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Famous First Lines?
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Famous First Lines?

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Much like the first impression of a person, the first line of a book can tell you almost everything you need to know about your imminent literary journey. What novels have captivated you with a single sentence? For extra credit, go ahead...

Much like the first impression of a person, the first line of a book can tell you almost everything you need to know about your imminent literary journey. What novels have captivated you with a single sentence?

For extra credit, go ahead and choose a sound or video as the accompanying media that you think conveys the tone of the opening sentence, or how you feel when reading it.
Allyson Gronowitz
Feb 24, 2015
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Michael Giacchino - London Calling
Allyson Gronowitz

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins...

...My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta. The tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."

The opening of Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" is so lilting and lyrical on its own, I was tempted not provide any musical accompaniment whatsoever. In the end, I decided to tack on composer Michael Giacchino's "London Calling" from 2013's Star Trek: Into Darkness, because the mournful yet gorgeous melody evokes a similar mix of emotions* as "Lolita," one of the most controversial novels of the 20th-century.

But back to the text itself: I cheated a bit by including more than just the first line of the novel, but the alliterative prose is so beautiful, I couldn't help myself...and the fact that I couldn't resist including a bit more goes to show exactly how seductive our narrator, the passionately doomed Humbert Humbert, can be. Just as young Lolita is seduced by Humbert Humbert-- or, as he insists later: "it was she who seduced me"-- we, as readers, are seduced by his smooth and suave language....despite our moral qualms.

* Incidentally, the scene that accompanies this music in Star Trek also touches upon the grey-morality and destructive impetuses of love.
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