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Washington Irving (1783-1859), possibly America's first genuine internationally best-selling author, was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." As an author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century, he wrote numerous accounts of his travels. Some of his historical works include biographies of Oliver Goldsmith, Muhammad, and George Washington as well as several histories of 15th century Spain dealing with subjects such as the Moors, Christopher Columbus, and Alhambra. Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession and argued for stronger laws to protect writers from copyright infringement. His diligence and popularity gained him recognition and praise from European writers such as Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, and Charles Dickens. In "Bracebridge Hall", Irving uses his popular pseudonym, Geoffrey Crayon, to narrate a series of more than fifty loosely connected short stories and essays. This episodic novel, published in 1822, was freely based on Ashton Hall, occupied by members of the Bracebridge family near his sister's home in Birmingham.

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