Washington Irving is widely considered the father of the American Gothic Genre as characterized through his short story collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent and Tales of a Traveler specifically the stories, “The Devil and Tom Walker,” Rip Van Winkle,” and “The legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
In Europe in the eighteenth century, short story writing was the new trend especially in England. American writers were often thought to not have any skill in writing in short stories. American Washington Irving shattered this idea, by writing the first short stories and establishing a original Gothic setting.
Irving was born in New York City near what is now Wall Street. He was the son of Scottish-English immigrants. In the late eighteen hundreds, most of New York’s inhabitants were Dutch settlers. Aging, and feeling the need to pass on their old folktales, they told these stories as much as they could. Irving loved hearing these stories which always involved some creepy and dark setting. Irving was noted spending a lot of time with these Dutch settlers, because their stories were so intriguing to him. This being presented to him at a young age installed the famous and still popular setting in which some of his greatest fiction works would characterize.
Washington grew up to become a lawyer, even knowing that his passion was writing. While working as a lawyer he met and married a young women, but as fate would have it, death fell upon the women, and Irving became depressed. Of course his health suffered from this and he contracted very serious lung conditions. His family was worried because he just lost his wife, they didn’t want anything to happen, so when they heard of a spa in France, they immediately shipped him off in hopes that this spa would improve his health and they new surroundings would help him through this difficult time.
While in Europe he visited many places and met many important people. When he traveled to...