Rip van WinkleRip van Winkle
is a short story by Washington Irving
, as well as the name of the story's fictional protaganist. The story, written while Irving was staying with his sister in Birmingham England
, is set in the days before and after the American Revolutionary War
. A villager of Dutch
descent escapes his nagging wife
by wandering into the woods
. After various adventures, he settles down under a shady tree
and falls asleep. He wakes up years
later and returns to his village
. He immediately gets into trouble when he hails George III
, not knowing that in the meantime the American Revolution has taken place and he is not supposed to be a loyal subject of the Hanoverian any longer.
After this story, "Rip van Winkle" can be a reference to a person who sleeps a long time, or to a person who is inexplicably unaware of current events.
Rip van Winkle has been the subject of several animated cartoons.