A Master of His Domain

A Declaration of My Views and Insight

Archive for the category “Washington Irving Posts”

The “Appearance” of Bookmaking

When I was assigned my English paper, I was told to choose a story from our class novel, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving, and further my understanding of some literary term through that story. I was really interested when we read the story “The Art of Bookmaking.” This short story is about a man you finds himself in a mysterious new place where authors create books: The British Library. The man sees these fascinating “Magi” (63) and what they are doing to create books, by “taking a morsel out of one [book] and a morsel out of another” and compiling these pieces to form one ‘new’ book “as heterogeneous as those of the witches’ cauldron in Macbeth” (64). To many of us now, this scene probably seems very far-fetched because why would authors be described as Magi?or why would authors be taking pieces of other works and putting them together to create their own?

It is this exaggeration that I plan to build my paper on. The term is hyperbole, and it means to use obvious over-exaggeration in a piece of literature. Within this story there are plenty of places that Irving is hyperbolic and one can infer that some real exaggeration is going on. In my paper, I plan to research more into this story and read these “exaggerations” more closely, because I believe that although we may perceive these descriptions by Irving to be purely exaggeration, there may be pieces or instances where this exaggeration is not really exaggeration. Also, there may be times where Irving’s hyperbole is unclear in the story or not clearly obvious, which is contradictory to the standard denotation of hyperbole.

I know this picture seems quite childish because of the simply clip-art, but I thought it seemed clever and could easily convey the idea of a hyperbole through over-exaggeration.



The Reality of “The Broken Heart”

I recently read Washington Irving’s short story, “The Broken Heart.” It tells of the differences between the heart of a man and the heart of a woman. In the heart of a man, one would find the love for power, for respect, and for the control over other men. Yet, in the heart of a woman, one finds affection, sympathy, and passion for the people that she is close with. When I read this, I was taken back by how right Irving was and still is. Even in the 1700s/1800s when he wrote these stories, Irving detailed the traits of men and women that are still prevalent in today’s society. These “traits” are almost like hereditary genes that have been passed on through all humankind from parent to progeny.

I feel as though woman are much more connected with others and their emotions and feelings. I’ve seen my own mother cry about things she has seen on TV that she has had no influence in or received from. Her womanly/motherly psyche has such a connection to the feelings of others that it allows her to sympathize and genuinely feel positively and negatively inflicted. I find that really strange how woman can just be so empathetic in such a way. In my experiences, any man that watches or comes in contact with the same stimuli really shows no outward sign of affection. So seeing that Irving has made this connection also between man and woman amazes me because although he lived in a different time then do today, he too experienced the same sort of juxtaposition.


“The beauty of a woman must be seen from her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.”  –Teresa Mahieu

(I found this quote from a poem by Mahieu titled “The Beauty of a Woman,” this truly does exemplify the soul of a woman. If one wants to discover the mystery that is women, he must look to her heart.)



The Voyage by Irving (A Literary Map)

In reading “The Voyage,” I found that Irving could have been leaving some meaning behind the story of the man traveling to England at sea.  This could be a stretch or completely false from what he was actually trying to convey through his writing, but nonetheless, I’ll continue on. After reading through the story, and then rereading it, I started to feel as though this story was one of a disconcerting nature. I felt as though Irving was trying to tell us as readers that imagination was being lost in humans. Being still in one’s home or in their “comfort zone” is holding us back. It is when we finally go out and discover new things/places/people that we can truly rediscover what imagination is. I attached a photo of a literary map that I drew out, making some connections through some of the major ideas or parts of the story and relating them all back to “The Voyage,” or discovering our imagination. I tied the actual trip out to sea as our way of leaving our old life behind to bring to light the imagination of our youth. I also paralleled the sailboat and the shipwreck it causes to the death, or loss,  of our former imagination and the rediscovering of it. England is thought of by the character as the home of our childhood imagination, and landing their to see a woman recognize her sickly husband is akin, I think, to a recognition or rediscovery of that lost imagination. In reading this story, I found that imagination is being lost in us and to truly find ourselves, we need to escape our old “land” and leave our old ideas of what our lives were in the dust and go out and discover what we are missing.






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