By: Washington Irving (1783-1859)
This is a collection of essays, verbal sketches, and stories by Washington Irving. Irving lived at the Alhambra Palace while writing some of the material for his book. In 1828, Washington Irving traveled from Madrid, where he had been staying, to Granada, Spain. At first sight, he described it as "a most picturesque and beautiful city, situated in one of the loveliest landscapes that I have ever seen." He immediately asked the then-governor of the historic Alhambra Palace as well as the archbishop of Granada for access to the palace, which was granted because of Irving's celebrity status. Aided by a 35-year old guide named Mateo Ximenes, Irving was inspired by his experience to write Tales of the Alhambra. Throughout his trip, he filled his notebooks and journals with descriptions and observations though he did not believe his writing would ever do it justice. He wrote, "How unworthy is my scribbling of the place." A commemorative plaque in Spanish at the Alhambra reads, "Washington Irving wrote his Tales of Alhambra in these rooms in 1829". The book was instrumental in reintroducing the Alhambra to Western audiences.