Inconsistencies in Washington Irving's characterization of Mahomet in the first volume of Mahomet and His Successors
In 1849 Washington Irving published the first volume of Mahomet and His Successors, his contribution to the study of Islam and its Prophet. This volume, though one of two, can stand alone as a biography similar in scope to the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, Life of George Washington and Oliver Goldsmith: A Biography; in it Irving focuses on the life of Mahomet, beginning with a description of the land which gave birth to the Prophet and ending with his death. The second volume, which was hastily thrown together after the publication of the first and presented to the public in 1850, leaves the discussion of the Prophet behind, exploring instead the early spread of the Islamic empire. The book has little of the thematic focus of the first, and bears the marks of being rushed into print: it is a poorly organized collection of battles and intrigues, and shows virtually none of the "toning" which Irving is famous for.