The works of Washington Irving: The author's autograph edition
The Works of Washington Irving: The Autograph Edition [The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Rip Van Winkle].
Item Number: 49090
New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1895–97.
The Works of Washington Irving: The Author’s Autograph edition. Octavo, 40 volumes, bound in the original publisher’s three quarters morocco over marbled boards, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers, with one folding map and two folding charts. One of 500 sets, this set contains a page of original manuscript by Irving and an autograph note signed, both tipped in to volume one of The Alhambra. The manuscript leaf is page 216 of The Alhambra manuscript, with several deletions and corrections in ink. In the autograph note, signed “Washington Irving” and dated “Tuesday May 1,” the author regrets not being able to accept an invitation as he is dining with “Mr. Murray.” In near fine condition with light wear. A very nice set.
Washington Irving was a novelist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories "Rip Van Winkle" (1819) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1820), both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works include biographies of George Washington, Oliver Goldsmith, and Muhammad, and several histories of 15th-century Spain dealing with subjects such as Christopher Columbus, the Moors and the Alhambra. Irving served as the U.S. ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846. Shortly after completing a biography of Christopher Columbus in 1828, Washington Irving traveled from Madrid, where he had been staying, to Granada, Spain. At first sight, he described it as "a most picturesque and beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen." Irving was preparing a book called A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, a history of the years 1478–1492, and was continuing his research on the topic. He immediately asked the then-governor of the historic Alhambra Palace as well as the archbishop of Granada for access to the palace, which was granted because of Irving's celebrity status. Aided by a 35-year-old guide named Mateo Ximenes, Irving was inspired by his experience to write Tales of the Alhambra. The book combines description, myth and narrations of real historical events, even up through the destruction of some of the palace's towers by the French under Count Sebastiani in 1812, and the further damage caused by an earthquake in 1821. Throughout his trip, Washington filled his notebooks and journals with descriptions and observations though he did not believe his writing would ever do it justice. He continued to publish regularly—and almost always successfully—throughout his life, and just eight months before his death (at age 76, in Tarrytown, New York), completed a five-volume biography of George Washington. Irving, along with James Fenimore Cooper, was among the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and Irving encouraged American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe.