If you were an English major like me, you might be familiar with the mysterious Jane chord. Years ago, a literature professor shared with me the joy of piecing together the Jane chord of a novel: take the first few words and the last few words of a novel and string them together to create a new sentence or phrase. A Jane chord is, I imagine, rarely premeditated, and it isn’t meant to hold up under intense literary analysis or critique, but it’s always a pleasure to discover what secrets one may reveal about the narrative it encloses.

Is a Jane chord revelatory? Sometimes. Is it serendipitous? Always.

For example, here’s the Jane chord from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: “It was nearing midnight and there was still one last golden day of peace to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.” Does this Jane chord foreshadow the events to come in The Deathly Hallows? It kinda does.

If you love great books, art, imagery, symbolism, and found poetry, follow me as I journey through my personal library, rediscovering favorite and forgotten books. Click each image to find out which novels these Jane chords belong to!

New illustrations will appear here and on my Instagram @ janechords, and stay tuned for the janechords book!