Peter Erlebach

The Assessment of the First Sentence in English Narrative Art

The first sentence in narrative art has been considered with increasing scholarly interest since the mid-20th century. The result of these investigations was that this very first incipit has not been and still is no accidental product but in most cases a carefully gauged beginning suggestive of many subsequent particularities of the whole ensuing text. Authors committed to aestheticism in literary art have distinguished themselves in the first place and thus have blazed the trail to fellow writers and critics.

The modes of literary beginning in the first sentence have also been marked by period thought, different literary currents, authorial individuality and careful workmanship. In some cases the incipit is suggestive of ensuing dramatic events, in others the beginning is unobtrusive and more quiet, building up slowly to the centre of interest. It is remarkable that the medieval and the Renaissance antecedents of the English novel in subsequent periods of time are already distinguished by choice literary beginnings and artistic care.

ISBN 978-3-86821-490-1, kt., 194 S., 22,00 (2013)

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