Honors College Thesis

 

The Legends of a Traveler : Excavating a Transnational Past through Storytelling in Irving's Alhambra Public Deposited

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  • To the chagrin of his American comrades, Washington Irving would spend much of his life in Europe as a writer and cross-cultural explorer, including a stay in the halls of the Alhambra. This experience led to the completion of Tales of the Alhambra (1832), a collection of sketches, anecdotes, and legends related to the palace-fortress in Granada in southern Spain. Historically, American critics have cheapened the value of Irving’s legends in the work and have instead focused on the autobiographical portions of the work. I argue that Irving’s stories reflect his point of view as a transnational storyteller, as shown with the worldly characters in his stories as they attempt to share their experiences with other markedly parochial characters. Focusing on two of his stories, “Legend of the Arabian Astrologer” and “Legend of the Two Discreet Statues,” I contend that Irving draws attention, through his characters, to the importance of storytelling in expanding worldviews, excavating transnational relationships, and renewing interest in exploring new cultures.
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