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 literary traditions. 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 turn to advantage his dilemma of dual literary allegiances. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
About the author
Susan Manning is a University Lecturer in English at Cambridge, and a Fellow of Newnham college. She has published widely on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American and Scottish writing, including the critical study, The Puritan-Provincial Vision (1990). She has edited Walter Scott's Quentin Durward in World's Classics
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