Tales of the Alhambra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Tales of the Alhambra
Author(s)Washington Irving
CountryUnited States & England (concurrently)
LanguageEnglish
PublisherCarey & Lea, Henry Colburn
Publication date1832 (revised 1851)
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Tales of the Alhambra
Author(s)Washington Irving
CountryUnited States & England (concurrently)
LanguageEnglish
PublisherCarey & Lea, Henry Colburn
Publication date1832 (revised 1851)

Tales of the Alhambra is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories by Washington Irving.

Background[edit]

Irving lived at the Alhambra Palace while writing some of the material for his book.

Shortly after completing a biography of Christopher Columbus in 1828, Washington Irving traveled from Madrid, where he had been staying, to Granada, Spain. At first sight, he described it as "a most picturesque and beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen."[1] Irving was preparing a book called A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, a history of the years 1478–1492, and was continuing his research on the topic.[2] He immediately asked the then-governor of the historic Alhambra Palace as well as the archbishop of Granada for access to the palace, which was granted because of Irving's celebrity status.[3] Aided by a 35-year old guide named Mateo Ximenes, Irving was inspired by his experience to write Tales of the Alhambra.[4] Throughout his trip, he filled his notebooks and journals with descriptions and observations though he did not believe his writing would ever do it justice. He wrote, "How unworthy is my scribbling of the place."[3] Irving continued to travel through Spain until he was appointed as secretary of legation at the United States Embassy in London, serving under the incoming minister Louis McLane.[5] He arrived in London by late September 1829.[6]

Publication history[edit]

The Alhambra : a series of tales and sketches of the Moors and Spaniards was published in May 1832 in the United States by publishers Lea & Carey and concurrently in England by Henry Colburn. [7] Consisting of a series of essays and short fiction pieces, it was referred to as his "Spanish Sketch Book"[2] Shortly after the book's publication, Irving returned to New York after a 17-year absence from the United States.[7]

In 1851 Irving wrote an "Author's Revised Edition", also titled Tales of the Alhambra.

Legacy and influence[edit]

Commemorative plaque at the Alhambra, saying "Washington Irving wrote his Tales of Alhambra in these rooms in 1829" in Spanish

The book was instrumental in reintroducing the Alhambra to Western audiences. A plaque now marks the rooms in which Irving stayed while writing some of his book.

Alexander Pushkin's 1834 tale in verse The Tale of the Golden Cockerel is based on two chapters of Tales of the Alhambra. In turn, the Pushkin poem inspired Vladimir Belsky's libretto for the opera "The Golden Cockerel" by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jones, Brian Jay. Washington Irving: An American Original. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2008: 250. ISBN 978-1-55970-836-4
  2. ^ a b Burstein, Andrew. The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving. New York: Basic Books, 2007: 210. ISBN 978-0-465-00853-7
  3. ^ a b Jones, Brian Jay. Washington Irving: An American Original. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2008: 251. ISBN 978-1-55970-836-4
  4. ^ Burstein, Andrew. The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving. New York: Basic Books, 2007: 208. ISBN 978-0-465-00853-7
  5. ^ Burstein, Andrew. The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Washington Irving. New York: Basic Books, 2007: 222. ISBN 978-0-465-00853-7
  6. ^ Jones, Brian Jay. Washington Irving: An American Original. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2008: 264. ISBN 978-1-55970-836-4
  7. ^ a b Jones, Brian Jay. Washington Irving: An American Original. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2008: 289. ISBN 978-1-55970-836-4

External links[edit]