Famous First Lines in Literature

“A surging, seething, murmuring crowd, of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures…”

—   The Scarlet Pimpernel by Countess Orczy

Opening lines - George Orwell, 1984


Opening lines - George Orwell, 1984

I often dream about the Dolphin Hotel.

In these dreams, I’m there, implicated in some kind of ongoing circumstance. All indications are that I belong to this dream continuity.

—   Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami (1994)

“People said that there was a new arrival on the Promenade: a lady with a little dog.”

—   "The Lady with the Little Dog" by Anton Chekhov

“Sure I stole.”

—   "Confessions of a Burglar" by Woody Allen, from Side Effects (1975)

“A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.”

—   Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)

“This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.”

—   Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (1973)

“Here’s how it started.”

—   Journey to the End of Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1934)

Nothing to be done.”

—   Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (1953)

“The sky had been covered with rain clouds since early morning; it was calm, not hot and oppressive as it is on grey overcast days when clouds have been hanging over the fields for a long time and you wait for rain but it does not come.”

—   "Gooseberries" by Anton Chekhov (1898)