Quotes from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) was an esteemed British author known for six distinguished novels that secured her legacy in literary history. Despite myths of her modesty when it came to writing (all of her novels were published anonymously) she cared deeply about getting published and being read. Her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published in 1911 under the nom de plume “a Lady.”

Sense and Sensibility is an exquisitely crafted portrait of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood who are forced to leave their home after their father’s death. Like other women of their time and class, they must make good marriages. Along the way they encounter meddling matriarchs, conniving rakes, and competitive contemporaries, all standing in their path to love and security.

Following are some beloved quotes from Sense and Sensibility, demonstrating the author’s trademark wisdom and subtle wit.


“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”


“If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy.”


“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience- or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”


“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”


“It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”


Jane Austen

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“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and always will be…yours.”


“I will be calm. I will be mistress of myself.”


“If a book is well written, I always find it too short.”


“Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?”


“There is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind, that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more general opinions.”


“I could not be happy with a man whose taste did not in every point coincide with my own. He must enter in all my feelings; the same books, the same music must charm us both.”


“I have not wanted syllables where actions have spoken so plainly.”


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen on Amazon


“She was stronger alone; and her own good sense so well supported her, that her firmness was as unshaken, her appearance of cheerfulness as invariable, as, with regrets so poignant and so fresh, it was possible for them to be.”


“I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them. And I protest, if I had any money to spare, I should buy a little land and build one myself, within a short distance of London, where I might drive myself down at any time, and collect a few friends about me and be happy. I advise everybody who is going to build, to build a cottage.”


“But remember that the pain of parting from friends will be felt by everybody at times, whatever be their education or state. Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience; or give it a more fascinating name: call it hope.”


“Money can only give happiness where there is nothing else to give it.”


See also: Why Has Mr. Darcy Been Attractive to Generations of Women?


“That is what I like; that is what a young man ought to be. Whatever be his pursuits, his eagerness in them should know no moderation, and leave him no sense of fatigue.”


“She was without any power, because she was without any desire of command over herself.”


“You are in a melancholy humour, and fancy that any one unlike yourself must be happy. But remember that the pain of parting from friends will be felt by every body at times, whatever be their education or state. Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience — or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”


“She expected from other people the same opinions and feeling as her own, and she judged their motives by the immediate effect of their actions on herself.”


“…the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.”


“Every thing he did was right. Every thing he said was clever. If their evenings at the park included cards, he cheated himself and all the rest of the party to get her a good hand.”


“Shyness is only the effect of a sense of inferiority in some way or other. If I could persuade myself that my manner were perfectly easy and graceful, I should not be shy.”


“For to be unaffected was all that a pretty girl could want to make her mind as captivating as her person.”



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