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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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