The Art of the Epigraph: How Great Books Begin
2 journalers for this copy...
Later: Some really lovely quotes here, from simple-and-informative to thought-provoking to amusing - and sometimes snarky. They're grouped in chapters by theme, with an index of sources by author, though the epigrams aren't always written by the same authors. (The editor of this book includes notes on many of the entries, adding some context or pointing out the fictitious quotes from works that don't exist.)
Among the many that appealed to me:
Montaigne's "Off I go, rummaging about in books for sayings which please me."
"Truth is the daughter of time," a proverb that introduces - and inspired the title of - Daughter of Time
"His heart is a suspended lute; whenever one touches it, it resounds." This one's by Pierre-Jean de Beranger, a French songwriter, whose verse was used by Poe in "The Fall of the House of Usher". The notes on de Beranger make him sound like a subject worthy of research in his own right.
Charles Lamb's quote "Lawyers, I suppose, were children once" introduces To Kill a Mockingbird, and the editor's notes on this one include both a brief description of Harper Lee's response to the novel's fame and a painful incident from Lamb's life that may have colored his view of lawyers.
Balzac's "Behind every great fortune there is a crime," used by Mario Puzo in The Godfather
Dorothy L. Sayers was fond of putting a variety of quotes - classical as well as pop-cultural - in the mouths of her characters, and this book includes a lengthy one from Clouds of Witness, a quote from The Wallet of Kai-Lung by Ernest Bramah, described here as "the reclusive author of popular faux-Chinese adventure stories".
Sometimes I found myself more interested in the source of the quote than in the book of which it served as epigraph, and sometimes it was the other way around. Often, the juxtaposition of the works was interesting in itself, especially when the quote seemed to be used in a way contrary to its original meaning.
This was a very entertaining book to browse through, picking up bits here and there.
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