The Devil and Tom Walker Essay

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In the following essay, Zug talks about the aspects of common folklore that Irving incorporated into "The Devil and Tom Walker," particularly those he gathered in his travels to Germany.

Although it is unquestionably one of Washington Irving's finest tales, "The Devil and Tom Walker" has never attracted much critical attention. First published in 1824 in Part IV of Tales of a Traveller, the tale recounts the fate of an avaricious New Englander, who sells his soul to the Devil in return for Captain Kidd's treasure, and is finally carted off to Hell after a long and profitable career as a usurer in colonial Boston. For the most part, critics have been content to note that the tale is "a sort of comic New England Faust," or that it "is redolent of the American soil." In other words, the consensus is that the tale has certain Germanic overtones but...

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This section contains 2,084 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Devil and Tom Walker Study Guide
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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.