Famous Fiction: 10 First Lines

Here is a little collection of first lines from classic novels. See how many you know. If you need a hint, mouse over the word Author and you will see who wrote the line and the year the work was published. Then click on the show link to see the answer.

1. Author: Until he was almost ten, the name stuck to him. show

2. Author: In the ancient city of London, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. show

3. Author: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. show

4. Author: In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss. show

5. Author: The girl was one of those pretty and charming young creatures who sometimes are born, as if by a slip of fate, into a family of clerks. show

6. Author: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. show

7. Author: Since earliest childhood I have been strangely fascinated by the mystery surrounding the history of the last days of twentieth century Europe. show

8. Author: 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. show

9. Author: He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull. show

10. Author: Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable. show

You can read (or re-read, as the case may be) these stories and dozens of other classics on the website Classic Reader

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