Someone must have been spreading lies about Josef K, for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one morning.
The opening lines of the novella The Trial by Czech-born German language writer Franz Kafka. Published posthumously in 1925, (but believed to be written around 1914 / 1915), it tells of an innocent man’s struggles to clear against a charge he is never made aware of. I’ve long been a fan of his work and quoted my favourite of his short stories here,
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too – While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue
From the last stanza of To Autumn by the beloved English romantic poet John Keats (1795 – 1821). Despite his hugely untimely death at aged 25, Keats is still considered one of the greatest ever poets. You can my other favourite lines from his Ode to a Nightingale poemhere.
You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?
As said by the wise and benevolent Professor Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), the third of the series, and my favourite. You can find another example of Dumbledore’s knowledge here, and my tour of Harry Potter Studios here.
I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.
As said by the intensely tortured Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Gothic classic Wuthering Heights (1847). Famously set in the Moors of Yorkshire, the quote highlights the complex relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, which drives the heart of the book. The gorgeous cover is entitled Figures in a Storm by one of my favourite artists. Percivus has nothing to do with the story but wanted to be included. It is a Penguin Classic after all.
Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust, Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust
As quoted by Ferdinand in The Duchess of Malfi (1612 – 1613) by John Webster, one of the great early writers. Though I’ve yet to read it, I’ve always been struck by this quote since seeing it on Amy’s blog, where she quoted it again recently.
I remember that I stood on the library steps holding my books and looking for a minute at the soft hinted green in the branches against the sky and wishing, as I always did, that I could walk home across the sky instead of through the village.
The novella masterpiece We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) by Gothic writer Shirley Jackson, who also wrote one of the finest short stories with The Lottery (1948). As told by the unreliable narrator Mary Katherine ‘Merrikat’ Blackwood, it tells of a family’s ostracising in a small town after a poisoning incident that killed four members of the family.
Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.
The hugely missed Sir Terry Pratchett (1945 – 2015), author of nearly 100 published works and 85 million sales. The highly prolific English writer was long recognised for his wit and imagination and later, his brave fight against Alzheimer’s.
It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.
Arguably the most famous lines from Three Men in a Boat (1889), the charming book by Jerome K. Jerome. Filled with amusing and irreverent anecdotes, the story tells of three friends (and the fox terrier Montmorency) who decide to take a trip along the River Thames for a fortnight.
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
The opening lines of the fantastically enchanting debut novel The Night Circus (2011) by Erin Morgenstern. I was spoiled for choice for which line to use, but I like that even from the very beginning the uniqueness and mystery of the circus has been set. Something completely pivotal to the story.