Washington Irving and the Fantasy of Masculinity

Escaping the Woman Within


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SKU: 9781476686660 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Washington Irving remains one of the most recognized American authors of the 19th century, remembered for short stories like Rip van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He also accomplished other writing feats, including penning George Washington’s biography and other life stories. Throughout his life, Irving was at odds with socially-approved ways of “being a man.” Irving purportedly saw himself and was seen by others as feminine, shy, and non-confrontational. Likely related to this, he chose to engage with other men’s fortunes and adventures by writing, defining his male identity vicariously, through masculine archetypes both fictional and non-fictional.

Sitting at the intersection of literary studies and masculinity studies, this reading reconstructs Irving’s life-long struggle to somehow win a place among other men. Readers will recognize masculine themes in his tales from the Spanish period, his western adventures, as well as in historical biographies of Columbus, Mahomet, and Washington. In many writings by Irving, especially Sleepy Hollow, readers will observe themes dominated by masculinity. The book is the first of its kind to encompass and examine Irving’s writings.

About the Author(s)

Heinz Tschachler is a former professor of English and American studies at Alpen-Adria-University in Klagenfurt, Austria. He is the author of numerous books.

Bibliographic Details

Heinz Tschachler
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 285
Bibliographic Info: photo, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8666-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4507-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue 1
One. Anima Consciousness and Archetypal Masculinities 13
Two. “Because it was fun”: Whimsicality, Gentility, and the Loss of Communal Manhood 44
Three. Rip Van Winkle, Ichabod Crane, and Other Troubled Masculinities 74
Four. “Dear old romantic Spain”: Purloined Heroes 105
Five. On the Prairies and in the West: Manhood Wrapped in the Nation’s Flag 138
Six. Life of George Washington: Manly Perfection in the Father of His Country 167
Epilogue 197
Chapter Notes 211
Bibliography 263
Index 267

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A smart, original, and provocative study.”—Andrew Burstein, Charles P. Manship Professor of History, Louisiana State University