Jane Austen is one of the pillars of literature. Her works, such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma remain relevant until today. These three literary classics were also my first venture into her works. My latest venture was Northanger Abbey which was part of my 2020 Beat the Backlist challenge. Parts-coming-of-age, parts-satire, parts-parody, it was an interesting mix of everything that defined Austen’s latter works (although Northanger Abbey, widely recognized as her first work, was published posthumously). Northanger Abbey, with its flowing language, is also a well of memorable lines. Here are some of the interesting quotes from this amazing book.

Do check out my complete review of this tantalizing work of fiction by clicking here.


The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and her treatment of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“I am fond of history and am very well contented to take the false with the true. In the principal facts they have sources of intelligence in former histories and records, which may be as much depended on, I conclude as anything that does not actually pass under one’s own observation; and as for the little embellishments you speak of, they are embellishment, and I like them as such.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance – a misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“And such is your definition of matrimony and dancing. Taken in that light, certainly their resemblance is not striking; but I think I could place them in such a view. You will allow that in both man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each other till the moment of ids dissolution; that it is their duty each to endeavor to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own imaginations from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbors, or fancying that they should have been better off with any one else.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Every young lady may feel for my heroine in this critical moment, for every young lady has at some time or other known the same agitation. All have been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the pursuit of some one they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious for the attentions of someone they wished to please.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Sleep, or repose that deserved the name of sleep, was out of question. That room, in which her disturbed imagination had tormented her on her first arrival, was again the scene of agitated spirits and unquiet slumbers. Yet how different now the source of her inquietude from what it had been then; how mournfully superior in reality and substance.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“To be disgraced in the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence, and the misconduct of another the true source of her debasement, is one of those circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine’s life, and her fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character. Catherine had fortitude too; she suffered, but no murmur passed her lips.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“It is this delightful habit of journalizing which largely contributes to form the easy style of writing for which ladies are so generally celebrated. Everybody allows that the talent of writing is particularly female. Nature might have done something, but I am sure it must be essentially assisted by the practice of keeping a journal.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Yes, novels; for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom, so common with novel-writers, of degrading, by their contemptuous censure, the very performances to the number of which they are themselves adding; joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronised by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another – we are an injured body.”

~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey