Washington Irving (1783-1859)

by Robert Bovington

One of the books that all lovers of Spain and its culture should have on their bookshelves is ‘Tales of the Alhambra’. The American romantic writer Washington Irving wrote it following an extended stay in Granada.

Whilst in Spain, working for the American Legation, he had spent a brief time in Sevilla before setting out for Granada with a Russian travelling companion in April 1829. On arriving in this beautiful city, he immediately fell under its spell. He had the extraordinary good fortune to spend several months living in the Alhambra. The book is one of the classic travel books. It is a groundbreaking account of his time there including folklore and local gossip about the handsome princes and learned Moors who had lived in the palace during the years of the Moorish Kings’ residencies.

Washington Irving
sketch by Robert Bovington

Washington Irving had already achieved success as a writer – he had written ‘The History of Christopher Columbus’ and ‘Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada’ before his visit to the Alhambra as well as a number of other works that included biographies and essays. However, he is perhaps best known for his short stories. His most famous being ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’.

In 1806, he had qualified as a lawyer but writing was his first love and, following his early successes in this field, he was assured of earning a living as an author – so much so that he was the first American author to achieve International fame. Another title attributed to him was ‘first American man of letters’.


About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
This entry was posted in Books about Spain and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s