Sleepy Hollow Today Washington’s Irving’s the Legend of Sleepy Hollow stands as a ic of American literature. In large part the stories continued success is linked to popularity as a Halloween horror story, told to children ever year. The story itself follows the life of teacher Icabod Crane as he attempts to court a woman, Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod competes with another man Abraham Van Brunt. After being spurned at a dance Ichabod rides home feeling forlorn. On his ride home Ichabod is encountered by a headless horseman who subsequently kills him. This essay examines Poole’s scholarly article on the story and evaluates the article in terms of relevancy and insights.
Poole’s text ‘Monsters in America’ provides a broad ranging critical investigation of Irving’s ‘the Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. Some of the most prominent information in this critique regards historical information surrounding the major characters. In this way Poole considers that Ichabod Crane was actually inspired by an actual schoolmaster Irving knew (Poole). Still, the article indicates that Irving’s greatest influence for the story was not his surroundings in the Hudson, but instead Romantic writing from his time spent in the United Kingdom and Europe. This is a unique insight as many individuals, including past President Van Buren, claimed the story was directly influenced from his childhood surroundings. Conversely, Poole indicates that Irving was heavily influenced by Germany storytelling (Poole). In these regards, headless horsemen were a prominent aspect of this culture’s folklore. Still, the article indicates that many of the settings were derived directly from post-revolutionary society. These are significant contribution as it indicates that the story lasting appreciation is not because Irving articulates themes and attitudes of post-Revolutionary America, but rather because he creates a hybrid recognition of these themes with old world artistic values. In this way the story implements a setting from a timeless aspect of American culture and fuses it with the power of the European Romantic movement.
In conclusion, this essay has examined Poole’s critical article on Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The article was successful in establishing its main points. In these regards the article clearly defined what information was speculation and what information was recorded fact. The information in the article was presented in a clear and easily understandable way. Rather than attempting to provide a radical critique of the story the author presents a variety of existing historical information together. In terms of new forms of recognition, the article is successful in speculating and theorizing as to the story’s lasting appreciation within American society. In this way it indicates that as the story combines American values from a formative period in the country’s development, as well as European romanticism. While no great new information was contained in the article, the way it articulated these perspectives I found highly engaging. I would definitely recommend this article to others as it provides great historical information as well as new ways of appreciating the work.
Poole, Scott. Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the
Haunting. Baylor University Press. 2011.