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20 “Merciless” Jane Austen Quotes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever a girl writes a love story, everyone will assume she’s basic and that her book is probably boring. Many people have made this same VERY mistaken assumption about Jane Austen. However, letting Jane speak for herself, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure […]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever a girl writes a love story, everyone will assume she’s basic and that her book is probably boring. Many people have made this same VERY mistaken assumption about Jane Austen. However, letting Jane speak for herself, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid” (Northanger Abbey).  If you’ve ever actually read a Jane Austen novel, then you know that she was a woman ahead of her time. Had she been alive during this modern era of social media, she would have been a Twitter goddess. Her wit and charm would have made her a viral sensation overnight. The woman could keep it real like no one else. So in honor of her “merciless” wit and her “whip-like phrase,” as Virginia Woolf described it, here are some of her best silver-tongued torches that you can steal when you need to slightly roast your enemies or be brutally honest with your friends and not sound like a toad:

  • “Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” (Mansfield Park)
  • “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.” (Emma)
  • “It is particularly encumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly first.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “There was a monstrous deal of stupid quizzing and common-place nonsense talked, but scarcely any wit.” (Letter to Cassandra, April 21, 1805)
  • “Good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves.” (Emma)
  • “Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.” (Emma)
  • “It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.” (Mansfield Park)
  • “Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.” (Emma)
  • “There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil – a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “One cannot always be laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.” (Emma)
  • “One man’s ways may be as good as another, but we all like our own best.” (Persuasion)
  • “Angry people are not always wise.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her.” (Emma)
  • “I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.” (Emma)
  • “It would be mortifying to the feelings of many ladies, could they be made to understand how little the heart of a man is affected by what is costly or new in their attire.” (Northanger Abbey)
  • “Laugh at me as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion.” (Pride and Prejudice)
  • “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” (Pride and Prejudice)
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