Down to Business with Washington Irving

An accounting major recently told me he loved Washington Irving.

Perhaps English Departments should consider fiercer marketing toward reaching business majors to take literature classes.

Ironically, I’ve given up teaching Ben Franklin in entry-level American Lit because other departments readily teach him. Students are already versed in Franklin’s autobiography. They usually tell me they’ve read him in business classes. Therefore, I find myself wanting to introduce them to someone else.

Might the School of Business borrow Irving, too? Founding Father? Father of American Literature? Ben Franklin made a decent living at the newspaper business, and Irving did the same with his books.

I explained to this future accountant the bankruptcy of Irving’s family hardware business, an event sparking his seventeen-year stay in Europe. Though Irving was teased as being a gentlemanly man about town, he struggled to prove himself financially as a writer.

Some of Irving’s bookkeeping records can be found in his published letters/journals. I’ve studied them somewhat, but an accountant would definitely have more insight.

Sam Houston had issues with New York investors. When connecting him to Irving, I often consider whether he and Irving chatted about such investments.

I encouraged the student to check out the pirate stories in Tales of a Traveller. I’m not sure if he’s ready for the longer histories. I don’t want to scare away a new fan.

As my classes finish up Washington Irving, the accounting majors will be looking for financial dealings. I’ll also watch out for more texts which could appeal to the business element in my classes.

Published in: on September 12, 2018 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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