The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
- Washington Irving
The Legend of Sleep Hollow is a story written by Washington Irving, originally published in 1820. Set in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town, New York in a secluded part of town called Sleep Hollow. Ichabod Crane, a schoolmaster, competes for the hand if eighteen year old Katrina Van Tassel, only to find himself hunted by the Headless Horseman.
Sleepy Hollow is a very different book to what I was expecting. I adore the Tim Burton film as it’s creepy, atmospheric and has great character moments. And while I did enjoy reading the original story, I found very little resemblance to the film - with the exception of a few characters names. In the story we follow Icabod Crane, a schoolmaster with very little in the way of possessions, as he attempts to woe the daughter of a wealthy land owner, until that is, his fateful encounter with the headless horseman.
What struck me most about the story were the descriptions of the countryside, the birds in the trees and the food on the table. I could picture the place vividly and this certainly gave the story atmosphere, although not the dark Gothic atmosphere I was expecting. However, there is a surprisingly comic aspect to the story I enjoyed. Most of the focus is on Icabod and his life including his fascination with the supernatural. While there is little background to the horseman, his motivations and history aren’t really touched upon – indeed it’s not even relevant to the story. This is really the story of Icabod and other characters are less people and more plot points that move the story on. I can see why this story has stuck in people’s minds – there is something about it that stick with you long after finishing. Perhaps it is the ending which is a cliff-hanger with no-one sure exactly what did happen. Overall, I found the story a pleasant read – atmospheric and memorable – I’d certainly recommend for you to read if you want to explore some classics.
Recommended for fans Willkie Collins and the Bronte Sisters. 8 out of 10