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Famed American humorist Washington Irving published a series of short stories telling of his adventures traveling from America to England. This volume contains some of his observations about that trip, including his impressions of the English countryside, the differences between the wealthy and the poor, rural customs, and other aspects of British culture. During a visit to the library located in the depths of Westminster Abbey, Irving muses on the issue of why some examples of English literature stand the test of time, while others are lost to history. The collection concludes with Irving's memories of his visit to Stratford-on-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare, and the nearby communities that influenced some of Shakespeare's work. ( Greg Giordano)