Rip van Wafels: Sweet Reminder of Irving’s Rip


September 6, 2018

My students sometimes comment about this sweet treat available on campus, at our various Starbucks locations. It’s always a friendly reminder of Rip Van Winkle.

Yesterday, I had a quick conversation with a colleague in passing. She had just finished teaching “Rip Van Winkle.” She was impressed with a student who had brought up the Dutch influence in Irving’s writing and had quite a bit of commentary to share with the class. She told the student that he must have done some serious research on the Dutch prior to class.

This colleague and I joked about how little most people, including us, actually know about the Dutch and the Dutch influence in New York and in America overall.

Windmill cookies, chocolate milk, and doughnuts come to my mind for some reason. When you mention Amsterdam, of course, students have a whole new set of ideas about the Dutch. And I also think about my visits to twenty-first century Amsterdam.

When I teach “Rip Van Winkle,” I remind students that the Dutch originally settled New York. I jokingly say something like, “I know we Texans don’t concern ourselves too much with New York, but we should note that the Dutch originally settled New York.”

Indeed, the Dutch don’t get much attention in American Literature, and I’m guessing we don’t tend to them much in American history or political science either.

Yet another reason to appreciate Washington Irving! He and his Diedrich Knickerbocker, the narrator of “Rip” and other Irving stories, remind us of the Dutch influence in America.

Published in: on September 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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