What kind of folklore is Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle"?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Washington Irving catered to the tastes of a new nation built in a new world by writing stories about people on America's frontier. From the beginning of time, people have always told stories and passed them down from one generation to the next. Most of the stories were not catalogued until an educated author wrote them down (i.e. Grimm Brothers). Washington Irving traveled much of Europe and America and gathered up many stories. Rip Van Winkle has been criticized as being taken from a German tale and applied to America's frontier in order to satisfy the need for folklore in the United States. The folklore of Rip Van Winkle is categorized as being that from/for the South or Southwestern part of the United States. Even if the story originated in Germany, Irving certainly made it American in nature by placing the story in America, cast by American people, and dealing with American ideas and insights of the time period.

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Rip Van Winkle

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