Thelegendofsleepyhollow

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  • Topic: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon
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  • Published : March 31, 2013
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The Legend of sleepy Hollow

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., written while he was living in Birmingham, England, and first published in 1820. With Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today.

The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York, in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a lean, lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party he attended at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War, and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head". Ichabod mysteriously disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was "to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related".

The dénouement of the fictional tale is set at the bridge over the Pocantico River in the area of the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground in Sleepy Hollow. The characters of Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel may have been based on local residents known to the author. The character of Katrina is thought to have been based upon Eleanor Van Tassel Brush, in which case her name is derived from that of Eleanor's aunt Catriena Ecker Van Tessel.

Although Irving knew an army colonel named Ichabod Crane from Staten Island, New York (who was also once the Commanding Officer of Lieutenant Stonewall Jackson), the character in "The Legend" may have been...
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