Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween Post #1

Since the publication of The Sketch Book by Washington Irving in 1820, which signaled the dawn of the American Renaissance, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" has been an Autumn tradition. For those of you less familiar w/ 19th Century American literature, the American Renaissance lasted more or less until the begining of the Civil War & lead to the publication of Walden, The Scarlett Letter, Leaves of Grass, The Narative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Moby Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Two Years Before the Mast, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Bronson Alcott, & the poetry of Emily Dickenson (though that was actually published later). I first read "Sleepy Hollow" when I was in college & though I've never taught the story... I've always gone w/ "Rip van Winkle" instead because it deals w/ the founding of America fitting in well w/ the time frame... it's become a sort of Autumn tradition for me too. I've seen a few film version including the Johnny Depp one that actually suggests the Headless Horseman really exists & the Scooby Doo version featuring a horseman who was beheaded in the American Revolution, decades after the Irving story takes place. My favorite has always remained the Disney animated version though, complete w/ its fantastic romantic depictions of Colonial life in the Hudson River Valley. The full version also has The Wind in the Willows so the film here is only 1/2 of the movie & only about a 1/2 hour long. Check it out... you won't be sorry.

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