The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

IV. Irving.

§ 11. A History of New York.

The greatest intellectural accomplishment to be credited to New York during the first years of the republic was the production of The Federalist. It is fair to claim, however, that with Irving and with those writers immediately associated with his work during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, began the real literature of the country. Partly by temperament and by character, and partly, of course, as a result of the opportunities that came to him after a close personal knowledge of England, with a large understanding of things Continental, Irving, while in his convictions a sturdy American, became in his sympathies a compolitan. His first noteworthy production, The History of New-York, is so distinctive in its imagination and humour that it is difficult to class. It is purely local in the sense that the characters and the allusions all have to do with the Dutch occupation of Manhattan Island and the Hudson River region, but, as was evidenced by the cordial appreciation given to the book on the other side of the Atlantic, the humour of Mr. Knickerbocker was accepted as a contribution to the literature of the world.   25