• Great Beginnings: Edgar Huntly

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Great Beginnings     Comments 5 comments
    Aug
    14

    Charles Brockden BrownIt’s been quite a long time since we’ve hosted a Great Beginnings, a series in which we explore and discuss the first line, or first few lines, of a work of literature. And now that our State Writing Resources series has reached its penultimate post (sad face), it’s time to get ourselves into another groove.

    Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Charles Brockden Brown, a rather creepy dude (obviously! See left) who is considered the United States’ first full-time (i.e., financially successful) novelist, a writer much admired by U.S. Romantics such as Hawthorne and Melville and now best known for his handful of gothic novels, Edgar HuntlyArthur MervynOrmond and Wieland. It’s the first of those that we’re going to look at today.

    The opening paragraph of Edgar Huntly, a book you can and should read in full:

    I sit down, my friend, to comply with thy request. At length does the impetuosity of my fears, the transports of my wonder, permit me to recollect my promise and perform it. At length am I somewhat delivered from suspense and from tremors. At length the drama is brought to an imperfect close, and the series of events that absorbed my faculties, that hurried away my attention, has terminated in repose.

    OK, so, what do we learn from these few lines? Does this great beginning make you want to read further? Why, or why the hell not? Let us know in the comments below. And if you have a good candidate for our next post, don’t be shy.

    And for more Great Beginnings goodness, here are some of our better discussions from the days of yore:

    City of Glass

    A Sport and A Pastime

    The Scarlet Letter

    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest
    5 Comments
    Oldest
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    McKenzie K.

    So, this clearly reminds me of like a college lit class, with the old-school style he uses. He’s (or she’s?) writing a letter to a this friend, or maybe they’re sitting down together and he/she is telling this friend a story. But probably a letter, because even then, did people actually speak like that? So, something scary happened to this narrator, and it’s taken him awhile to get around to writing about it, probably because he needed to let it sink in before being able to discuss it. His tremors are gone, so he can now hold a pen. (A… Read more »

    C.B. Brown

    THANK YOU FOR MENTIONING MY BOOK ON YOUR BLOG! I THINK THE BEGINNING PARAGRAPH IS GREAT! I WAS SO HIGH WHEN I WROTE IT!




    Find WBN on Twitter


    5
    0
    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
    ()
    x