Quiz Question

One of a continuing series

Literature again. It’s time to see who’s been  doing their summer reading.

A number of literary works begin with a significant sentence or phrase. Here are some. Identify the author, and for extra credit, identify the work.

  1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
  2. 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.
  3. In the second century of the Christian æra [This opening is so critical that a man used the words to name his children.]
  4. It was a pleasure to burn.
  5. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  6. Call me Ishmael.
  7. These are the times that try men’s souls.
  8. Mama died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know.

No fair running to Google. There is a page that lists many famous opening lines. Post your answer as a comment below. Best score wins.

Update and Answers

  1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – First sentence in Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  2. 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. – First sentence in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Written originally in Spanish.
  3. In the second century of the Christian æra [This opening is so critical that a man used the words to name his children.]- Opening words of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire  by Edward Gibbon.
  4. It was a pleasure to burn. – First sentence in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  5. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – First sentence in 1984 by George Orwell (Eric Blair)
  6. Call me Ishmael. – First sentence in Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
  7. These are the times that try men’s souls. – First sentence in The American  Crisis by Thomas Paine.
  8. Mama died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. – First sentence in The Stranger by Albert Camus. Originally in French. Tania should have known that one, because she gave me a copy, although in French.
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