Books The Jane Chord
posted by May 6 at 15:13 PMon
Over on his blog, Terry Teachout (theater critic for the Wall Street Journal) reminded me about the Jane Chord:
The Jane Chord, to which Bill Buckley introduced us years ago, is a concept originally promulgated by Hugh Kenner. The idea is that if you make a two-word sentence out of the first and last words of a book, it will tell you something revealing about the book in question. Or not: the Jane Chord of Pride and Prejudice is It/them. But every once in a while you run across a Jane Chord so resonant that it makes the room shiver—the chord for Death Comes for the Archbishop is One/built—and even when a famous book yields up nonsense, it’s still a good game to play.
Miranda July noticed her own Jane Chord for No One Belongs Here More than You here.
Some Jane Chords in books on shelves and desks around the office:
On God by Norman Mailer: Scientists experience.
Atonement by Ian McEwan: The sleep.
Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban: He sea.
Please Feed Me: A Punk Vegan Cookbook: We delicious.
Gifts of the Body by Rebecca Brown: I mourned.
United States: Essays 1952–1992 by Gore Vidal: I sanity.
Brothels of Nevada [a photo book]: Visits imperative.
And Democracy in America by Tocqueville: Among misery.