It's been a while since I've touched upon the topic of Rip Van Winkle. This weekend, an errand took me to the village of Irvington, which is named after beloved local figure and American literary pioneer Washington Irving, who lived on the Irvington/Tarrytown border in his sunset years. In front of the Irvington Middle School, there is a statue of Irving's beloved literary creation, commissioned by the village board in 2001 and sculpted by Richard Masloski:
The statue, which depicts Rip Van Winkle newly awakened after his twenty year slumber, reminds me of the famous statue of the Dying Galatian. Rip's pose is similar, though he is not in a state of dishabille. His head is up, ready to gaze on the new nation in which he has awakened, unlike the poor Galatian gladiator, with his downcast, dying gaze.
Rip Van Winkle was originally published in Washington Irving's 1820 Sketchbook of Geoffery Crayon, Gent., and purports to be a tale found in the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker (the "marketing" campaign Irving used to publicize his "History of New York" is startlingly "modern" and "viral". Like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, it involves nested pen names- Irving writing as Crayon writing as Knickerbocker. The tale, in which a loyal English subject of Dutch descent wakes up in an independent United States, is in the public domain. I read it every couple of years to "re-up" my local literary credentials.