Holly Williams for Art-Sheep

Characterized by some as one of the masters of social commentary, English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817) is known for her biting criticism on her era’s conventions in classic novels, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion and Sense & Sensibility. The following quotes are some of our favorite by her.


1.“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.”

2.“Where so many hours have been spent in convincing myself that I am right, is there not some reason to fear I may be wrong?” 

3.“Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.” 

4.“I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible.” 

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

6.“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.” 

7.“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” 

8.“One man’s style must not be the rule of another’s.”

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

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

11.“An artist cannot do anything slovenly.” 

12.“What is right to be done cannot be done too soon.”

13.“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” 

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

Last page (p.4) of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, dated June 11, 1799, and signed “Yours affectionately, Jane”


15.“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”

17.“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 anything.”

18.“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

19.“Business, you know, may bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does.”

20.“Nobody minds having what is too good for them.” 

21.“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”

22.“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

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

24.“Oh! do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.”

25.“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”