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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, 17 2016 @ 09:44 AM
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originally posted by: ManufacturedDissent

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.
.


Great contribution and I really liked what you said here.. we all do have a hero's journey here in this life. Most of the best literature definitely transcends the personal and reaches the universal.




posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 12:09 PM
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a reply to: Saturnschild

Yes that's a good one. Though who the hell was Rintrah?

Curious thought: most of Blake's verse was made comprehensible only by his illustrations. Most of which have not survived.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 12:14 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

Yes -- and have you read Aleister Crowley's account of himself in the same position, but with a buffalo? Similar reflections on the obligations of imperialism but hilariously overdone.

Have you read Burmese Days]? And please tell me if I'm spamming your thread.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 12:28 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Not spamming at all, but enriching. Thanks for all of your input; it's very much appreciated.

I haven't (read Burmese Days nor Crowley's) do you recommend either/both? -- I must admit the buffalo teaser has me intrigued. A parody of Orwell's? Vice-versa?



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 12:52 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

Burmese Days for sure -- it's a novel based on Orwell's experiences there -- though the ending is a downer rivalled only by that of Paul Theroux's The Mosquito Coast. If you're reading this book and you find yourself feeling a bit blue for any reason, you must stop reading for your own safety.

Crowley's account is in the Confessions. It's typical, bombastic but funny, a different take from Orwell's on the obligations of a white man with a gun who finds himself among natives with expectations. It's a bagatelle, just a few paragraphs, but it made me laugh.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 01:28 PM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
If you're reading this book and you find yourself feeling a bit blue for any reason, you must stop reading for your own safety.


Sounds serious! Not much levity when it comes to imperialism. I found Orwell's take so interesting, though, as it referred to the effect of the oppressed (and the act of oppressing) on the oppressor. Slightly similar in my mind to Franz Fallon's The Wretched of the Earth-- have you read that one?

As for Crowley.. the guy doesn't hold much appeal to me personally, which doesn't mean that his art won't appeal, but there is so much out there to read I'd probably avoid without a strong case otherwise.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 02:48 PM
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My favorite first line ever.

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

-Stephen King
The Gunslinger

a reply to: zosimov



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 03:11 PM
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originally posted by: GorillaSnoop
My favorite first line ever.

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

-Stephen King
The Gunslinger



Either I'm getting deja vu, or that's the third time that's been put forth.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 03:12 PM
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One from my teenage angst...

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect."

Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka




posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 03:21 PM
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Since Stephen King is so very popular, the first lines from The Body...

“The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are things you get ashamed of, because words make them smaller. When they were in your head they were limitless; but when they come out they seem to be no bigger than normal things. But that's not all. The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried; they are clues that could guide your enemies to a prize they would love to steal."

His novels are a little too formulaic after you've munched through a few, but his short stories are stunning. The Long Walk is one of my all time favourites...but the first lines aren't so memorable.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 06:48 PM
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"Who is John Gault?"

Ayn Rand : Atlas Shrugged.

Even though this doesn't fit the OP's request, I would love to point out the beauty of Issac Asimov's story Robbie (I robot) didn't start with the three laws of robotics but they are indeed profound.


1 A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2 A robot must obey the orders given [sic] it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3 A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.



posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 10:25 PM
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The strongest impression of my early childhood—I was seven years old—an impression of which I still retain a vivid memory, was the emotion aroused in my young heart by the sight of a gothic cathedral

Le Mystère des Cathédrales -Fulcanelli





posted on Oct, 17 2016 @ 10:43 PM
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a reply to: Dan00

Dhalgren thanks for reminding me - one of the most strangest sci fi books on my shelves.

Not trying to go "off books" but..
This is one of my favourite songs...
Alan Parsons
Tales Of Mystery And Imagination

opening track
A Dream within a Dream


"For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it.
There is, however, a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy which are not thoughts, and to which as yet I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language.
These fancies arise in the soul, alas how rarely.
Only at epochs of most intense tranquillity, when the bodily and mental health are in perfection.
And at those weird points of time, where the confines of the waking world blend with the world of dreams.
And so I captured this fancy, where all that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream."



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 03:43 AM
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"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice...”

Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 04:18 AM
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a reply to: Dan00

Got to love William Gibson mate - here's a good one from Philip.


"A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick




And Neal Stephenson.



"The bells of St. Mark's were ringing changes up on the mountain when Bud skated over to the mod parlor to upgrade his skull gun.

The Diamond Age



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 08:49 AM
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originally posted by: karl 12
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice...”

Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude


Yes, what a great choice! I'd like to find my copy of Of Love and Other Demons (do you happen to have it?) because I seem to recall a fascinating first line about an escavation of a church yard revealing the skelleton of a young girl with cascading, surprisingly long red hair.. ring a bell?

Thanks for the post!
edit on 18-10-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 09:24 AM
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Here is a more obscure one;

Jaime will get him. No, Alejo will have him delivered

R.M. Koster, "The Prince".
Kiki Sancudo, next president of the Republic of Tinieblas until he was paralysed by a gunshot, is plotting his revenge.
The book is the story of how events got to that point.



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 09:45 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: Kandinsky

Yes, that's one of the least thrilling sentences that ever opened a thriller.

But it's a brilliant book (which I recently re-read). The best bit of writing in it is the chapter where Jim recaptures the Hispaniola single-handed, especially the bit where he describes the sounds made by the ship.


So, thanks to above conversation, I've found a copy of Treasure Island and am currently enthralled in the maritime adventure! Funny to say, I picked it up about a year ago (after my Melville jaunt) and couldn't get past the first couple of lines. Thanks for this commentary- the book is great.

Also (per several comments on this thread--thanks Dan00!) found a Gibson-- Pattern Recognition that's next in my cue.
edit on 18-10-2016 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 09:53 AM
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originally posted by: zosimov

I'd like to find my copy of Of Love and Other Demons (do you happen to have it?) because I seem to recall a fascinating first line about an escavation of a church yard revealing the skelleton of a young girl with cascading, surprisingly long red hair.. ring a bell



Ha yes got that one mate (lovely book) and the part about the hair of Sierva Maria Due Todos Los Angeles is towards the end of a 2 page preface by the author - truly great reading though!

Here's the first sentence about a rabid dog.




An ash grey dog with a white blaze on its forehead burst onto the rough terrain of the market on the first Sunday in December, knocked down tables of fried food, overturned Indians' stalls and lottery kiosks and bit four people who happened to cross its path



posted on Oct, 18 2016 @ 12:25 PM
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Tyler gets me job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth saying, "The first step to eternal life is you have to die"


Chuck Palahniuk - Fight Club

Contrast that with the movie, "People are always asking me do I know Tyler Durden". The book is a riot, a roller coaster ride, fast paced, "I want to sit down and finish in one sitting" type-book. The endings are vastly different too. The movie ends with the happy Hollywood ending: the narrator gets the girl and the reset to zero. The book ends with Tyler in an asylum still running fight club.

The book and the movie are about creating a new religion. The motto being, "Let that which does not matter truly slide." Which is an echo of "Let there be slack" from the Church of the Subgenius. The Zen of not caring also sums it up. Brilliant stuff!




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