The world of Washington Irving by Van Wyck Brooks

The world of Washington Irving

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Van Wyck Brooks
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This is the second of Brooks' literary history books that I have read. (The first being The Times of Melville and Whitman). The World of Washington Irving was actually the first in the series (known as his Finders and Makers series), and I suspect that I would have enjoyed The Times of Melville and Whitman much more had I read the books more in the order in which they were written.\n\nAs a literary history of a young country, The World of Washington Irving is an excellent book. I found myself taking copious notes about the books which he referenced. (A bibliography would have been a good addition.) I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the individual authors and naturalists-- the section on Audubon was particularly brilliant.\n\nAlthough Brooks is a good writer, I still find his structure difficult to read. It wanders across subjects-- locations, people, styles-- without a pattern that I was able to discern. That may be my lack rather than that of Brooks, but it often made it difficult to follow as I sought for a logic to the jumps in subject. This occasionally made it hard for me to keep concentration and interest, and that's too bad.\n\nRecommended for readers interested in the early period of literary history. Brooks was one of my father's favorite writers, which is why I've been exploring his works as I find them.