artist in the nineteenth century. The Sketch-Book (1820-1) looks simultaneously towards audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, as Irving explores the uneasy relationship of an American writer to English literarytraditions. He sketches a series of encounters with the cultural shrines of the parent nation, and in two brilliant experiments with tales transplanted from Europe creates the first classic American short stories, 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow'.The result was not only a hugely successful travel book; it exerted a strong formative influence on American writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe to Henry James, and is well worth rediscovery in its own right today.Based on Irving's final revision of his most popular work, this new edition includes comprehensive explanatory notes of The Sketch-Book's sources for the modern reader. In her introduction, Susan Manning suggests that the author forged a new idiom, the 'Literary Picturesque', to accommodate and turnto advantage his dilemma of dual literary allegiances.… (més)
  1. 00
    Knickerbocker's History of New York de Washington Irving (anthonywillard)
    anthonywillard: In the vein of the Sketch Book's humorous reminiscences of New York as a Dutch colony.
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I've only read Little Britain...

With my own #6Degrees as a catalyst, I read this on a whim. It had been lurking on my Kindle for so long that until I opened it up last weekend, I had no idea that it was only a brief travel piece, written by Washington Irving (1783-1859) during his sojourn in England in the early 19th century.

As you can see from his entry at Wikipedia, Irving led a most interesting life. Born in Manhattan in 1783, he was a short-story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and a diplomat, serving as Secretary to the American Legation in London in 1829 and Minister to Spain in 1842. But before that he had forged a career as a writer, and is reckoned to be the first American to earn his living by the pen.

'Little Britain' is a mere 26 pages long, and it takes no time at all to read. It's a whimsical travel piece, describing an area in London now at the southern end of the A1. Irving called it the heart’s core of the city; the stronghold of true John Bullism.
In the centre of the great city of London lies a small neighbourhood, consisting of a cluster of narrow streets and courts, of very venerable and debilitated houses, which goes by the name of LITTLE BRITAIN. Christ Church School and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital bound it on the west; Smithfield and Long Lane on the north; Aldersgate Street, like an arm of the sea, divides it from the eastern part of the city; whilst the yawning gulf of Bull-and-Mouth Street separates it from Butcher Lane, and the regions of Newgate. Over this little territory, thus bounded and designated, the great dome of St. Paul’s, swelling above the intervening houses of Paternoster Row, Amen Corner, and Ave Maria Lane, looks down with an air of motherly protection.
Although it's designed to amuse, 'Little Britain' is not just a witty piece of commentary. Its pseudo-nostalgic tone points to a area now in transition from its old traditions.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2022/03/07/little-britain-by-washington-irving/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Mar 7, 2022 |
A short-story collection, first published in 1819–20 in seven separate parts. Most of the book’s 30-odd pieces concern Irving’s impressions of England, but six chapters deal with American subjects. Of these the tales “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” have been called the first American short stories, although both are actually Americanized versions of German folktales. In addition to the stories based on folklore, the collection contains travel sketches, literary essays, and miscellany. The Sketch Book was a celebrated event in American literary history. The collection was the first American work to gain international literary success and popularity. Its unprecedented success allowed Irving to devote himself to writing. ( )
  Marcos_Augusto | Jan 14, 2022 |
My favorite writer of all. Everything about Washington Irving's writing is perfect and good. ( )
  CodyMaxwellBooks | Oct 30, 2021 |
4-5 Stars for Rip and Ichabod, 3 or less for most of the other fiction.

Early in the book, Irving offers maybe the first literary mention of throwing shade:

(talking about "great men") "I have mingled among them in my time,
and have been withered by the shade in which they cast me...."

Totally discouraged about his home country of America, the author lived in Europe
for many years, returns then rather goes on too long about visiting critics from England.
He also gets boring and silly in "Little Britain."

Back home, he writes as eloquently as he did about an English Christmas and Stratford,
yet strangely takes no notice of slavery. ( )
  m.belljackson | Feb 1, 2021 |
Book given to Miss Mary Watts Graduation from Stuart Institute, June 9, 1875 Springfield Ill
  Elleneer | May 8, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Washington Irvingautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Doren, Carl VanPrefaciautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Elvin, H. L.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Matthews, BranderEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Miller, PerryEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Moffett, H. Y.Editorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sprague, CurtissIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Teason, James G.Il·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I have no wife nor children, good or bad, to provide for. A mere spectator of other men's fortunes and adventures, and how they play their parts; which, methinks, are diversely presented unto me, as from a common theatre or scene. BURTON
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To Sir Walter Scott, Bart., this work is dedicated, in testimony of the admiration and affection of the author.
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In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at the broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market-town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburg, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.
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The first edition is titled “The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” (abbreviating “Gentleman”). Titles of later editions hyphenate “Sketch-Book,” replace “Gent.” with “Esq.” or simply shorten the title to “The Sketch Book.” The first American edition (1819-20) appeared in seven small paper-bound volumes. The first London edition (1820), in two volumes, added two 1814 magazine articles by Irving (“Traits of Indian Character” and “Philip of Pokanoket”) and a concluding “L‘Envoy.” A revised edition in 1848 added two new stories (“London Antiquities,” “A Sunday in London”) and a preface and postscript to “Rip Van Winkle.” Many abridged editions have been published; some include only the best known stories (e.g., “Rip Van Winkle,” “The Spectre Bridegroom,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”) or the Christmas essays (“Christmas,” “The Stage-Coach,” “Christmas Eve,” “Christmas Day”, “Christmas Dinner”).
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With these words, Washington Irving expresses the dilemma of every American artist in the nineteenth century. The Sketch-Book (1820-1) looks simultaneously towards audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, as Irving explores the uneasy relationship of an American writer to English literarytraditions. He sketches a series of encounters with the cultural shrines of the parent nation, and in two brilliant experiments with tales transplanted from Europe creates the first classic American short stories, 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow'.The result was not only a hugely successful travel book; it exerted a strong formative influence on American writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe to Henry James, and is well worth rediscovery in its own right today.Based on Irving's final revision of his most popular work, this new edition includes comprehensive explanatory notes of The Sketch-Book's sources for the modern reader. In her introduction, Susan Manning suggests that the author forged a new idiom, the 'Literary Picturesque', to accommodate and turnto advantage his dilemma of dual literary allegiances.

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