Knickerbocker's History of New York, Vol. 1 cover

Knickerbocker's History of New York, Vol. 1

Washington Irving (1783-1859)

1. Introduction
2. The Author's Apology
3. Notices
4. Account of the Author
5. To the Public
6. Book I, Chapter I
7. Book I, Chapter II
8. Book I, Chapter III
9. Book I, Chapter IV
10. Book I, Chapter V
11. Book II, Chapter I
12. Book II, Chapter II
13. Book II, Chapter III
14. Book II, Chapter IV
15. Book II, Chapter V
16. Book II, Chapter VI
17. Book II, Chapter VII
18. Book II, Chapter VIII
19. Book II, Chapter IX
20. Book III, Chapter I
21. Book III, Chapter II
22. Book III, Chapter III
23. Book III, Chapter IV
24. Book III, Chapter V
25. Book III, Chapter VI
26. Book III, Chapter VII
27. Book III, Chapter VIII
28. Book III, Chapter IX
29. Book IV, Chapter I
30. Book IV, Chapter II
31. Book IV, Chapter III
32. Book IV, Chapter IV
33. Book IV, Chapter V

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Summary

Washington Irving, an author, biographer, historian, and diplomat, completed his first major work, a satire of contemporary local history and politics entitled A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker in 1809. Prior to its publication, Irving started a promotional hoax (not unlike some modern-day publicity stunts?) by placing fake missing persons advertisements in local newspapers asking for help in locating Diedrich Knickerbocker. As a continuation of the hoax, Irving also published a notice purported to be written by the proprietor of the hotel where Knickbocker was staying, in which he threatened to publish a manuscript “left behind” by Knickerbocker if the hotel bill was not paid. From “The Author’s Apology”: “The main object of my work, in fact, had a bearing wide from the sober aim of history, but one which, I trust, will meet with some indulgence from poetic minds. It was to embody the traditions of our city in an amusing form; to illustrate its local humors, customs and peculiarities; to clothe home scenes and places and familiar names with those imaginative and whimsical associations so seldom met with in our new country, but which live like charms and spells about the cities of the old world, binding the heart of the native inhabitant to his home.” -