Jane Austen

Quotations

I am looking over Self Control again, & my opinion is confirmed of its being an excellently-meant, elegantly-written Work, without anything of Nature or Probability in it.

Letter, October 11, 1813, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen

Lady Sondes’ match surprises, but does not offend me; had her first marriage been of affection, or had their been a grown-up daughter, I should not have forgiven her; but I consider everybody as having a right to marry once in their lives for love, if they can.

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

To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

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

Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.

I am greatly pleased with your account of Fanny; I found her in the summer just what you describe, almost another sister; and could not have supposed that a niece would ever have been so much to me. She is quite after one’s own heart; give her my best love, and tell her that I always think of her with pleasure.

Letter, October 7, 1808, to her sister, Cassandra. Jane Austen

She found his manners very pleasing indeed.-The little flaw of having a Mistress now living with him at Ashdown Park, seems to be the only unpleasing circumstance about him.

Letter, January 8, 1801, to her sister, Cassandra.

Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any thing.

There is something in the eloquence of the pulpit, when it is really eloquence, which is entitled to the highest praise and honour. The preacher who can touch and affect such an heterogeneous mass of hearers, on subjects limited, and long worn thread-bare in all common hands; who can say any thing new or striking, any thing that rouses the attention, without offending the taste, or wearing out the feelings of his hearers, is a man whom one could not (in his public capacity) honour enough.

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

If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next.

I am fully sensible that an historical romance, founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg, might be much more to the purpose of profit or popularity than such pictures of domestic life in country villages as I deal in. But I could no more write a romance than an epic poem. I could not sit down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter. No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way.

Letter, April 1, 1816, to James Clarke. Jane Austen

I do not write for such dull elves
As have not a great deal of ingenuity themselves.

Letter, January 29, 1813, to her sister, Cassandra.

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

But Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is a part of an Englishman’s constitution.

It is very unfair to judge any body’s conduct, without an intimate knowledge of their situation. Nobody, who has not been in the interior of a family, can say what difficulties of any individual of that family may be.

There are secrets in all families.

What should I do with your strong, manly, spirited Sketches, full of Variety and Glow?

Letter, December 16, 1816, to her nephew, J. Edward Austen. Jane Austen

We are to have a tiny party here to-night. I hate tiny parties, they force one into constant exertion.

Letter, May 21, 1801, to her sister, Cassandra.

She believed that she must now submit to feel that another lesson, in the art of knowing our own nothingness beyond our own circle, was becoming necessary for her.

An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged; no harm can be done.

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.

What is right to be done cannot be done too soon.

There are such beings in the World perhaps, one in a Thousand,as the Creature You and I should think perfection, Where Grace & Spirit are united to Worth, where the Manners are equal to the Heart & Understanding, but such a person may not come in your way, or if he does, he may not be the eldest son of a Man of Fortune, the Brother of your particular friend & belonging to your own Country.

Letter, November 18, 1814, to her niece, Fanny Knight. Jane Austen