Washington Irving (1783-1859) was America's first successful man of letters. Irving won an international reputation as a prose stylist. He is known widely for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Later he produced a history of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus and a Chronicle of Granada, both during a period of residence in Spain. His final work, upon which work was punctuated by four years as U.S. minister to Spain, was The Life of George Washington. The effort expended on that project was so great that it affected his health, and he died a few months after it was completed.