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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

by Washington Irving

Other authors: Howard G. Baetzhold (Contributor), Sylvester Baxter (Contributor), Daniel Carter Beard (Contributor), Louis J. Budd (Contributor), George Washington Cable (Contributor)15 more, Everett Carter (Contributor), James M. Cox (Contributor), John B. Hoben (Contributor), William Dean Howells (Contributor), David Ketterer (Contributor), Rudyard Kipling (Contributor), Andrew Lang (Contributor), W. E. H. Lecky (Contributor), Kenneth S. Lynn (Contributor), Albert Bigelow Paine (Contributor), Henry Nash Smith (Contributor), William T. Stead (Contributor), Dennis Welland (Contributor), Charles Whibley (Contributor), James D. Williams (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,012963,111 (3.64)193
A superstitious schoolmaster, in love with a wealthy farmer's daughter, has a terrifying encounter with a headless horseman.

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» See also 193 mentions

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Stick with the Disney animated version. ( )
  Count_Zero | Jul 7, 2020 |
So every year I re-read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I think all of us who went to school in America are pretty familiar with this story since I think it was required reading every Halloween. You read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Raven, and The Tell Tale Heart. When I got older the teacher would usually switch out The Raven and have us read The Fall of the House of Usher.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is not particularly scary when you are reading it as an adult but as a little kid it did freak me out thinking of a headless man doing his best to remove someone else's head for his own.

Originally published in 1820 by Washington Irving, this short story was initially among a selection of essays that Irving published. The story takes place in 1790 with Irving describing the small settlement where many ghosts were said to inhabit.

The main character in this book is Ichabod Crane who is a schoolteacher in Sleepy Hollow. I loved Irving's description of the character being tall and thin but still being able to eat a ton of food. I remember watching the Disney cartoon version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in elementary school and cracking up at the animators take on Ichabod Crane because they drew him just like I saw him in my own head.

There are not many books I can think of at the top of my head where you hope that the protagonist of the piece to fail in his quest because the author does such a good job of setting up your dislike of the person. Ichabod Crane is a prig to his students (I love that word) but away from them he often had his head in the clouds and wishes to wed Katrina Van Tassel because of her beauty and wealth. Another important point about Ichabod Crane is that he is extremely superstitious.

He was, in fact, an odd mixture of shrewdness and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvelous, and his powers for digesting it, were extremely extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spell-bound region. No tale was too gross or monstrous for his capacious swallow.

When you start reading about Ichabod and his dubious love for Katrina Van Tassel you hope that the main antagonist Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt the third in the mini-love triangle will end up winning her hand.

I really do wish that Irving had fleshed out the character of Katrina Van Tassel more. It is quite apparent that though she is a beautiful woman she apparently is quite shrewd and manipulative especially when you see that she knowingly encourages Ichabod Crane in order to make Brom Bones jealous.

When Ichabod eventually proposes to Katrina I loved how nothing of that scene is relayed to the reader but you can imagine it based on the reaction directly afterwards.

Oh these women! these women! Could that girl have been playing off any of her coquettish tricks? Was her encouragement of the poor pedagogue all a mere sham to secure her conquest of his rival?

Survey says yes. Although you do have to feel sorry for the character though since he was made to think that Katrina was really interested in him and being used to spur on the suitor she really wanted to propose once again shows how very smarty she was to get what she wanted.It was not a particularly kind thing to do but I am guessing in her brain it made sense to get what she wanted which was her success of engaging herself to Brom.

When Ichabod eventually comes upon "The Headless Horseman" the writing manages to evokes something sinister. When my teacher eventually read this to us back in maybe the 3rd or 4th grade I remember my classmates and I were practically hanging off the desk to hear what would happen next.

"In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen, and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler."

We then follow Ichabod's flight away from the presumed to be Headless Horseman. Readers eventually realize that the whole thing was a prank by Brom Bones to scare Ichabod Crane away from Sleepy Hollow and stop his pursuit of Katrina.

This is a very nice short read that can put you in the Halloween mood without scaring the pants off of you. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I have to say that re-reading this as an adult is a much different and more wonderful experience than as a snot-nosed kid of 15. I was able to appreciate the nuances much more, enjoying just how established Mr. Crane could be as a realistic and sympathetic character, even if he was slightly foolish.

In other words, he felt real, I felt invested, and as any lover of horror knows, we must also feel superior to our victims before their inevitable and somewhat moralistic demise by supernatural or nefarious deeds.

Now, whether this was a mortal practical joke played on a lover of the fantastic and the horrible or whether this was actually a real-life ghost story, as the Dutch Wives would insist, is a matter for debate.

Either way, it was nice and ghoulish and ramped up perfectly to a thrown screaming head. :)

Quick tale, fascinating, and expertly described. :) And an eternal Halloween Treat. :)

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
For all the adaptations of this story, it was surprising to get into the original and realize how short and un-Horseman-focused it really is. It was very evocative of autumn; I love the descriptions of the landscape and foods.

Personally I'm inclined to take the more supernatural angle, considering its sibling tales. ( )
  elam11 | May 30, 2020 |
Very enjoyable short story, and I'm glad I read the original now instead of just seeing the various versions and re-tellings of it. It's a perfect fall read. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | May 18, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Washington Irvingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Baetzhold, Howard G.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baxter, SylvesterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beard, Daniel CarterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Budd, Louis J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cable, George WashingtonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carter, EverettContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cox, James M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoben, John B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howells, William DeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ketterer, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kipling, RudyardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lang, AndrewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lecky, W. E. H.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lynn, Kenneth S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Paine, Albert BigelowContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Henry NashContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stead, William T.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Welland, DennisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whibley, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, James D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fox, Austin McC.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grimly, GrisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at the broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town.
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This is the main work for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It should not be combined with any larger collection, adaptation, etc.
Do Not Combine: This is a "Norton Critical Edition", it is a unique work with significant added material, including essays and background materials. Do not combine with other editions of the work.

Please maintain the phrase "Norton Critical Edition" in the Canonical Title and Series fields.
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Tom Mison, star of the hit Fox series Sleepy Hollow, narrates the classic Washington Irving short story.
In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel's farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball during the Revolutionary War.
One of the most popular pieces of American fiction is Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” originally published in 1820 in Irving’s short story collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Set in New York’s Hudson River valley after the American Revolution, it is rich with Dutch culture, regional history, and ghost stories. In schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and his adversary the Headless Horseman, Irving created two of the most unforgettable characters in American literature.

This short work is part of Applewood’s “American Roots,” series, tactile mementos of American passions by some of America’s most famous writers and thinkers.
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