I was just reading an article in the on-line Independent (here) about the importance of first lines in novels, and it included the sentence:
And, of course, Pride and Prejudice starts with the only opening sentence of a novel that everyone knows by heart.
Well, I like to think that I am moderately well read, but I confess that I didn't know what the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice is. So I looked it up, and it is:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
I guess I should have known that. But I didn't. And my guess is that most people don't know it. Which just reminds me how out of touch many newspaper columnists are. Most people in the modern world simply are not familiar with the contents of nineteenth century fiction.
Or maybe I am just ignorant.