Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ten Year Sleep: Re-reading Rip van Winkle

"Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues." --Washington Irving, "Rip van Winkle"

I remember reading Rip van Winkle as an undergrad. I remember liking it well enough. My mind still possesses the ethereal remnants of our in-class discussion about it. I also remember being underwhelmed. That's why I never thought to teach it in my own American Lit classes. Thinking back 10 yrs, I thought the story long and unwieldy. As a hinterland, preternatural tale, I preferred its younger cousin "Young Goodman Brown."

But after rereading Rip Van Winkle for my American Lit class, I admit I overlooked or disregarded its humor and depth. It's only taken 10 years for me to wake up to its greatness. One of my mentors told me that teaching literature is a good way to supplement my literature education. Luckily, it's not just for stories I haven't read, but those I've read and slept on.

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