The Devil and Tom Walker Criticism

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Though the "The Devil and Tom Walker" has become one of Irving's most famous stories, it received a lackluster response when it was published in Tales of a Traveller in 1824. Darrel Abel remarks in American Literature: Colonial and Early National Writing that this collection of Irving's stories was "one of his poorest.... a batch of hackwork pieced together" in an attempt to use "the German materials he had been accumulating." One of the onginal reviews, quotes Abel, attacked Irving personally, calling him "indisputably feeble, unoriginal and timorous." Irving was hurt by these accusations, particularly because they came from British writers, for whom he had great esteem and whose style he had tried to emulate. In retrospect, Eugene Current-Garcia says in Studies in Short Fiction that the story "foreshadows the best of Hawthorne's fictional exposure of Yankee shrewdness and Puritan hypocrisy." Current-Garcia also credits Irving for helping to develop...

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This section contains 225 words
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The Devil and Tom Walker from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.