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“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, and Other Stories” is a volume of essays and short stories by Washington Irving that were first published serially between 1819 and 1820 and was originally collected as “The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” It includes some of the works for which would establish Irving as one of the preeminent American authors of his day and cement his literary legacy. The most famous of the works in this volume are arguably “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” The first is the story of Ichabod Crane, a schoolmaster from Connecticut who has moved to the New York countryside settlement of Tarry Town whose secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow is haunted by an infamous spectre, the Headless Horseman. The second story “Rip Van Winkle” tells the tale of a Dutch-American villager living during the time of the American Revolution who mysteriously falls asleep in New York’s Catskill Mountains only to discover when he awakes that many years have passed and much has changed. Along with these two classic tales thirty-two other stories and essays are included. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper, includes an introduction by Charles Addison Dawson, and a preface by the author.
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Grade 7 Up-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow takes place in Tarrytown, and tells the story of schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, Connecticut native, who comes to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. He becomes the neighborhood song master, reads Cotton Mather, steeps himself in local folklore, and competes with Brom Bones for the affections of Katrina. One afternoon, after being rebuffed by Katrina, he briskly rides off on his landlord's horse, sees an apparition of a headless horseman, and is never seen again in Sleepy Hollow. The townspeople have a myriad of theories concerning his disappearance. Rip Van Winkle is the short tale of a henpecked man who is very much liked by the townspeople, but is a failure as a farmer and family man. He journeys up the mountains one afternoon with his dog and stumbles upon a strangely dressed group of men who offer him a drink that puts him to sleep for 20 years. The world to which he awakens is greatly changed. George Vafiadis provides flawless narration for these tales by Washington Irving. His voice is strong, distinctive, and clear. Students may find this audio version helpful in understanding these tales set in the 18th century. The language is archaic and patronizing to women and blacks, although it is was appropriate to the time. The action takes place after a great deal of description, and middle schoolers may miss the tongue-in-cheek humor. Students may need prompting to listen to these two tales. That said, these classic tales are steeped in atmosphere and reveal a great deal about the social and political history of the time.
Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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