I prefer beginnings. There is such promise, or the chance of early escape. But when is the beginning?
Where – or when – does a literary text begin? This question raises a series of fundamental problems in literary criticism and theory? Does a text begin as the author puts his or her first mark on a piece of paper or keys in the first word on a computer? Does it begin with the first idea about a story or poem, or in the childhood of the writer, for instance? Or does the text only begin as the reader picks up the book? Does the text begin with its title, or with the first word of the so-called ‘body’ of the text?
An Introduction to Literature Criticism and Theory
Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle