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Rip Van Winkle

Description
"Rip Van Winkle" is a short story by the American author Washington Irving, first published in 1819. It follows a Dutch-American villager in colonial America named Rip Van Winkle who meets mysterious Dutchmen, imbibes their liquor and falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains. He awakes 20 years later to a very changed world, having missed the American Revolution.

The concept is ancient, including the 70 year nap by Choni HaMeA-Gail.

Irving, inspired by a conversation on nostalgia with his American expatriate brother-in-law, wrote his story while temporarily living in Birmingham, England. It was published in his collection, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. While the story is set in New York's Catskill Mountains near where Irving later took up residence, he admitted, "When I wrote the story, I had never been on the Catskills."

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Reviews

Bionic Jean
Rip Van Winkle is one of those stories we seem to recollect from childhood but perhaps are not sure exactly how. It feels like a traditional folk tale; as though its origins have been lost in antiquity. Indeed the name “Rip Van Winkle” now seems synonymous with the idea of someone going to sleep, meeting up in his dreams with fairy folk, and waking to discover that many years had passed in the interim. Yet the idea of the story is present in many cultures.

Nicole
The feminist in me really hated this story. I wonder if everything I ever remembered about this short was from actually reading it, or because it's a New York folk-tale. I thought - oh yes, this is the very fun story about the guy who falls asleep and when he wakes up his beard is long! But really, it's the story of a lazy ass man named Rip who is unhappy because his wife is mean (because he's so freaking lazy the family has actually lost a considerable amount of wealth because he can't seem to bring himself to work his land). He gets lured away by the ghost of Henry Hudson and some other Dutch ghosts, drinks their Dutch wine, and falls asleep for 20 years. When he wakes up, the colonies are no longer under English control and everybody is free and American. Also, Rip's wife is dead. So, essentially, Rip's wife represents the domineering and oppressive Britain and Rip represents the kind American folk who long to be free. When he wakes up, that all comes about. Great. Awesome. Woo-hoo for symbols. But why does Rip get to live a lazy, carefree life both before and after the war, having done not a GD thing EVER, except fall asleep for a super long time. Poor Dame Van Winkle.

Krystal
This is a cute but strange story that is probably more important to American readers than this ignorant Aussie.

I've heard the name Rip Van Winkle but knew nothing about the story, so this was an interesting experience for me. I loved the description of this old guy who is loved by everyone except his overbearing wife, and how he spends his idle days.

It must be said though: I'm not entirely sure this story would be nearly as entertaining without the illustrations. I read this version online and I'd be curious to see the pictures on the page. I'm pretty sure I'd be staring at them for a while. They're so detailed and, honestly, kinda creepy. But it really encourages the imagination, which I loved.

I don't understand the point/subtext of the story, that I'm certain has something to do with the independence of the USA, but on its own its an interesting, whimsical sort of story that's written well.

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