Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Brian Jay Jones: 'Washington Irving' (2008, 2011), Take I

In the mid-1990s, I had to give a little twenty minute background talk on American author Washington Irving (1783-1859) to a class in Virginia. Their reading assignment for that day was "Rip Van Winkle" (1819). 

I hadn't given a whole lot of additional thought to Washington Irving until last year, when traveling in Granada, Spain, I saw several of his books for sale, some in English and some in Spanish, at the Alhambra. This piqued my interest again, and it was with great pleasure that I found a copy of Brian Jay Jones' Washington Irving: The Definitive Biography of America's First Bestselling Author (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2011; originally published in 2008 as Washington Irving: An American Original). 

It was with even greater pleasure that I read it - just finished it this week, in fact. Based mostly on letters and other primary sources, it's an engaging biography. 
One of the grandest episodes of Irving's life was his time as United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain from 1842 to 1846. But more on that another time, I suspect. For now, let me salute Jones' excellent biography. 

Today's Rune: Strength


Charles Gramlich said...

I'd like to read this. Have to check it out.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I had no idea he was such an interesting person and Minister Plenipotentiary, no less! Biographies can run the gamut from tedious to mesmerizing. It does sound as though this one falls on the side of the angels.