Changing words (was Re: Checking in)

Otter Perry ottertee at
Tue Feb 3 21:03:45 EST 2004

On Tuesday, February 3, 2004, at 05:02 PM, Charles Butler wrote:

> Roger:
>> My copy (1978 printing of the 1968 Puffin paperback, i.e. a British
>> edition) begins "It was a dark and stormy night in a small village in
>> the United States".
> I guess someone's thought better of it, because in my Puffin Modern 
> Classic
> edition (1995) it's just 'It was a dark and stormy night.'
> Which, incidentally, I used to think was a line invented by Charles M 
> Schulz
> for Snoopy - but I learned the other day (what you all no doubt already
> knew) that it comes from a Bulwer Lytton novel, *Paul Clifford*.

You might enjoy the Bulwer-Lytton competition for the worst first line
for a novel.  These aren't extracted from real novels, but are coined
for the competition.  The link is

The whole first sentence is:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at 
occasional intervals,
   when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the 
streets (for it is in
  London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and 
fiercely agitating the
  scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

- No trees were killed in the sending of this message.
   However, a number of electrons were terribly

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