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Washington Irving was an American author and storyteller, famous for his mystical tales of early America. A lawyer and a linguist, Irving's prolific writings included more than simple tales of fantasy. His biographies touched on a variety of figures, ranging from Christopher Columbus to Mohammed, while as a satirist, Irving was the first to call New York City "Gotham," referring to the English city of the same name. It is for two works that Irving is most respected - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle - and would tie Irving forever with emerging American folk lore.