Monday, January 12, 2015

The Classics - Opening Lines: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Timeless_Books.jpg/320px-Timeless_Books.jpg"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further outdoor exercise was now out of the question."      Published 1847


I love the classics and plan to share some "opening lines" over the coming months. Comment if you like, or read for inspiration. Writing styles were different then, but were they really?
 

16 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite book. I don't know how many times I've read it, but the opening always hooks me, as does the story that unfolds. I'll look forward to your next selection of opening lines.

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    1. Mine too. Keep wanting to read this again. Thanks!

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  2. I am sad to say I never read this classic. Shame on me! This opening line really hooks one

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    1. No time like the present :) Thanks for visiting, Birgit.

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  3. I've always loved that. I could feel the weather the first time I read it, and even now.

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    1. I like starting with a description of the weather, it really sets the mood (especially in this book), and Bronte nails it. Although wordy by today's standards, I find it instructive.

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  4. Hi Sharon,

    A classic opening sentence that makes one want to read more. Always a sure sign of a brilliant writer such as Charlotte Bronte.

    Gary

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    1. True, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to study opening lines. Thanks for stopping by, Klahanie.

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  5. I've heard that much of the loquacious flowery writing of the 19th century was due to the fact that writers were being paid by the word and added as many as they could. Sounds like a plausible explanation, but still it led to some eloquence in the literature of that era which we rarely see in our time.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Interesting about word count, especially in today's market, when excessive word count sometimes hinders a manuscript's acceptance. Classics like Jane Eyre were my first real novels in my youth and I grew to love their wordiness.

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  6. What a great idea to share some opening lines from the classics.

    Thank you for your encouraging words on my blog recently.I wish you well on your submission journey too.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I really do wish you well, and I'm anticipating your success! Reading your post, I realized I had similar misgivings (and more) about the submission process. I was also impressed with all the encouragement and advice you received. I have since decided to join IWSG.

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  7. Isn't starting with descriptions of weather a no-no these days? Action, dialogue, not description. I love the classics. I recently read The Scarlet Letter. Loved it. Long sentences, big words, fantastic long, descriptive passages. Slow pace. No the stuff of popular fiction in the 21st century. Would publishers go for the classic style?

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  8. Hi. Yeah, I sometimes wonder the same. I love reading those long, sentences and paragraphs that take awhile to digest. The short answer is publishers are probably more interested in books that make revenue faster. Books like this take longer and are more challenging to read. On the other hand, people return to the classics to reread them for the same reasons, so go figure. I think the whole subject deserves debate. The assumption is that the younger generation does not have the attention span to read long descriptions, but I think they do. Actually, I don't either if the writing is poor, but give me something meaty and I love it.

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  9. =) Jane Eyre is one of my very VERY favorites of all time. I used to read Dickens like he was going out of style, and I finally finished Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea not too long ago. (Talk about needing to know how to edit past the educational tirades...) Granted, reading the classics can change your writing, and maybe not in the best way, prose wise, since the modern day trend is to be more succinct and direct. Gosh, you totally made me want to jump back into a classic. Which one shall I choose next...?

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  10. Thanks, Crystal. I never read Twenty-thousand..... I keep going back to the classics too and wonder what the appeal is this many years later. I know readers my children's age (30+), who are not writers, who love these books. For me, I think it's the challenge of the language and the historical feel I get when I read them, and some like Jane Eyre, that simply touched my heart in real ways at a young age.

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