Quiz: Do You Know These Famous First Lines From Great Novels?
Do You Know These Famous First Lines From Great Novels?
By: Isadora Teich
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think you're well-read? Literature is full of fascinating characters, epic events, subtle symbolism and iconic lines. It covers the whole span of human experience, from the joyful to the tragic, from the fantastical to the mundane. It even contains worlds beyond what most could imagine. Many of these great works are not only remembered for the ideas they convey but also how the language within them was used. Some works are just so quotable that they more than stand the test of time, but become a part of our culture. 

Many people often quote or misquote these works, sometimes without even realizing it, because these iconic lines have become a part of our language. Even if you've never read many of these well-known books, there is a good chance you've heard their famous first lines before. When something resonates with people so much that it sticks around for decades, generations or even centuries, it's bound to pop up again and again and again.   

If you are a well-read literature buff with a handle on some of the biggest and most important books ever written, put your knowledge of their opening lines to the test with this very literary quiz!

1.0 of 35
"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."
2.0 of 35
"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect."
6.0 of 35
”We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”
7.0 of 35
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
8.0 of 35
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
9.0 of 35
10.0 of 35
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair...."
11.0 of 35
“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
12.0 of 35
"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins."
13.0 of 35
"In the town they tell the story of the great pearl--how it was found and how it was lost again."
14.0 of 35
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
15.0 of 35
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
16.0 of 35
"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."
17.0 of 35
18.0 of 35
"Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing."
19.0 of 35
20.0 of 35
21.0 of 35
"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since."
22.0 of 35
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."
23.0 of 35
"I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up."
24.0 of 35
"The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new."
25.0 of 35
"We slept in what had once been the gymnasium."
26.0 of 35
"I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm."
27.0 of 35
”It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”
28.0 of 35
”You better not never tell nobody but God.”
29.0 of 35
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously."
30.0 of 35
"This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it."
31.0 of 35
"When he was nearly 13, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow."
32.0 of 35
“I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station....”
33.0 of 35
“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”
34.0 of 35
35.0 of 35
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