Skip to main content

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is subtitled "found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker."  I'm not usually one to read the classics (unless I'm required to read one of them for a class).  However, since Sleepy Hollow, Fox's take on the classic short story by Washington Irving, will debut this fall, I thought I should read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" first even though in the world of the TV show the short story itself does not exist.

The premise of the show is this: somehow both Ichabod Crane and the infamous Headless Horseman are transported from the time of the American Revolution to the present day.  The Headless Horseman begins terrorizing Sleepy Hollow's local denizens anew, and Crane joins forces with a female sheriff's deputy/detective to 'solve' the crimes perpetrated by the Horseman.  And one would assume ultimately to find a way to stop the Horseman once and for all.

I believe the show is getting mixed reviews.  I have seen both an unfavorable review and a more favorable one.  And I have also seen the extended promo for the show, and I am telling you this show looks awesome--there's supernatural weirdness, mystery, thrills, humor, AND a cute British guy.  Okay, what's not to love especially when there's a cute British guy involved?  Although I will say that I wasn't feeling Ichabod's hairdo in photos but in motion in the promo it looks better--a little.

Having now read the short story and watched the promo for the show, I can say that it seems that the show, obviously, hews more to the supernatural aspects recounted in the short story even though the short story, ultimately, isn't really 'ghost story.'  I think the show is more 'inspired by' the short story than 'based on' the short story, if that makes sense.  And honestly I'm not too sure what to make of the short story other than to say that it's really (really really) long and... then there's a non-ending.  I think I'm not really a short story reading kind of person because most of the time when I finish a short story, it's like, 'what's the point?  I don't get it.'

The tiny, idyllic community of Sleepy Hollow, whose atmosphere lends well to hauntings, is terrorized nightly by a headless, horse-riding specter, said to be the ghost of a Hessian soldier separated from his head by a cannon ball.  Ichabod Crane, from Connecticut, comes to teach the local children.  Described as exceedingly tall and lanky and likened to an animated scarecrow absconding from some nearby cornfield, Crane reads tales of witchery and hauntings and enjoys listening to the local housewives' tales of ghostly apparitions; all of which conspire to cause his imagination to run away with fright at each shadow and scratch in the night.

Ichabod falls for a local farming heiress as much for her womanly charms as for the abundant wealth and successful farm she stands to inherit from her father.  However, he has a rival for her affections in Brom, who resorts to breaking Ichabod by mercilessly pranking him and making him appear the fool in front of his lady love.  Upon riding home late one evening after being rejected once and for all by his lady love, Ichabod encounters the Headless Horseman who endeavors to ride beside him in companionable silence despite the former's determination to get away from him.

This is a long, long story, and we are by now 40 pages in when we finally meet the ghoul after many pages of descriptions of the community, of its denizens, of our antagonist and our protagonist, the love interest and her father's farm, the school, etc. setting up this confrontation between Ichabod and the headless rider.  The story isn't really what I was expecting... the point of it isn't really the ghost story that is 'the legend of the hollow', but rather I guess 'the legend' is the story itself of Ichabod and his encounter with the horseman and the implied true identity of the horseman that Ichabod encounters.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

Comments

Mrs. Romano said…
Well, I enjoyed reading what you wrote about it. I love classics, but some of them are tough to read. I think the show will be great! Can't wait.

Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at http://www.tanafrench.com/) does not offer any insi…