Classics Challenge August Prompt: Quotes from Jane Austen’s Emma

This year I am taking part in a Classics Challenge hosted by Katherine of November’s Autumn. The goal is to read at least seven classics in 2012 and every month Katherine is posting a prompt to help us discuss the books we are reading. This month we are asked to share some quotes from our current read.

The classic I just finished reading yesterday was Emma by Jane Austen. This was a re-read for me and I’ll be posting my thoughts on the book next week. For now, here are some quotes from Emma. Katherine’s prompt recommended choosing some that were not so well-known. I’m not sure it’s possible to find any quotes from a Jane Austen novel that are not well-known, so I’ve just posted a selection of my favourites. Some might be more obscure than others.

“That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”


“I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing! But I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall. And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine.”


“A sanguine temper, though for ever expecting more good than occurs, does not always pay for its hopes by any proportionate depression. It soon flies over the present failure, and begins to hope again.”


“To be sure – our discordancies must always arise from my being in the wrong.”

“Yes,” said he, smiling, “and reason good. I was sixteen years old when you were born.”

“A material difference, then,” she replied; “and no doubt you were much my superior in judgement at that period of our lives; but does not the lapse of one-and-twenty years bring our understandings a good deal nearer?”

“Yes, a good deal nearer.”

“But still, not near enough to give me a chance of being right, if we think differently.”


Was it new for any thing in this world to be unequal, inconsistent, incongruous — or for chance and circumstance (as second causes) to direct the human fate?


“I cannot make speeches, Emma,” he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me.”


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.

13 thoughts on “Classics Challenge August Prompt: Quotes from Jane Austen’s Emma

  1. Cat says:

    I had the same difficulty with my Persuasion quotes – the best ones are all so well-known – so just chose random words I liked. Haven’t read Emma yet so will look forward to your thoughts.

    • Helen says:

      I think it would be almost impossible to find any little-known quotes from any of Austen’s novels – her books have all been studied and analysed so much!

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