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[249] New York in 1819-20 and in London in 1820, under the title of The sketch Book. It is by this volume that he is today best known among readers on both sides of the Atlantic. The book has been translated into almost every European tongue, and for many years it served, and still serves, in France, in Germany, and in Italy as a model of English style and as a textbook from which students are taught their English. In this latter r61e, it took, to a considerable extent, the place of The Spectator.

The publication by Murray of The sketch Book, and two years later of Bracebridge Hall, brought Irving at once into repute in literary circles not only in Great Britain, but on the Continent. In 1826, after a year or two chiefly spent in travelling in France, Germany, and Italy, he was appointed by Alexander Everett, at that time Minister to Spain, attach to the Legation at Madrid, and this first sojourn in Spain had an important influence in shaping the direction of Irving's future literary work. In July, 1827, he brought to completion his biography of Columbus, later followed by the account of the Companions of Columbus (1831). The Columbus was published in London and in Philadelphia in 1828 and secured at once cordial and general appreciation. Southey wrote from London: “This work places Irving in the front rank of modern biographers” ; and Edward Everett said that “through the Columbus, Irving is securing the position of founder of the American school of polite learning.” Irving continued absorbed and fascinated with the examination of the Spanish chronicles. He made long sojourns in Granada, living for a great part of the time within the precincts of the Alhambra, and later he spent a year or more in Seville. He occupied himself collecting material for the completion of The Conquest of Granada, published in 1829, and for the Legends of the Alhambra, published in 1832.

In 1828, Irving declined an offer of one hundred guineas to write an article for The Quarterly review, of which his friend Murray was the publisher, on the ground, as he wrote, “that the Review [then under the editorship of Gifford] has been so persistently hostile to our country that I cannot draw a pen in its service.” This episode may count as a fair rejoinder to certain of the home critics who were then accusing Irving (as half a century later Lowell was, in like manner, accused) of

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