Washington Irving had a genius for inventing comic fictional narrators. In fact, he did not sign his real name to his work until he was over fifty. He had two narrators, Jonathan Oldstyle, Gent., a caricature of the British writers who could not accept the simple values of the new nation, and Diedrich Knickerbocker, a Dutchman. He it is who leaves the tale of Rip van Winkle, and the story is framed by an unknown writer.
The following tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker; an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers.
Because Knickerbocker was known for his "scrupulous accuracy," the unknown writer states, the tale of Rip van Winkle should be taken as entirely accurate.