"Irving was a writer of sketches rather than fully realized stories, and his characters, like the luckless Rip Van Winkle, have an emblematic quality, illuminated by the hearty glare of comedy. He was a superb stylist, not a psychologist, for whom, as he said, a story is "merely a frame on which to sketch my materials." … But what rich materials, and how elegantly constructed a frame."
Joyce Carol Oates on Washington Irving, from The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Happy National Short Story Month!
Image credit: Rip Van Winkle illustration by N.C. Wyeth, 1921. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

"Irving was a writer of sketches rather than fully realized stories, and his characters, like the luckless Rip Van Winkle, have an emblematic quality, illuminated by the hearty glare of comedy. He was a superb stylist, not a psychologist, for whom, as he said, a story is "merely a frame on which to sketch my materials." … But what rich materials, and how elegantly constructed a frame."

Joyce Carol Oates on Washington Irving, from The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Happy National Short Story Month!

Image credit: Rip Van Winkle illustration by N.C. Wyeth, 1921. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.