Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!
This week’s theme is ‘Favourite Book Quotes’, but they’re something I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about before so today I thought I’d share some of my favourite epigraphs instead.
I love a good epigraph—they can be such a good way of setting up the mood of a book, and I love re-reading them after I’ve read the novel to see if I understand even more why the author chose them.
Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.— Charles Lamb, epigraph for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
‘You know how European literature begins?’ he’d ask, after having taken the roll at the first class meeting. ‘With a quarrel. All of European literature springs from a fight.’ And then he picked up his copy of The Iliad and read to the class the opening lines. ‘”Divine Muse, sing of the ruinous wrath of Achilles . . . Begin where they first quarreled, Agamemnon the King of men, and great Achilles.”‘ And what are they quarrelling about, these two violent, mighty souls? It’s as basic as a barroom brawl. They are quarrelling over a woman. A girl, really. A girl stolen from her father. A girl abducted in a war.’— The Human Stain by Philip Roth, epigraph for The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
If you are a dreamer, come in— Shel Silverstein, epigraph for Inkheart by Cornelia Funke; translated by Anthea Bell
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer,
If you’re a pretender, come sit by the fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.— The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, epigraph for Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Who has not asked himself at some time or other: am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?— Clarice Lispector, epigraph for The Wise and the Wicked by Rebecca Podos
Her excellent reputation will never be lost;— Agamemnon, Odyssey Book 24.196-9, epigraph for A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
the gods will create a song to delight mortals
about clever Penelope.
So unlike my wife, who did awful things . . .
She herself is a haunted house.— ‘The Lady of the House of Love’ by Angela Carter, epigraph for The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
“I’m the witch. You’re the world.”— Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods, epigraph for Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
I watch’d today as Giles Corey was presst to death between the stones. He had lain so for two dayes mute. With each stone they tolde him he must plead, lest more rocks be added. But he only whisperd, More weight. Standing in the crowde I found Goodwyfe Dane, who, as the last stone lower’d, went white, grippt my hand, and wept.— Letter fragment dated Salem Towne, 16 September 1692, Division of Rare Manuscripts, Boston Athenaeum, epigraph for The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
…and the sun has perished out of heaven and an evil mist hovers over all.— Homer’s Odyssey XX. 345, epigraph for After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott