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Jane Austen Quotes

1775-1817

By

Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.
Jane Austen is considered one of the foremost writers of the early 19th century. Her fiction focuses on relationships and the attempts by her heroes and heroines to find fortune and romance. Her ironic tone often comes through whether speaking as the narrator of a tale or through one of the characters.

Selected Jane Austen Quotations

• For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?

About history: The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome.

• Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.

• One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.

• A woman, especially if she has the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

• One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.

• If there is anything disagreeable going on men are always sure to get out of it.

• What strange creatures brothers are!

• A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.

• Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure to be kindly spoken of.

• It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

• If a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to Yes, she ought to say No, directly.

• It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should refuse an offer of marriage.

• Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!

• Nobody minds having what is too good for them.

• A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.

• Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.

• It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.

• Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer lived; which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments.

• If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory.

• I do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me that trouble of liking them.

• One does not love a place the less for having suffered in it unless it has all been suffering, nothing but suffering.

• Those who do not complain are never pitied.

• It is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?

• From politics, it was an easy step to silence.

• A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.

• It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble.

• How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!

• ... as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.

• ... the soul is of no sect, no party: it is, as you say, our passions and our prejudices, which give rise to our religious and political distinctions.

• You ought certainly to forgive them as a Christian, but never to admit them in your sight, or allow their names to be mentioned in your hearing.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Jane Austen Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/quotes/qu_jane_austen.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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