What is the influence of the Gothic period on Washington Irving's writing, and how does it help his stories to be a success today?The question is based on the satire, the relationship between the...

What is the influence of the Gothic period on Washington Irving's writing, and how does it help his stories to be a success today?

The question is based on the satire, the relationship between the characters in the story, as well as the fate of death and obsessed love as in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Washington Irving's writings have a supernatural element to them, and this is part of the gothic tradition in literature. Although not as dark and intense as some other "gothic" writers--such as Edgar Allen Poe--some of Irving's stories are pretty representative of the gothic genre ("The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," "Devil and Tom Walker"). Irving's writings have a humorous, satiric edge to them, unlike most of the gothic authors who combine horror with romance. For example, in The Devil and Tom Walker, Irving writes that Tom Walker's problems with the devil all started out when Tom decided to take a "short cut" through the woods. "Like most shortcuts," Irving says, "it was an ill-chosen route."

rving's stories are still popular today for many reasons. They present an historical time which is still of interest to modern readers, the characters are memorable (Who does not recognize Ichabod Crane?) and have the same human foibles inherent in mankind. The supernatural elements are scary enough to be fun but not freak people out like Stephen King. Hence, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is read even by young children, especially around Halloween, and has been made into movies, cartoons, etc., though I feel like "obsessed love" and "fate of death" are a bit strong to describe this story.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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