A Sprinkle of Washington Irving

sweet cookies christmas baking

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President of the Washington Irving Society

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

During Thanksgiving week, my students will be reading Irving’s Christmas stories from The Sketch Book: “The Stagecoach,” “Christmas Eve,” “Christmas Day,” and “The Christmas Dinner.”

Because I teach until 4:45 on Tuesday, November 26, and the Thanksgiving holiday starts at 5, I’m giving students a writing assignment to be submitted electronically. If students need help, then I’m available to meet with them in my office. If not, they’re free to travel and post from elsewhere.

I imagine students reading about Bracebridge Hall and writing about it, from all over the country; a sprinkle of Washington Irving, here and there, all across the United States.

On their short drives up to Dallas or down to Austin, they could be thinking of Geoffrey Crayon on the stagecoach: “They were returning home for the holidays in high glee, and promising themselves a world of enjoyment. It was delightful to hear the gigantic plans of the little rogues, and the impracticable feats they were to perform during their six weeks’ emancipation from the abhorred thraldom of book, birch, and pedagogue” (191).

One student will be flying into O’Hare, perhaps with wassail on her mind: “The old gentleman’s whole countenance beamed with a serene look of indwelling delight as he stirred this mighty bowl. Having raised it to his lips with a hearty wish of a merry Christmas to all present, he sent it brimming around the board, for everyone to follow his example, according to the primitive style…” (229).

My California students could be landing at LAX with thoughts of peacock pie: “I could not, however, but notice a pie, magnificently decorated with peacock’s feathers, an imitation of the tail of that bird, which overshadowed a considerable tract of the table. This, the squire confessed, with some little hesitation, was a pheasant pie, though a peacock pie was certainly the most authentical…” (227).

I look forward to reading their online papers. Perhaps I’ll pass along their insight when I post next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

I suggested in my last blog that I might leave a voice recording soon, since students are working on podcast packages for a presentation assignment. Between now and Thanksgiving, I’ll be in an audio studio editing their submissions, and I’ll try to record something for the blog.

Until next Wednesday…

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I love receiving feedback from readers! Please feel free to drop comments wherever you like: Twitter, Facebook, on this page. If you need a reply, please message me at Tracy_Hoffman@baylor.edu. I try to respond to all Washington Irving Society-related email on Wednesdays, and I also update the WIS page on Washington Irving Wednesdays.

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Works Cited

Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories from The Sketch Book. Signet, 2006.

Published in: on November 20, 2019 at 12:11 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hi Tracy –

    Nice post.

    Can’t wait to hear the recording.

    A possible topic for the future might be how to construct or develop your own WI reading plan.

    Good idea (I think) for 2020.



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