10 Iconic Opening Lines in Literature

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of good taste must be in want of a killer opening line.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of good taste must be in want of a killer opening line.

There’s nothing more effective at pulling in a reader than a solid first line. Here are some of my favorite memorable opening lines from books!

In no particular order…

“There once was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“It was a dark and stormy night.” – Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” – George Orwell, 1984

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.” – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

It was a pleasure to burn.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” – Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

“Marley was dead, to begin with.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (not putting the whole quote because it is looooong

and finally, the one I parodied in my opening….

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice

This was a pretty short & sweet post, but I love a good first line and wanted to share this list with you all! Let me know if you would read a part 2!

What is your favorite opening line from a book?

20 comments on “10 Iconic Opening Lines in Literature”

      1. *i meant i’ve memorised the opening line of tale of two cities, lol. yes, i have! I’ve read several books set in the 19th century where they reference dickens and his works so i had to give it a shot!

        Liked by 1 person

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