Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving, September 30, 2014. 400 pages. Published by Penguin Classics. Source: publisher.
The timeless collection that introduced Rip Van Winkle, Ichabod Crane, and the Headless Horseman

Perhaps the marker of a true mythos is when the stories themselves overshadow their creator. Originally published under a pseudonym as The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories gave America its own haunted mythology. This collection of larger-than-life tales contains Washington Irving’s best-known literary inventions—Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and Rip Van Winkle—that continue to capture our imaginations today.




In truth, I was only familiar with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle going into this. And, the only time I've read those two stories was through an illustrated children's version, so, imagine my surprise when they were vastly different from what I remembered...it was like discovering them for the first time.

Since I'm endeavoring to be 100% honest here, I'm just going to say it. While I really enjoyed The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories there were some that bored me as much as a certain classic I read once upon a time that shall remain unnamed.
   On the stories that bored me, my problem arose not with the writing of them or even the subject, but with the waxing poetically of the English countryside and such things. I don't know about you, but I for one can only take so much talk about a setting before my brain just shutdowns. So, while I had embarked on this journey with the intention of reading every last story, I just couldn't do it. Even though a couple of the stories may not have been for me, I did, up to a point, enjoy the writing in the ones I failed to finish.

Moving on....

The Spectre Bridegroom ended up being one of my favorites. I really enjoyed this one because it had a creepy yet interesting story-line. I was intrigued by how the whole story yet surprised by the reveal at the end. While I have zero intention of telling y'all about the twist at the end of the story, I enjoyed the way Washington Irving told it and how the cast of characters each dealt with the news regarding that of the passing of the groom. I really thought he did an interesting job giving the story a not only creepy feel but also that of a mystery.
 
Interesting enough, the other stories that I found to be the most interesting, beyond Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, would have to be Traits of Indian Character, Philip of Pokanoket and John Bull. So, I found myself enjoying these two because it gave a more honest look at how the Indians were treated when everyone started laying claim to the New World; I liked that Washington Irving did not sugarcoat the truth and how the settlers took advantage of them. Also, it was just interesting to to read.

Writing-wise, I couldn't help but find myself enjoying the way Washington Irving wrote about things as his style really pulls one in. It was also pretty fun seeing how he writing could change from dark and somber to light from one story to the next; I enjoyed the range of his writing and the variety of each of the stories as it kept the book moving along.
    Even with some stories not being exactly to my liking, I really think that this is an overall interesting read. Especially, if, like me, you have yet to read the unabridged version of his works.

Final Verdict: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories- A pretty fascinating read.

The Legend of Sleep Hollow and Other Stories earns

This book was received in exchange for an honest review.

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