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Best first lines in literature-- let's take a break from politics for a bit of culture.

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posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 08:22 AM
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"Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burden'd air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep."




posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 08:28 AM
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"There was a rock that since the creation of the world had been worked upon by the pure essences of Heaven and fine savours of Earth, the vigour of sunshine and the grace of moonlight, till at last it became magically pregnant and one day split open, giving birth to a stone egg, about as big as a playing ball."

Monkey, by Wu Ch'Eng-En (Arthur Waley translation)





posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 09:23 AM
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"I swear I'm licked before I start, trying to tell you all what Mr. Onselm looked like."

not a novel but a story, 'O Ugly Bird' by Manly Wade Wellman, but worthwhile I hope.
edit on 16-10-2016 by ElGoobero because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 09:53 AM
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"And this also, has been one of the dark places of the earth." First line of dialogue from "The Heart of Darkness" by Josef Conrad...





(Star and flag for the only story on the front page that isn't about this stupid election)



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 10:36 AM
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"There once was a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself - not just sometimes, but always."

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 10:54 AM
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Here's another from Orwell-- an essay titled Shooting an Elephant.

"In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people--the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me."

I can't wait to pick my next book from this wealth of material!
edit on 16-10-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 01:18 PM
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And one of my all time favourites, as partially seen in my avatar for years...

"Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself
In dark woods, the right road lost."

- Dante (Pinksy translation)
edit on 16-10-2016 by Leonidas because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 02:35 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky



"Post-modern Hyperrealism and the Art of Terrorism for Dummies."

^^^ Is that a book?



It should be.

Here's the best equivalent that I could think of from my own library:



The successful application of the Fifth Generation of Warfare (5GW) is "indistinguishable from magic" (Rees 2009, following in the spirit of Clarke's Law, propounded by the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey) "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic").

The Fifth-Generation warrior hides in the shadows, or in the static. So, then, how can analysts and researchers study and discuss 5GW?


The Handbook of Fifth-Generation Warfare (5gw) -Daniel H. Abbott





posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 04:01 PM
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"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." The Gunslinger, Stephen King.



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 06:32 PM
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originally posted by: Leonidas
And one of my all time favourites, as partially seen in my avatar for years...

"Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself
In dark woods, the right road lost."

- Dante (Pinksy translation)


Absolutely!
The Divine Comedy



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 06:38 PM
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originally posted by: Leonidas
And one of my all time favourites, as partially seen in my avatar for years...

"Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself
In dark woods, the right road lost."

- Dante (Pinksy translation)


Do you prefer this translation above others? This is the one I have:

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
for the straightforward pathway had been lost.

A bit more verbose. Which version do you prefer?




posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 10:39 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

Here are two in terza rima, the rhyme scheme actually used by Dante. The first is by Dorothy L. Sayers.


Midway this way of life we’re bound upon
I woke to find myself in a dark wood
Where the right road was wholly lost and gone

The second is by the Australian poet Clive James.


At the mid-point of the path through life, I found
Myself lost in a wood so dark, the way
Ahead was blotted out. The keening sound...

The sentence continues into the second verse.

Here’s the original:


Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.



edit on 16/10/16 by Astyanax because: of a bad typo.



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 10:44 PM
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"There's a guy like me in every state and federal prison in America, I guess--I'm the guy who can get it for you."

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption -- Stephen King



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 10:45 PM
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a reply to: Kandinsky

Here’s another treasure from the man Harold Pinter once introduced to the PEN club as ‘the head of our profession’.


I marmaladed a slice of toast with something of a flourish, and I don’t suppose I have ever come much closer to saying ‘Tra-la-la’ as I did the lathering, for I was feeling in mid-season form this morning.



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 10:48 PM
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originally posted by: Astyanax

Genesis 1:1? That’s the way a kindergartener begins a story. Come on.


When it comes to creation myths, I'd say the Sumerians prevail:

When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being.

Thanks for the original verse of Divine Tragedy! What a gorgeous language.. and Dante's version of it (and choice to use Tuscan dialect) so heavily influenced that which is spoken today, or so I understand.
edit on 16-10-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 16 2016 @ 11:06 PM
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a reply to: QuantumNTelsa

This is a great book and an interesting opening. Einmal ist klinmal..



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 12:48 AM
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On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Organon, Repetition and Astrology. The governess was always getting muddled with her astrolabe, and when she got specially muddled she would take it out of the Wart by rapping his knuckles.

The Once and Future King by T. H. White





posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 03:06 AM
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Ok, so here goes. This is the opening line of "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul" by Douglas Adams, which in my view might be the best opening of any book ever.




It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the expression 'As pretty as an airport'.


The rest is brilliant too, of course.

BT
edit on 17-10-2016 by beetee because: (no reason given)

edit on 17-10-2016 by beetee because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 07:27 AM
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here are a couple of mine

"riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

"Horselover Fat’s nervous breakdown began the day he got the phone call from Gloria asking if he had any Nembutals."

"The search for liberation, a paradisiacal state of freedom that mythology
insists is the ahistorical root of the historical process, has always been the
raison d'etre of the human species' conscious pilgrimage through time. In
the name of drawing near to this liberation, humankind has built and then
partially rejected an endless procession of societies, governments, philosophies,
and religions. "



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 08:59 AM
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First 20 lines of 'The Odyssey' has always stuck with me throughout the years.

SPEAK, MEMORY—
Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy’s sacred heights.

Speak
Of all the cities he saw, the minds he grasped,
The suffering deep in his heart at sea
As he struggled to survive and bring his men home
But could not save them, hard as he tried—
The fools—destroyed by their own recklessness
When they ate the oxen of Hyperion the Sun,
And that god snuffed out their day of return.

Of these things,

Speak, Immortal One,
And tell the tale once more in our time.


Reading it again after all the years have gone by, its almost prophetic and could be the first 20 lines to any one persons life story.

ETA: Opening line to my all time favorite book: Ender's Game

“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.” - Gaff speaking of the decision to use Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin to lead humanity in the next Great War.
edit on Octam10000000fam2016-10-17T09:09:12-05:0031000000Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:09:12 -0500 by ManufacturedDissent because: Orson Scott Card shout out



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