Washington Irving And Wilkie In The Alhambra

Geoffrey Crayon (Irving), and Wilkie, the painter, were fellow-travellers

on the Continent, about the year 1827. In their rambles about some of

the old cities of Spain, they were more than once struck with scenes and

incidents which reminded them of passages in the Arabian Nights. The

painter urged Mr. Irving to write something that should illustrate those

peculiarities, "something in the 'Haroun-al-Raschid style,'" which

should have a deal of that Arabian spice which pervades everything in

Spain. The author set to work, con amore, and produced two goodly

volumes of Arabesque sketches and tales, founded on popular traditions.

His study was the Alhambra, and the governor of the palace gave Irving

and Wilkie permission to occupy his vacant apartments there. Wilkie was

soon called away by the duties of his station; but Washington Irving

remained for several months, spell-bound in the old enchanted pile. "How

many legends," saith he, "and traditions, true and fabulous--how many

songs and romances, Spanish and Arabian, of love, and war, and chivalry,

are associated with this romantic pile."

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