Literature Quiz: Famous opening lines

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BWV 1080
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Literature Quiz: Famous opening lines

Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:58 am

From the Conversational Reading blog:

Famous First Lines

State what book starts with each of the following lines.

1. "The clock struck thirteen."

2. "Would I find La Maga?"

3. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (A trick; not what you think.)

4. "Even Camilla had enjoyed masquerades, of the safe sort where the mask may be dropped at the critical moment it presumes itself as reality."

5. "A screaming comes across the sky."

6. "Stately plump Buck Mulligan."

7. "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

8. "All of this happened while I was walking around starving in Christiana--that strange city no one escapes from until it has left its mark on him."

9. "I am a sick man . . . I am a wicked man. An unattractive man, I think my liver hurts."

10. "Somebody must have made a false accusation against Joseph K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong."

11. "The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other philosophers with it: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum! What does this mad myth signify?"

12. "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

I know 5 and 6 (assuming 3 is not the Gospel of John). Anyone care to answer?

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Re: Literature Quiz: Famous opening lines

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 2:39 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:From the Conversational Reading blog:

Famous First Lines

State what book starts with each of the following lines.

1. "The clock struck thirteen."

2. "Would I find La Maga?"

3. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (A trick; not what you think.)

4. "Even Camilla had enjoyed masquerades, of the safe sort where the mask may be dropped at the critical moment it presumes itself as reality."

5. "A screaming comes across the sky."

6. "Stately plump Buck Mulligan."

7. "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

8. "All of this happened while I was walking around starving in Christiana--that strange city no one escapes from until it has left its mark on him."

9. "I am a sick man . . . I am a wicked man. An unattractive man, I think my liver hurts."

10. "Somebody must have made a false accusation against Joseph K., for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong."

11. "The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other philosophers with it: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum! What does this mad myth signify?"

12. "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

I know 5 and 6 (assuming 3 is not the Gospel of John). Anyone care to answer?
Number 3 is the Gospel of John even if it happens incidentally also to be something else. I know 5 and 10, and if I am not mistaken, number 1 is incorrect (i.e., a paraphrase) as a rendition of a famous opening line.

Interesting that Steve and I would both know 5; it is not all that famous a book.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 2:44 pm

5 actually is famous, particularly as the no Pulitzer prize was given in 1974 rather than take the recommendation of the fiction jury that this book get the prize.

10 is Kafka I think.

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:21 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:5 actually is famous, particularly as the no Pulitzer prize was given in 1974 rather than take the recommendation of the fiction jury that this book get the prize.

10 is Kafka I think.
Since we're now giving things away, number 10 is Kafka's The Trial, and number 5 is Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Number 1 is a misquote (I think) of the opening of 1984, you know, the one by Orwell. As for number 8, Christiana is a city in Norway, and I once knew the name of a Norwegian novelist (not Ibsen, obviously), but have forgotten it.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:33 pm

6 is Ulysses

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:56 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:6 is Ulysses
yes I said Yes I will yes

I hope our new poster who wants to know how to become a cultured person is following all this. :roll:

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Novitiate » Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:04 pm

7. Eugenides, Middlesex (I'm pretty sure anyway)

Gravity's Rainbow not all that famous? jbuck, you've got to be kidding! :D It's Pynchon's best and definitely in the running for 'great American novel.' Actually, even I recognised that line and I have an abysmal memory :lol: .

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Post by piston » Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:29 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:5 actually is famous, particularly as the no Pulitzer prize was given in 1974 rather than take the recommendation of the fiction jury that this book get the prize.

10 is Kafka I think.
Since we're now giving things away, number 10 is Kafka's The Trial, and number 5 is Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Number 1 is a misquote (I think) of the opening of 1984, you know, the one by Orwell. As for number 8, Christiana is a city in Norway, and I once knew the name of a Norwegian novelist (not Ibsen, obviously), but have forgotten it.
Ole Edvart Rolvaag?
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Sun Feb 11, 2007 5:29 pm

2 is Hopscotch, the last one (12) may be Neuromancer by William Gibson. Might be Mona Lisa Overdrive, can't recall offhand.

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