Book quiz: do you know these classic first lines?
Opening lines are an important part of any piece of literature. A writer has to grab the attention of the reader with that first line or run the risk of them putting the book down. While that might sound a little alarmist, there is no doubt that a punchy opening line lingers in the memory – and that is surely essential for any great book.
Or is it? How many classic novels have truly memorable opening lines, and how many have ones that have barely registered? You may instantly know that “Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning” is the first line of Kafka’s The Trial, or this may be news to you.
Take our interactive quiz to see how many openers from novels in our Oxford World’s Classics series you recognize.
A On the Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin
B Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
C The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
D Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
A A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
B Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
C Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
D The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.
A Orlando by Virginia Woolf
B Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
C A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
D Redgauntlet by Walter Scott
B Silas Marner by George Eliot
C Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence
D The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
A The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
B Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
C Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
D Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
A The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
B The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
C Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
A Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
C The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
D Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
B The Sea-Wolf by Jack London
C Paradise Lost by John Milton
D The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
A The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
B Moby Dick by Herman Melville
C Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
D Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas by Jules Verne
A Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
B The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
C The American by Henry James
D Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
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