A Bibliography of the Writings of Washington Irving: A Check List

A Bibliography of the Writings of Washington Irving: A Check List

A Bibliography of the Writings of Washington Irving: A Check List

A Bibliography of the Writings of Washington Irving: A Check List

Excerpt

Biography and bibliography go hand in hand. The present bibliography has developed inevitably out of The Life of Washington Irving; it aspires to become both a supplement and a guide to the larger work; and its evolution into the dignity of a separate volume is natural. In its earliest form it was a brief, practical record of Irving's most important published books as they appeared during his lifetime. A study of his contemporary reputation, through the reviews of these, led logically to numerous other titles and editions printed before 1859; then to collected works; next to posthumous issues; and hence to the almost myriad editions, selections, and extracts which were released after the author's death. This substantial body of titles revealed the existence of European versions; urged an examination of Irving's associations with magazines; hinted at interesting composites, adaptations, special printings; and sent the biographer off upon bibliographical adventures more exciting than important. Nevertheless, it is agreeable to recall the eager search for a Spanish "Rip Van Winkle" in obscure libraries in the Peninsula; the acquisition of a Russian edition of Astoria; the tracking down of texts in Italian and Swedish. After all, such quests were not futile; they have enriched the bibliographical story of Irving as a whole. Gradually, then, the scope of this bibliography widened. The original plan of a long bibliographical note at the end of the biography proved inadequate. Instead there has resulted an individual volume designed for the student of Washington Irving, containing a check list of all his writings, a check list from its very nature imperfect and incomplete, but thorough, and extending from the year of Irving's first publication (1802) until the present time. Here exists in outline the literary career of our first man of letters.

Such a volume seemed even more practicable after the appearance in 1933 of the first detailed bibliography of Irving. This book, whose genesis was in Mr. Langfeld's distinguished library of Irvingiana, will remain indispensable to the collector and useful to the literary historian. It includes analytical studies of first and second editions, unravelling . . .

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