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Monday Quiz: First Lines of Famous Books

All of these quotations come from famous novels--most of them English and American. The oldest was published in the late 18th century; the most recent, in 1999. Some I purposely made easy, others might take more effort. The rules are, you're allowed to look in books you own, but you're not allowed to look these quotations up online. Anyone who gets the extra credit is a hero in my book. For fun, see how many of them you can get:

1. “While the present century was in its teens, and on one sunshiny morning in June, there drove up to the great iron gate of Miss Pinkerton’s academy for ladies, on Chiswick Mall, a large family coach, with two fat horses in blazing harness, driven by a fat coachman in a three-cornered hat and wig, at the rate of four miles an hour.”

2. “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.”

3. “This is the story of what a Woman’s patience can endure, and what a Man’s resolution can achieve.”

4. “Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.”

5. “When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train to Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, a scrap of paper with her sister’s address in Chicago, and four dollars in money.”

6. “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

7. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

8. “Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.”

9. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.”

10. “Except for the Marabar Caves—and they are twenty miles off—the city of Chandrapore presents nothing extraordinary.”

11. “We were in study hall when the headmaster walked in, followed by a new boy not wearing a school uniform, and by a janitor carrying a large desk.”

12. “Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P-----, in Kentucky.”

13. “It was four o’clock when the ceremony was over and the carriages began to arrive.”

14. “There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh.”

15. “Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood, Broadway. At 0627 hours on January 1, 1975, Alfred Archibald Jones was dressed in corduroy and sat in a fume-filled Cavalier Musketeer Estate facedown on the steering wheel, hoping the judgment would not be too heavy upon him.”

16. “1801—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour I shall be troubled with.”

17. “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.”

18. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”

19. “The artist is the creator of beautiful things.”

20. “Lady Howard to the Rev. Mr. Villars: Can there, my good Sir, be any thing more painful to a friendly mind, than a necessity of communicating disagreeable intelligence?”

Extra credit: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”


Serena said…
#2: Jane Eyre
#4: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
#6: One Hundred Years of Solitude
#7: Rebecca
#9: Pride and prejudice (my favorite book)
#11: Madam Bovary
#16: Wuthering Heights
#19 Picture of Dorian Grey (oscar wilde another of my favorites)

I don't know any of the others or the extra credit.
Michelle said…
2 - Jane Eyre
6 - One Hundred Years of Solitude
7 - Rebecca
9 - Pride and Prejudice
18 - The Bell Jar
Matt said…
#1 Vanity Fair
#2 Jane Eyre
#3 The Woman in White (ha...I just got this book...flipped through the first chapter)
#6 100 Years of Solitude
#8 Lady Chatterley's Lover (a favorite)
#9 Pride and Prejudice
#11 Madame Bovary
#12 Uncle Tom's Cabin (??)
#13 The Jungle??
#17 On The Road
#19 Picture of Dorian Grey

Extra Credit is one of my all-time favorite book The Go_between by L.P. Hartley
Stefania said…
# 15: White Teeth

OMG, I thought that n.16 was "The turn of the screw" but I just realized from the other comments that it's "Wuthering Heights"... And I consider it one of my favourite novels... I should totally read it again! :D

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