Irving, Washington (17831859)

Irving, Washington, popular American essayist and historian, born of British parentage in New York, was delicate in early life; his education suffered accordingly, and he travelled in Europe, 1804-6, visiting Italy, France, and England; returning to New York he was called to the bar, put he devoted himself to a literary career, only interrupted by one period of commercial life, and occasional short terms of diplomatic service; he first won fame by his “History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker,” 1809, a good-natured satire on the Dutch settlers; the years 1815-32 he spent in Europe studying and writing; his “Sketch-Book,” 1819-20, was very successful, as were “Bracebridge Hall,” “Tales of a Traveller,” and other volumes which followed it; going to Spain in 1826 he began his researches in Spanish history which resulted in “The Life of Columbus,” “The Conquest of Granada,” and other works which introduced English readers to the Spain of the 15th and 16th centuries; on his return to America he was treated with great respect by his countrymen; declining the honours they would have given him had he turned aside to politics, he continued to write; among his latest works were “Mahomet and his Successors” and a “Life of Washington”; much courted in society, he was kind and generous in disposition; his writings are marked by humour, observation, and descriptive power; these qualities with an excellent style place him in the foremost rank of American authors; he died, unmarried, at Tarrytown, New York (17831859).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

Irving, Sir Henry * Irvingites
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Irving, Sir Henry
Irving, Washington
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