BRITAIN’s top 10 Jane Austen quotes

Jane Austen, portrait
Jane Austen, from a drawing by her sister Cassandra

We gather her greatest pearls of romantic wisdom from one of Britain’s best-loved writers. Here are our favourite Jane Austen quotes.

Jane Austen, portrait
Jane Austen, from a drawing by her sister Cassandra Credit: Perry–Castañeda Library of the University of Texas at Austin

Much of the enduring appeal of Jane Austen’s novels stem from wisdom and wit with which she wrote about navigating affairs of the heart and the perils and pressures of society life. She may have lived in the 19th century but her novels, especially Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion and Emma, still chime with audiences today.

It’s no surprise, then, that filmmakers are constantly drawn back to the author’s work – Colin Firth’s turn as Mr Darcy in 1995 defined the on-screen romantic hero for a generation.

Now, the mind behind the magic is being given the big-screen treatment as Voltage Pictures announce a new rom-com based on Austen’s own life. The mooted film, based on Carolyn V Murray’s novel Jane by the Sea, will examine the author’s relationships and combine scenes from her life and her books.

To whet the appetite and help with the long wait for the movie to reach the cinemas, we’ve gathered together ten of Austen’s greatest pearls of romantic wisdom.

  1. “Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then.” —  Pride and Prejudice

  2. “Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.” Northanger Abbey

  3. “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” — Persuasion

  4. “One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.” — Pride and Prejudice

  5. “Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.” — Sense and Sensibility

  6. “It is not what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” – Sense and Sensibility, 2008, BBC adaptation

  7. “Half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.” – Emma

  8. “You must be the best judge of your own happiness.” – Emma

  9. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” ― Pride and Prejudice 

  10. “Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.” ― Mansfield Park

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