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How did Irving make Rip Van Winkle effective in shaping American history and identity?

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Washington Irving, in the tale of Rip Van Winkle as lifted from the larger work The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., was instrumental in creating literature that shaped the identity and perception of the new country known as the United States.

Rip Van Winkle was located in the new country and provided lengthy descriptions of the surroundings.

There stood the Kaatskill mountains--there ran the silver Hudson at a distance--there was every hill and dale precisely as it had always...

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