Submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed now. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. Today, I’m sorry—but maybe not surprised– to say we have no winners. While I was hoping I’d be wrong, I was also thinking this would be a super tough one, even though it made several of my official Top 100 Opening Lines lists. It’s one classic I admit I haven’t read, either, but I did see the movie some years ago. Didn’t help me recognize the line one bit. 🙄
“He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.” is the opening line of Lord Jim, written by Joseph Conrad in 1900. (Conrad was also the author of Heart of Darkness, which has been made into several movies, including the 1979 adaptation retitled Apocalypse, Now, starring Marlon Brando, Robert Duval, and Martin Sheen.
Lord Jim was originally published as a serial in Blackwood’s Magazine from October 1899 to November 1900. In 1965, Lord Jim was made into a film directed by Richard Brooks and starring Peter O’Toole as Jim.
An early and primary event in the story is the abandonment of a passenger ship in distress by its crew, including a young British seaman named Jim. He is publicly censured for this action and the novel follows his later attempts at coming to terms with himself and his past.
The opening event in Lord Jim may have been based in part on an actual abandonment of a ship. On July 17, 1880, S.S. Jeddah sailed from Singapore bound for Penang and Jeddah, with 778 men, 147 women and 67 children on board. The passengers were Muslims from the Malay states, travelling to Mecca on a holy pilgrimage. The Jeddah sailed under the British flag and was crewed largely by British officers. After rough weather conditions, the ship began taking on water. The hull sprang a large leak, the water rose rapidly, and the captain and officers abandoned the heavily listing ship. They were picked up by another vessel and taken to Aden where they told a story of violent passengers and a foundering ship. The pilgrims were left to their fate, and apparently certain death. However, on August 8, 1880 a French steamship towed Jeddah into Aden – the pilgrims had survived. An official inquiry followed, as it does in the novel.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Lord Jim 85th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
WHAT AMAZON SAYS:
A bold young English sailor has despised himself ever since an impulsive moment of cowardice. Jim moves East to Patusan, where natives worship him-and he may be able to find redemption…
Buy Lord Jim HERE:
And that wraps up this week’s quiz, folks! Again, sorry I couldn’t give away any downloads, but I’m still happy to be sharing a book I love with folks who may not have heard of it yet.
#FirstLineFriday will be back in two weeks, and I’ll try to have something that rings a bell with more of you. Maybe. You never can tell. 😀