Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beginnings: the sky

Yesterday was Edward Said's birthday, and I was thinking about how much I admire his first book, Beginnings. I consistently take my own obsession with the opening frames of a text into the classroom.

Today I'm just cracking open Rebecca Harding Davis's "Life in the Iron Mills" to review it for next week's American Lit to 1860 class. And I was instantly struck by its opening, particularly in relation to the beginning of William Gibson's Neuromancer.

Davis: "A cloudy day: do you know what that is in a town of iron-works? The sky sank down before dawn, muddy, flat, immovable."

Gibson: "The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

Double terrible ambiance!

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