Rip Van Winkle Essay

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In 1912 an eminent Dutch historian, Tieman De Vries by name, published under the title of Dutch History, Art and Literature for Americans a series of lectures he had delivered at The University of Chicago. A large part of this book is devoted to a monumentally inept attack on Washington Irving for having, in "Rip Van Winkle," characterized the Dutch people as stupid, lazy, and credulous. For his overwhelming blow the author, protesting great reluctance and sadness, brings forth the revelation that "Rip" is not the "original" story that Irving is "generally given credit for," anyway. The bitter truth, he discloses, is that the tale had been told before: its embryo is a myth about an ancient Greek named Epimenides, and this germ was "fully developed" by Erasmus (a citizen of Rotterdam) in 1496. In the myth Epimenides was sent to look for a sheep, lay down in a cave...

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This section contains 5,293 words
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