Jane Austen Quotes 91–120 of 125 Quotes

Below are 30 of 125 sourced Jane Austen quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

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

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Northanger Abbey Northanger Abbey (1817)

“Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open?”

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Northanger Abbey Northanger Abbey (1817)

“...from politics, it was an easy step to silence.”

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Northanger Abbey Northanger Abbey (1817)

“It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire.”

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Northanger Abbey Northanger Abbey (1817)

“A very short trial convinced her that a curricle was the prettiest equipage in the world”

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Northanger Abbey Northanger Abbey (1817)

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid”

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Northanger Abbey "Northanger Abbey" (1817)

“What could I do! Facts are such horrid things!”

— Jane Austen

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Quote source: Works, Lady Susan "Lady Susan", Letter XXXII (1871)

“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”

Misattributed to Jane Austen

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More on this quote: Said by Fanny Price in a 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park. Actual quote:
 • Dinner was soon followed by tea and coffee, a ten miles' drive home allowed no waste of hours; and from the time of their sitting down to table, it was a quick succession of busy nothings till the carriage came to the door, and Mrs. Norris, having fidgeted about, and obtained a few pheasants' eggs and a cream cheese from the housekeeper, and made abundance of civil speeches to Mrs. Rushworth, was ready to lead the way.

“You could not shock her more than she shocks me; Beside her Joyce seems innocent as grass. It makes me most uncomfortable to see An English spinster of the middle class Describe the amorous effects of "brass," Reveal so frankly and with such sobriety The economic basis of society.”

W. H. Auden

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Quote source: about Jane Austen W. H. Auden, Letter to Lord Byron (1936), lines 113–119

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“Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point … I read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a commonplace (everyday) face; carefully fenced, highly cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of bright vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses.”

Charlotte Brontë

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Quote source: about Jane Austen Charlotte Brontë, quote in Original Penguin Classics Introduction to Pride and Prejudice. by Taner, Tony (1972). 80 Strand, London, WC2R, England: Penguin Books, Ltd. .

“[A]s her would-be biographer, I had to face the fact that information about Jane Austen the woman was limited and fragmentary. She remains for me – as no doubt she would have wished – not an intimate but an acquaintance.”

Lord David Cecil

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Quote source: about Jane Austen Lord David Cecil, A Portrait of Jane Austen (Constable, 1978), p. 10

“Jane Austen was born before those bonds which (we are told) protected women from truth, were burst by the Brontës or elaborately untied by George Eliot. Yet the fact remains that Jane Austen knew more about men than either of them. Jane Austen may have been protected from truth: but it was precious little of truth that was protected from her.”

G. K. Chesterton

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Quote source: about Jane Austen G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913)

“She knew what she knew, like a sound dogmatist: she did not know what she did not — like a sound agnostic.”

G. K. Chesterton

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Quote source: about Jane Austen G. K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age in Literature (1913) [University of Notre Dame Press, 1963], Ch. II: The Great Victorian Novelists (p. 53)

“I am at a loss to understand why people hold Miss Austen's novels at so high a rate, which seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched & narrow. The one problem in the mind of the writer in both the stories I have read, "Persuasion," and "Pride & Prejudice," is marriageableness. All that interests in any character introduced is still this one, Has he or she money to marry with, & conditions conforming? 'Tis "the nympholepsy of a fond despair," say rather, of an English boarding-house. Suicide is more respectable.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Quote source: about Jane Austen Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson: Selected Journals 1841–1877, edited by Lawrence Rosenwald (2010), The Library of America, p. 768

“Why do the characters in Jane Austen give us a slightly new pleasure each time they come in, as opposed to the merely repetitive pleasure that is caused by a character in Dickens? Why do they combine so well in a conversation, and draw one another out, without seeming to do so, and never perform? The answer to this question can be put in several ways; that, unlike Dickens, she was a real artist, that she never stooped to caricature, etc. But the best reply is that her characters, though smaller than his, are more highly organized. They function all round, and even if her plot made greater demands on them than it does, they would still be adequate.”

E.M. Forster

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Quote source: about Jane Austen E.M. Forster, Aspects of The Novel (1927)

“I have been reading Miss Austen's Emma, which I had entirely forgotten, with the greatest enjoyment. I think it an admirable book, & I dare say you will agree with me. Miss Austen is an inimitable painter of quiet life. It would be difficult to say where the interest of Emma lies, yet it does interest strongly. There is no fine writing; no laboured description; no imaginative or ideal touches; no working on the feelings. Its magic must be its truth. It is exquisitely true. Life is presented to us, not as it may be taken in rare situations, in picturesque emergencies, but as we see it everyday. Common, workday life, with here & there a suit of best for Sundays. Yet there is nothing trivial. It is what Alfred calls in one of his unfinished poems "most ideal unideal, most uncommon commonplace." Dignity in the sentiments, dignity in the style. Quite a woman's book — (don't frown, Miss Fytche — I mean it for compliment) — none but a woman & a lady could possess that tact of minute observation, & that delicacy of sarcasm.”

Arthur Henry Hallam

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Quote source: about Jane Austen Arthur Henry Hallam, letter to fiancé Emily (Emilia) Tennyson (1833-01-25), Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786-1945, by Katie Halsey (Anthem Nineteenth-Century Series)

“Which brings us again, after this long way about, to Jane Austen and her novels, and that troublesome question about them. She was great and they were beautiful, because she and they were honest, and dealt with nature nearly a hundred years ago as realism deals with it to-day. Realism is nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material, and Jane Austen was the first and the last of the English novelists to treat material with entire truthfulness. Because she did this, she remains the most artistic of the English novelists, and alone worthy to be matched with the great Scandinavian and Slavic and Latin artists.”

William Dean Howells

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Quote source: about Jane Austen William Dean Howells, Criticism and Fiction (1891), Chapter 15

“Jane lies in Winchester — blessed be her shade! Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made! And while the stones of Winchester, or Milsom Street, remain, Glory, love, and honour unto England’s Jane!”

Rudyard Kipling

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#19

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#19

Quote source: about Jane Austen Rudyard Kipling, Epigraph to 'The Janeites' (1924)

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“Shakespeare has had neither equal nor second. But among the writers who, in the point which we have noticed, have approached nearest to the manner of the great master, we have no hesitation in placing Jane Austen, a woman of whom England is justly proud. She has given us a multitude of characters, all, in a certain sense, commonplace, all such as we meet every day. Yet they are all as perfectly discriminated from each other as if they were the most eccentric of human beings. ... And almost all this is done by touches so delicate that they elude analysis, that they defy the powers of description, and that we know them to exist only by the general effect to which they have contributed.”

Thomas Babington Macaulay

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#21

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#21

Quote source: about Jane Austen Thomas Babington Macaulay, 'Madame D'Arblay', Edinburgh Review (January 1843), reprinted in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, Volume 5 (Carey and Hart, 1844), p. 68

“When I was young, it was not thought proper for young ladies to study very conspicuously; and especially with pen in hand. Young ladies (at least in provincial towns) were expected to sit down in the parlour to sew,—during which reading aloud was permitted,—or to practice their music; but so as to be fit to receive callers, without any signs of blue‐stockingism which could be reported abroad. Jane Austen herself, the Queen of novelists, the immortal creator of Anne Elliott, Mr. Knightly, and a score or two more of unrivalled intimate friends of the whole public, was compelled by the feelings of her family to cover up her manuscripts with a large piece of muslin work, kept on the table for the purpose, whenever any genteel people came in. So it was with other young ladies, for some time after Jane Austen was in her grave; and thus my first studies in philosophy were carried on with great care and reserve.”

Harriet Martineau

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Austen, Jane (2021, August 5) Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#22

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#22

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#22

Quote source: about Jane Austen Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, vol. 1 [1855]

“The want of elegance is almost the only want in Miss Austen. I have not read her ‘Mansfield Park;’ but it is impossible not to feel in every line of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ in every word of ‘Elizabeth,’ the entire want of taste which could produce so pert, so worldly a heroine as the beloved of such a man as Darcy. Wickham is equally bad. Oh! they were just fit for each other, and I cannot forgive that delightful Darcy for parting them. Darcy should have married Jane. He is of all the admirable characters the best designed and the best sustained. I quite agree with you in preferring Miss Austen to Miss Edgeworth. If the former had a little more taste, a little more perception of the graceful, as well as of the humorous, I know not indeed any one to whom I should not prefer her. There is not of the hardness, the cold selfishness, of Miss Edgeworth about her writings; she is in a much better humour with the world; she preaches no sermons; she wants nothing but the beau-idéal of the female character to be a perfect novel writer; and perhaps even that beau-idéal would only be missed by such a petite maîtresse in books as myself.”

Mary Russell Mitford

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#23

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#23

Quote source: about Jane Austen Mary Russell Mitford, letter to Sir William Elford, 1st Baronet (1814-12-20), The Life of Mary Russell Mitford, vol. 1 (1870)

“I have discovered that our great favourite, Miss Austen, is my countrywoman; that mamma knew all her family very intimately; and that she herself is an old maid (I beg her pardon – I mean a young lady) with whom mamma before her marriage was acquainted. Mamma says that she was then the prettiest, silliest, most affected, husband-hunting butterfly she ever remembers; and a friend of mine, who visits her now, says that she has stiffened into the most perpendicular, precise, taciturn piece of “single blessedness” that ever existed, and that, till ‘Pride and Prejudice’ showed what a precious gem was hidden in that unbending case, she was no more regarded in society than a poker or a fire-screen, or any other thin upright piece of wood or iron that fills its corner in peace and quietness. The case is very different now; she is still a poker – but a poker of whom every one is afraid. It must be confessed that this silent observation from such an observer is rather formidable. Most writers are good-humoured chatterers – neither very wise nor very witty: – but nine times out of ten (at least in the few that I have known) unaffected and pleasant, and quite removing by their conversation any awe that may have been excited by their works. But a wit, a delineator of character, who does not talk, is terrific indeed!”

Mary Russell Mitford

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Austen, Jane (2021, August 5) Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#24

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#24

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#24

Quote source: about Jane Austen Mary Russell Mitford, letter to Sir William Elford, 1st Baronet (1815-04-03), The Life of Mary Russell Mitford, vol. 1 (1870)

“Her exquisite story of 'Persuasion' absolutely haunted me. Whenever it rained (and it did rain every day that I stayed in Bath, except one), I thought of Anne Elliott meeting Captain Wentworth, when driven by a shower to take refuge in a shoe-shop. Whenever I got out of breath in climbing up-hill (which, considering that one dear friend lived in Lansdown Crescent, and another on Beechen Cliff, happened also pretty often), I thought of that same charming Anne Elliott, and of that ascent from the lower town to the upper, during which all her tribulations ceased. And when at last, by dint of trotting up one street and down another, I incurred the unromantic calamity of a blister on the heel, even that grievance became classical by the recollection of the similar catastrophe, which, in consequence of her peregrinations with the Admiral, had befallen dear Mrs. Croft. I doubt if any one, even Scott himself, have left such perfect impressions of character and place as Jane Austen.”

Mary Russell Mitford

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#25

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#25

Quote source: about Jane Austen Mary Russell Mitford, Recollections of a Literary Life, or Books, Places and People, vol. 2 (1852)

“Every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel.”

Bertrand Russell

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#26

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#26

Quote source: about Jane Austen Bertrand Russell, in The Conquest of Happiness (1930), Ch. 4: Boredom and excitement

“Miss Austen was surely a great novelist. What she did, she did perfectly. Her work, as far as it goes, is faultless. She wrote of the times in which she lived, of the class of people with which she associated, and in the language which was usual to her as an educated lady. Of romance, -- what we generally mean when we speak of romance -- she had no tinge. Heroes and heroines with wonderful adventures there are none in her novels. Of great criminals and hidden crimes she tells us nothing. But she places us in a circle of gentlemen and ladies, and charms us while she tells us with an unconscious accuracy how men should act to women, and women act to men. It is not that her people are all good; -- and, certainly, they are not all wise. The faults of some are the anvils on which the virtues of others are hammered till they are bright as steel. In the comedy of folly I know no novelist who has beaten her. The letters of Mr. Collins, a clergyman in Pride and Prejudice, would move laughter in a low-church archbishop.”

Anthony Trollope

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#27

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#27

Quote source: about Jane Austen Anthony Trollope, Lecture (1870)

“Jane Austen's books, too, are absent from this library. Just that one omission alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.”

Mark Twain

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Austen, Jane (2021, August 5) Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#28

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#28

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#28

Quote source: about Jane Austen Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1897)

“To me his (Edgar Allan Poe's) prose is unreadable — like Jane Austin's [sic]. No there is a difference. I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane's. Jane is entirely impossible. It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.”

Mark Twain

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#29

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Austen, Jane. “Jane Austen Quotes: 91–120 of 125 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Jane-Austen-quotes-4.html#29

Quote source: about Jane Austen Mark Twain, letter to William Dean Howells (1909-01-18)

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