Top 10 Quotes by Jane Austen


Jane Austen is counted among the earliest exponents of the genre of novel because this form of literature had taken birth only about a century before she started writing and achieved its zenith in the next century to her, in the Victorian Age. More over being a woman, it was rather more difficult to carry on with her passion of writing. This is the reason why many of her novels were published anonymously and attained only posthumous popularity. Her contribution to English Literature as a whole is of grave importance.

Top 10 Quotes by Jane Austen

#1 The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Jane Austin could be considered as one of the pioneers of the genre of ‘novel’ in English literature. Amongst the highly popular explosion of the Romantic poetry tradition throughout entire England she had the guts to carry on writing novel even without the least direct reputation that her novels gained later on. Such a dedicated novelist must know better than anybody else what the pleasure in reading a novel is. And therefore she is quite bold in her assessment of a person’s character being judged from the perspective of his/her interest in reading a good novel.

#2 There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart. 

the period when Jane Austin had lived is best known by the name ‘Romantic Age’, not only because of intense passion of love among people but also for a generalized sense of romanticism, a tendency of finding bliss in almost all earthly things around. This, of course demands a tender heart that can breathe the essence of beauty, be it in the relationship of a man and woman or man and Nature. And if the desired tenderness is achieved one can surely be transformed to a state of being where only truth and beauty persist.

#3 If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.

The sentiment of romanticism seeks honest endeavour. The one, who loves for merely showing off, actually takes up the business of showing more seriously than that of loving. He/she is heard more to talk about love more than anyone else. Jane Austin was well aware of such hypocrisy in human nature. Her close observation of nature and men has created in her novels many such characters who fall under this category. By the introduction of a first person description of vague love and its loud proclamations she is actually casting a satire on such characters.

#4 My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company.

Being brought up in a small township Jane Austin herself had attended quite a good number of balls and other community get together meetings and thus had both the god and bitter experiences of having introduced to social groups of various taste and culture. Her novels therefore portray vivid pictures of such meetings and how human relationship is born and developed through interactions made during such social meetings. She is well versed about the classifications of good company, and according to her it is but the intellect and its reflection through conversation that make the difference.

#5 We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.

It is a popular saying that if one listens to the honest call of heart, no matter how much difficulty he/ she may have to face, at the end of everything it is only that person who achieves success. Jane Austin utters the same in her saying and her novels and maintains the same too though out her life. She lives for about 41 years and remains virgin although there are a number of companions she meets. It is but her impulse that discards all to be her life partner even in a society where remaining spinster is the rarest thing to find.

#6 Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

A subtle satire had been the forte of Jane Austin’s novels. She used the machinery of indirect irony to involve into such satires. And the most targeted area of such satire had been the common follies of human nature, such as human attitude towards for love and marriage, for envy towards their neighbours, for self worshipping and the likes. Here also she ridicules man’s selfishness and as if in a frustrated notion, declares that it has no cure; so it better be forgiven than punished. Irrespective of the amount of punishment one’s selfishness remains the same.

#7 There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.
One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. 

Jane Austen had always been a great perceiver of human nature and human psychology. She had introduced many characters in her novels with reserve personalities and had made then enormously criticized by all who attended them. And often with a subtle shift in nature she had developed those characters with a shade of jubilant personality in familiar company. The reason is that gravity or reserve attitude in character is good only until it causes harm in free conversation and mingling with people and thus does not make such persons highly disagreeable among a community.

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


This is rather a risky comment from the part of Jane Austen as this statement of generalizing one by his/ her humbleness may not always be a proper judgment and can lead to unnecessary misconceptions about a character. A character may be humble by nature, or by guise. If it is a mere mask it is indeed an example of indirect boast and to some extent a careless attitude as well. But if one is truly humble so much so that it is undistinguishable whether true or pretentious, this statement will not be befitting for him/ her.

#9 No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment. 

Being a woman herself Jane Austen does not remain diplomatic in her comment about her own sex. This is a very genuine attribute to the fair sexes that they are so preoccupied with the thought of possessiveness that if another woman praises her spouse in her presence it would ignite a great unrest in her mind, whether the vice-versa never does happen. A man always appreciates admiration about his spouse coming from another man and quite agreeably is in a sporting tendency to not dig out any other intension apart from mere admiration.

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

Neighbours and their roles in the everyday life of people living in a small community where everybody almost knows each other have always played a vital part in Jane Austen’s writings. Wherever necessary she has introduced some very helpful neighbours. But mostly they have been found to be in the opposite side of helpfulness. Making fun of others and obstructing them from any constructive activity is their main objective. But this is represented in a light tone of humour and element of laughter. Such episodes with neighbours contribute most to the comic nature and relief in her writings.

Some popular writings of Jane Austen are Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility etc. Hope you’ve enjoyed going through the top 10 quotes by Jane Austin.

Hi, I am a school teacher (who eventually wants to become a college teacher), done my M.A., M.Phil., and presently pursuing my P.hd. I love to read and provide my opinions on various kinds of poems that I get to read and discuss them with people.

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