This essay attempts to elucidate the structual principles of Irving's "low" humor in the Knickerbocker History of New York by showing that the History is predicated on a schema of human development. In this comprehensive comic allegory the "peopling" of North America suggests the process of human reproduction while the "infant history" of seventeenth-century New York parallels the process of childhood psychological development according to a Freudian psychoanalytic model. As clusters of comic imagery and episode reveal, the reigns of Irving's three Dutch governors-Walter the Doubter, William the Testy, and Peter the Headstrong-embody the oral, anal, and genital (phallic) stages of child development. Similarly, the instinctual orientation of the gubernatorial body is mirrored in the body politic. The reign of Peter Stuyvesant, which occupies the most space in the History, is also notable for a pair of allegorical doublets, Jacobus Von Poffenburgh and Antony Van Corlear, who represent Peter's false and true phallic heroes, respectively. During Peter's reign, an implied contest between these two phallic personages transpires, ending with the English takeover of New Amsterdam.
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