• Great Beginnings: The Marquise of O-

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Great Beginnings     Comments No comments

    In advance of January’s awesome new workshop “Great Beginnings,” we’re going to take a weekly look at some of literature’s finest opening lines and chat about what makes them each so special.

    This first one comes from a novella I’ve never read–The Marquise of O–from an author I’ve never read–Heinrich Von Kleist–and I like it so much that the book is already en route to me. Take a few minutes to soak this one up:

    In M-, a large town in northern Italy, the widowed Marquise of O-, a lady of unblemished reputation and the mother of several well-bred children, published the following notice in the newspapers: that, without her knowing how, she was in the family way; that she would like the father of the child she was going to bear to report himself; and that her mind was made up, out of consideration for her people, to marry him.

    Open forum, folks. What makes this opening so special? Is it not special, and if so, why? Does it make you want to continue reading? What do we learn about the Marquise of O-? Do we make any assumptions about her?


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