Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other stories
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories (Thrift Edition)
I've wanted to read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow for quite some time, so when I found this book at a good price I had to buy it. I guess I should have made my homework before picking this up: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a very short story, from where Tim Burton took the generic idea, and expanded it. It is quite nice, but it was a surprise as it is very different from the movie. Basically, the characters are there, the place is the same, the lore of the place is the same, but Ichabod Crane's backstory and what really happens is different.

Some of the other stories in this book were very nice: Rip Van Winkle was amusing and fairytale like, The Spectre Bridegroom was eerie but very sweet, The Wife was simply sweet and romantic, Adventure of a Mysterious Stranger and The Story of the Young Italian were very good and tragic, and The Mutability of Literature, although not really a story, was interestingly actual, although it relates with the printing press. Here's a quote:
"But the inventions of paper and the press have put an end to all these restraints. They have made every one a writer, and enabled every mind to pour itself into print, and diffuse itself over the whole intellectual world. The consequences are alarming. The stream of literature has swollen into a torrent—augmented into a river-expanded into a sea. "
What would have Irving said about the Internet, if he could only see it?

The other stories (Mountjoy, Adventure of the German Student, The Adventure of my Uncle, The Adventure of my Aunt, The Devil and Tom Walker) were not so good, most of the time boring and seeming to drag for ages. Westminster Abbey was especially boring, and I almost skipped it ahead because I hardly could read a paragraph at a time without my mind drifting to a much more interesting topic.

I liked Irving's writing style, a third-person that is not detached from action, with a somewhat conversational style. It seemed like he was telling me a story. This alone made the good stories great, and the not so good, enjoyable at least in a language level.

A complaint I have about this edition is: Why did they separate the stories Adventure of a Mysterious Stranger and The Story of the Young Italian when they are obviously parts of the same? The Adventure of my Uncle and The Adventure of my Aunt were not separated, and their connection is far more tenuous.

Final Opinion: It was an OK book; some good stories, some bad, one awful.



  1. So the movie is better? (just the story, forget that there's Jack Sparrow in it)

  2. The movie was better, because there is more story to it. The story is very short, 25 pages where most of them are spent describing the place.

    So, there is a story of the headless horseman, there is Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tessel, but Ichabod is more of a laughing stock than an hero.