The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Infobox short story |
name = The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = "Ichabod pursued by the Headless Horseman," by F. O. C. Darley, 1849.
author = Washington Irving
country = flag|USA
language = English
series =
genre = short story
published_in = "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon"
publisher =
media_type =
pub_date = 1820
english_pub_date =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.", written while he was living in Birmingham, England, and first published in 1820. With Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today.

Plot summary

The story is set circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York , in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a lean, lanky, and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer (Baltus Van Tassel). As Crane leaves a party he attended at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War, and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head". Ichabod mysteriously disappears from town, leaving Katrina to marry Brom Bones, who was "to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related".


The dénouement of the fictional tale is set at the bridge over the Pocantico River in the area of the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground in Sleepy Hollow. The characters of Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel may have been based on local residents known to the author. The character of Katrina is thought to have been based upon Eleanor Van Tassel Brush, in which case her name is derived from that of Eleanor's aunt Catriena Ecker Van Tessel.

Although Irving knew an army colonel named Ichabod Crane from Staten Island, New York (who was also once the Commanding Officer of Lieutenant Stonewall Jackson), the character in "The Legend" may have been patterned after Jesse Merwin, who taught at the local schoolhouse in Kinderhook, further north along the Hudson River, where Irving spent several months in 1809. [A letter from Merwin to Irving was endorsed in Irving's handwriting: "From Jesse Merwin, the original of Ichabod Crane" " [ Life and Letters of Washington Irving] ", New York: G.P. Putnam and Son, 1869, vol. 3, pp. 185–186.]

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" follows a tradition of folk tales and poems involving a supernatural wild chase, including Robert Burns's "Tam O' Shanter" (1790), and Bürger's "Der wilde Jäger", translated as "The Wild Huntsman" (1796).

Publication history

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was the longest tale published as part of "The Sketch Book" [Burstein, Andrew. "The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving". New York: Basic Books, 2007: 143. ISBN 978-0-465-00853-7] which Irving issued using the pseudonym "Geoffrey Crayon" in 1820.

Notable american societal and cultural effects

*In 2006, a large statue depicting the Headless Horseman chasing Ichabod Crane was placed along Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, NY.

*Sleepy Hollow, IL was named after the legendary location and many of the street names reflect characters from the tale. In addition, the image of the Headless Horseman can be found on many of the city's landmarks and publications.

Film adaptations

Notable film adaptations include:

* " [ The Headless Horseman] " (1922), a silent version directed by Edward Venturini, and starring Will Rogers as Ichabod Crane. It was filmed on location in New York's Hudson River Valley.
*"The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" (1949), directed by James Algar, Clyde Geronimi and Jack Kinney, produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is an animated cartoon adaptation of the story, paired with a similar treatment of Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows". The climactic ride is more extended than in the original story, and the possibility is stressed that the visually impressive Horseman is in fact a ghost rather than a human in disguise. Later the Sleepy Hollow portion of the film was separated from the companion film, and shown separately as ["The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"] in 1958.
* "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1980), directed by Henning Schellerup. A made-for-television movie filmed in Utah, starring Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane and Dick Butkus as Brom Bones.
*"Tall Tales and Legends" episode "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1987), starring Ed Begley Jr. as Ichabod Crane, Beverly D'Angelo as Katrina Van Tassel, and Charles Durning as Doffue Van Tassel who is also the narrator. Produced and hosted by Shelley Duvall.
* "The Real Ghostbusters" featured an episode with a descendant of Ichabod Crane cursed by a headless apparition on a motorcycle who chases her.
*In the Nickelodeon television series "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" (1992), the episode "The Tale of the Midnight Ride" serves as a sequel to the classic story. In this episode a boy moves to Sleepy Hollow where he develops a crush on a girl. One night after the Halloween dance, they see the ghost of Ichabod Crane and send him over the bridge that the Headless Horseman cannot cross, prompting the Headless Horseman to then come after them.
*"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (1999), a Canadian television film directed by Pierre Gang.
*"Sleepy Hollow" (1999), directed by Tim Burton. A movie adaptation which takes many liberties with the plot and characters. Johnny Depp starred as Ichabod Crane while Christopher Walken plays the Headless Horseman. In that same year, a similar television movie on Odyssey with Brent Carver aired. It was filmed in Montreal.
*"The Hollow" (2004) a TV movie that premiered on the ABC Family channel starring Kaley Cuoco. about a teenaged descendant of Ichabod Crane.
* "The Legend of Sleepy Halliwell" (2004), an episode of the TV show "Charmed". A headless horseman murders the teachers at Magic School by beheading them.

tage adaptations

* "Sleepy Hollow" (1948), a Broadway musical, with music by George Lessner and book and lyrics by Russell Maloney and Miriam Battista. It lasted 12 performances. [ [ Internet Broadway Database] .]

Audio Books on CD

Notable audio adaptations include:

* "Sleepy Hollow" (1998) The dramatic radio program "Sleepy Hollow", produced by the Radio Tales series for National Public Radio, was an adaptation of Washington Irving's story. This audio version featured over fifty-six minutes of original music, and focused on Ichabod Crane's fascination with the supernatural. The program was published on audiocassette by Durkin Hayes Publishing Ltd in 1998 as a part of both its DH Audio catalog and its “Paperback Audio” line (ISBN 0886469031).

* "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (2005). Produced by The Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air and released by Blackstone Audio. Faithfully adapted from the book by Washington Irving, this production has an elaborate music score by Jeffrey Gage, sound effects, and a full cast. Originally released as a "Halloween Pick" by Barnes & Noble bookstores, the production went on to win the Ogle Award for "Best Fantasy Production of 2005." The cast includes Lincoln Clark as Ichabod Crane, Joseph Zamparelli Jr. as Brom Bones, and Diane Capen as Katrina Van Tassel. The book was dramatized, produced and directed by Jerry Robbins. On Halloween 2005, the production was broadcast coast to coast on XM Radio's "Sonic Theater", and repeated the following year. It continues to be one of Colonial's most popular titles in release.

* "Sleepy Hollow" (2007), produced and directed by Dave Johnson. This version is voiced by Alan Zain, who plays all the parts. [http://DaveFilms.US] . ISBN 978-1-4276-2425-3.

ee also

*Sleepy Hollow Cemetery was founded in 1849, and is adjacent to the Old Dutch Burying Ground. They are separately owned and administered.


Further reading

* Thomas S. Wermuth (2001). "Rip Van Winkle's Neighbors: The Transformation of Rural Society in the Hudson River Valley". State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-5084-8.

External links

* [ "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"] from "The Harvard Classics" (1917), hosted online at
* [ "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"] at [ American Literature] .
* [ "Sleepy Hollow"] , a non-fiction update on the story's locale, written by Washington Irving in 1839.
* [ Old Dutch Burying Ground of Sleepy Hollow] , the churchyard where Ichabod Crane sought sanctuary.
* [ Sleepy Hollow Cemetery] . Founded in 1849, it is adjacent to but separate from the Old Dutch Burying Ground.
* [ List of locations related to "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"] .
* [ "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" - Irving's Fictions of Revolution]
*imdb title|id=0041094|title=The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
*imdb title|id=0162661|title=Sleepy Hollow (directed by Tim Burton).
* [ "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in Concert"] Annual festival featuring Irving's original narrative and orchestral score by Steven Smith.]
* [ "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" Brickfilm] (LEGO movie).
* [ The unabridged "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (Episode Number 174)] is read in its entirety in Mister Ron's Basement Podcast
* [ A Librivox Podcast version of "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" ] can be found here as well

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