Jane Austen knew a lot about love. She never married (although a guy did propose to her), but she was an acute observer of everyone around her. She deeply understood love, courtship, and heartbreak. Jane Austen was woke as hell. Much of the truths she told in her novels are still relevant when it comes to modern love. So, next time you have a bad breakup, pick up Pride and Prejudice and look for solace in Jane’s sage words.
1. “There is safety in reserve, but no attraction. One cannot love a reserved person.”
- Frank Churchill, Emma
If you want love, you have to put yourself out there.
2. “I was simple enough to think, that because my faith was plighted to another, there could be no danger in my being with you; and that the consciousness of my engagement was to keep my heart as safe and sacred as my honour. I felt that I admired you, but I told myself it was only friendship…the arguments with which I reconciled myself to the expediency of it, were no better than these:—The danger is my own; I am doing no injury to anybody but myself.”
- Edward Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility
This quote is for everyone who’s ever accidentally flirted with someone else while in a relationship.
3. “There are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten a women had better show more affection than she feels.”
- Charlotte Lucas, Pride and Prejudice
How many times have you almost given up on a crush because you thought they didn’t like you back, only to find out later that they did like you but were too shy to make a move? Too many.
4. "A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment."
- Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
Sometimes, after the first date with a new guy, you accidentally catch yourself thinking about what your kids would look like. Even though Mr. Darcy says this to get Caroline Bingley off his back, it's true nonetheless.
5. “She must be a little in love with him, in spite of every previous determination against it.”
- Emma Woodhouse, Emma
Sometimes you fall for someone even though they’re bad for you, like Emma does with Frank Churchill. The heart wants what it wants.
6. “An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert all her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged; no harm can be done.”
- Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park
This is really just another way of saying that when you’re in a relationship, you don’t have to try any more. Sweatpants, hair tied, chillin’ with no makeup on.
7. “I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
- Isabella Thorpe, Northanger Abbey
This quote is for everyone who falls head over heels in love. Okay, so this is said by Isabella, who is not a very loyal person, but it's still true.
8. “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
- George Knightley, Emma
Sometimes you love someone so much that they make you speechless.
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Madeline Raynor is a New York City-based writer. She is a Blog Editor at BUST. She has written for Splitsider, The Billfold, Death and Taxes, Mashable, Indiewire, and Time Out New York. She loves all things Tina Fey. Word to the wise: her first name is pronounced with a long “i,” like the red-haired girl from France. Follow her on Twitter @madelineraynor_.