Washington Irving (1783 – 1859) was born in
and was named after (= chiamato col nome del) President George Washington (1732–1799). He was a dreamy boy (= sognatore) fascinated by the theatre and the books: He loved wandering (= vagabondare) around the misty (= nebbioso) New York City Hudson River Valley: the local tales and legends of this area just north of influenced his writings. New York City
began publishing letters for his brother Peter’s newspaper under the pseudonym Jonathan Oldstyle. His first book was Salmagundi (1807–08), written together with his brother, William, and their friend James Kirke Paulding. He got fame (= divenne famoso) with A History of New York in Irving 1809, a comical and imprecise story of ‘s Dutch colonization narrated by another pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, a Dutch (= olandese) American. New York
Irving moved to . Here he tried to save (= salvare) the England Liverpool branch (= ramo) of the family import-export business, but after three years the company was bankrupt (= fece bancarotta) , and he found himself (= si trovò) without means of support (= mezzi di sostentamento) at age thirty-five. So decided to get his living (= guadagnarsi da vivere) by writing and started recording (= registrando) the impressions, thoughts, and descriptions, which became the material of The Sketch Book (1817 – 1818), published under the pseudonym of Geoffrey Crayon. Irving
The Sketch Book is a collection of English sketches, travel pieces, literary essays (= saggi) , descriptions of the American Indian, some unclassifiable pieces, and three short stories – Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and The Spectre Bridegroom.
Still in Europe,
wrote Bracebridge Hall; or, the Humorists: A Medley (1822), about a fictitious English clan already introduced in The Sketch Book. Irving
published works about history and biography. In Irving Spain, he wrote a book about the life of Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) and a history of . In 1832 he returned to the Granada, Spain United States where he toured around western part of the country, as far as . The expedition was described in three books, but particularly important is A Tour on the Prairies (1835), which provided the easterners (= gli abitanti dell’Est) with their first description of western life: then the author settled (= si stabilì) near Oklahoma New York, in a small estate (= possedimento) on the Hudson River, named Sunnyside.
In his last years,
published an extensive biography of George Washington (1732–1799), which he worked on until his death. Irving
Together with Fennimore Cooper, Washington Irving left behind a series of characters and description which paved the way to (= fecero la strada) American Literature.