Washington Irving’s Contributions to the Corrector
introduction by Martin Roth
University of Minnesota Press, 1968
Paper: 978-0-8166-5864-0


Washington Irving's Contributions to the Corrector was first published in 1968. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This volume makes available, for the first time in collected form, a series of sketches by Washington Irving which were published anonymously in a political newspaper, The Corrector, in 1804. The Corrector, a short-lived political sheet, was published in New York City by Washington Irving's brother Peter Irving. While it has been assumed that Washington Irving contributed to the periodical, the present collection represents the first attempt to identify his contributions.

The collection contains forty-five pieces by Washington Irving. In addition, Professor Roth provides a literary and historical background in a lengthy introduction, as well as annotations for each selection, giving the documentary evidence on which the attribution of authorship is based.

Washington Irving's sketches for The Corrector were written as campaign literature for Aaron Burr in the New York gubernatorial election of 1804. As Professor Roth points out, they are filled with low and indecent abuse, and they contradict accepted notions of Irving's literary character. The view of Irving from the nineteenth century onward has been that of a gentle, genial, and dignified personality, and his excursions in low invective or slapstick have generally been dismissed as accidents or exceptions to his read nature. The editor places this body of Irving's work in the perspective of traditional invective and traces its relationship to other comic and satiric writing of the eighteenth century.

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