Samuel Kettell, ed. Specimens of American Poetry. 1829.
Critical and Biographical Notice
Washington Irving (17831859)
WASHINGTON IRVING was born in the city of New York, and educated at Columbia College. His earliest productions were written at about the seventeenth year of his age, and appeared first in the New York Morning Chronicle, under the title of The Letters of Jonathan Oldstyle. These light and hasty performances of his youth were a few years since collected and republished in a volume. He began the study of law, but in 1805, the declining state of his health induced him to undertake a voyage to Europe. He travelled over most of the South of Europe, and England, and returned to this country in 1807. He completed his law studies, but feeling more attachment to literary occupations he did not pursue the profession. In 1807 he began in connexion with Mr Paulding and Mr Verplanck, the publication of Salmagundi, which appeared in numbers at irregular periods, and attained to such a popularity, that in a year it ran through six editions. In 1810 he gave to the world Knickerbockers History of New York, a work which gave him a wide reputation. He furnished a great amount of matter for the Analectic Magazine, among other articles, the biographies of our most distinguished naval commanders. During the war, Mr Irving was military secretary, and aide-de-camp to the Governor of the state of New York. In 1815 he went to Europe, where he has since resided. The Sketch Book, Bracebridge Hall, Tales of a Traveller, The Life of Columbus, and biographies of the principal writers of Great Britain, works which he has executed since he left this country have extended his fame wherever English literature is known.