"It was a dark and stormy night"

Best first line of a book. Ever. And, I just learned today that Madeleine L'Engle was not the first to pen that phrase. No. Edward Bulwer-Lytton's* 1830 novel Paul Clifford opens with
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.
In fact, there are many more instances where this phrase was used and made popular in literature, at least according to Wikipedia.

I started this post thinking it would be about great first lines in general (you know, "Call me Ishmael," "They shoot the white girl first," "It was a pleasure to burn," "Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself") and a rant about the American Book Review's placement of "He loved big brother" at number 7 on the list of 100 best last lines from novels (should be number 1), but I got sidetracked by "it was a dark and stormy night."

*Bulwer-Lytton also coined the phrase "the pen is mightier than the sword."

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