Originally posted on poetry dispatch & other notes from the underground:

NOTES from the UNDERGROUND  No.  215 (& Poetry Dispatch) | April 30, 2012

The 10 Best First Lines in Fiction

(Our Guide to the greatest lines of novel in the English language from Jane Austen to James Joyce—The Guardian)

James Joyce

Ulysses (1922)

“Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.” This is the classic third-person opening to the 20th-century novel that has shaped modern fiction, pro and anti, for almost a hundred years. As a sentence, it is possibly outdone by the strange and lyrical beginning of Joyce’s final and even more experimental novel, Finnegans Wake: “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.”

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice (1813)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession…

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