A Hallowed Dutch(?) Legend

1 Apr

At the Library of Congress, Erin Allen has an interesting post arguably linking what Russell Shorto characterized as a Dutch-American place “at the center of the world” in the 17th century with today’s global entertainment:

Nearly two centuries after its publication, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is as popular as ever.

Fox TV has a hit on its hands this season with its retelling of the 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by American author Washington Irving 1783-1859. The new drama series—one of many with supernatural themes—premiered Sept. 16, 2013, to 10 million viewers with 3.5 rating/9 share, making it the network’s highest rated fall drama premiere in the past eight seasons. Several weeks after the first episode aired, Fox renewed “Sleepy Hollow” for a second season.

Washington Irving. 1861. Photo by Matthew Brady. Prints and Photographs Division.

Washington Irving. 1861. Photo by Matthew Brady. Prints and Photographs Division.

Written while the itinerant Irving was living abroad in England, the popular tale was one of 34 essays and short stories—including “Rip Van Winkle”—comprising “The Sketch Book,” which Irving wrote under the pseudonym of “Geoffrey Crayon.”

One might argue that the post-Revolutionary- War tale of Connecticut schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and the dreaded Headless Horseman in the Dutch enclave in New York State known as Sleepy Hollow has never been far from the American imagination.

Note the phrase “Dutch enclave” in that last sentence …

See Allen’s entire post here: Trending: A Hallowed Legend | Library of Congress Blog.

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