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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #656: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow de Washington Irving
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Literature [Change theme]
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    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow de Washington Irving

    Washington Irving (1783-1859)
    He was the first American writer of fiction to become popular. Irving was born in New York and studied law.In 1815 he went to Europe and spent most of his time writing, travelling and meeting authors such as Coleridge. When he came back to the United States he was greeted like a hero and spent several years travelling to the South and the far West, writing his experiences. His pamphlets reveal a talent for satire that can be found in several of his works such as 'A History of New York', and 'The Sketch Book'.
    His stories transpose the German gothic legends to America.
    One of his most famous stories, 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' is interesting because of its fascination with the past and the supernatural.

    The Knickerbockers
    It was a group of writers based in New York City. The name comes from Irving's pseudonym, Dietrich Knickerbocker. The three main writers of this group were: Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant. This association reflects the fact that New York at that time (at the beginning of the 19th century) was becoming an important literary and cultural place.
    Their political ideas were mainly conservative.

    From The Sketch Book
    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    Ichabod Crane is a superstitious schoolmaster. He lives in the Dutch community of Sleepy Hollow. He loves Katarina Van Tassel but he has a rival whose name is Brom Bones. Brom decides to frighten the young schoolmaster by telling him the story of a headless horseman who haunts the region.In this passage, Ichabod rides back home and begins to hear noises behind him.

    As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder bushes. The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment,a splashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod.In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshappen, black and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.

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    1. Why did Irving call his group the Knickerbockers?

    2. To sum up what is the best definition of Irving's style?

    3. What does the expression "a splashy tramp" mean?

    4. What is The Sketch Book?

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