First Sentences of Classic Novels Broken Down

Call me Ishmael. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Wired has a story about a design company that produced a poster breaking down classic first lines in literature using the Reed-Kellogg system.


From Wired:

The designers over at Pop Chart Lab saw this too, realizing that the exercise of diagramming sentences isn’t far off from what they do on a daily basis. “We’re drawn to the idea that breaking down a sequence of sentence constituents into tiny pieces can reveal something larger and infinite about a sequence of words,” says Ben Gibson, Pop Chart’s creative director. “In a way, it’s what we do with all of our infographics: Distill data down into finite tiers so as to see some larger form.”

In a new poster, A Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels, Pop Chart has dissected and diagrammed the opening lines of 25 famous novels. The infographic is based on the Reed-Kellogg system, which was first introduced in 1877 by Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg in their book Higher Lessons in English. The Reed-Kellogg method breaks a sentence down to its grammatical components, ultimately making a graphical diagram that is meant to give us deeper understanding and appreciation of words and they way they work together.

Head over to Wired to read the full story.

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