Washington Irving: Biography, Works, and Style


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Why is Washington Irving known as the father of American literature?

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1. What area of the United States influenced Washington Irving's imagery?

2. Which pseudonym did Washington Irving use for The Sketch Book?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Although he is best known for stories that feature the iconic literary characters, Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane, Washington Irving also wrote histories, satires and essays. This quiz/worksheet combo traces Irving's early life and influences and helps you understand various characteristics of his writing.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments you'll be tested on:

  • Irving's contribution to American literature
  • The setting of some of Irving's most famous works
  • Irving's use of pseudonyms
  • Sources for Irving's stories
  • Aspects of Irving's writing style

Skills Practiced

This quiz and worksheet lets students practice the following skills:

  • Information recall - access your knowledge on Washington Irving's life and influences that shaped his writing
  • Defining key concepts - ensure you can accurately define main ideas such as pseudonym
  • Knowledge application - use your understanding of Washington Irving's writing to explain why he was known as the father of American literature

Additional Learning

To learn more, review the accompanying lesson on the life and works of Washington Irving. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Understand Irving's background and influences on his writing
  • Know some of the literary devices Irving used in his writing
  • List some of Irving's best-known works
  • Understand Irving's reputation as the father of American literature
  • Describe how Irving transforms German folk tales into distinctly American stories