Emirates Literature Foundation Blog (ELF)

Watched Netflix's Persuasion? Read These Jane Austen Quotes Next!

By: Emirates Literature Foundation

The Emirates Literature Foundation team shares their favourites!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most Jane Austen fans can instantly quote their favourite line from her novels unprompted and off the top of their heads. Not that it's much of a surprise. Austen was a gifted writer who had much to say over the course of her writing career, much of which had to do with the nature of family, literature, and love itself, as well as women's roles in society and the expectations society places on them. 

So with Netflix's new adaptation of Persuasion now available to stream, the Emirates Literature Foundation team decided to pay tribute to Austen, and her iconic way with words, by sharing some of their favourite quotes from her novels, and why it means so much to them. 

Sense and Sensibility (1811)

QUOTE: 'It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.' 

TEAM MEMBER: Jennifer Malton, Chief Operating Officer 

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: To want and expect nothing for oneself while having deep empathy for others is sincere and pure.

Pride and Prejudice (1813)

QUOTE: 'Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.' 

TEAM MEMBER: Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: As true today as then. The most important way to enact gender equality is through education. It empowers whoever has access to quality education. 

QUOTE: 'The distance is nothing when one has a motive.'

TEAM MEMBER: Dania Droubi, Director of Educational and Support Services

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: I love this because it embodies the lengths we go to achieve our goals, personal or career wise. If I have to go to the farthest point of the earth to achieve my goal in making someone happy or getting something done, I will walk if I have to! (But driving is my favorite mode of transportation.)

QUOTE: 'I declare after there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.'

TEAM MEMBER: Carmel Rosato, International Communications and Projects

QUOTE: As a young bookworm I couldn’t think of a better goal in life - to have a room brimming with books!

QUOTE: 'Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.' 

TEAM MEMBER: Aliya Khan, English Head of Education

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: My mum loves to quote this and often lives by it.

Mansfield Park (1814)

QUOTE: 'To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.

TEAM MEMBER: Dania Droubi, CEO of the Emirates Literature Foundation

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: I have always sought solitude when needed to refresh and what better way to do that than to sit outside, under a tree or umbrella, and bask in the beauty of the world?

QUOTE: 'Of course I love her, but there are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.'

TEAM MEMBER: Nivea Serrao, Web Content Manager

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: When people think of Jane Austen, so often they of her ability to write romances. And while I agree that it's one of the big hallmarks of her work, I think one of the reasons her work endures so much is her ability to capture the full scale and scope of people's ability to love, not just romantically, but also for our friends and family. That's why each one of the romantic relationships in her books has swept fans away. Her characters are real and flawed, and sometimes they don't express why their feelings well, or might not even know how (or have the words). And other times, its just an acknowledgement that love changes, or even fades into something else, and maybe that's okay as well. 

Emma (1815)

QUOTE: 'You must be the best judge of your own happiness.' and 'I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.'

TEAM MEMBER: Mervat Saeed, Arabic Head of Education 

QUOTE: 'There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.'

TEAM MEMBER: Aliya Khan, English Head of Education

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: There is far too much emphasis on external attributes, and I feel that sometimes inner beauty gets sidelined. This quote brings the ‘tenderness of heart’ (which is held within) into focus and keeps it as the ‘heart’ of the matter.

QUOTE: 'There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.'

TEAM MEMBER: Cathy Penaflor, English Executive Assistant 

QUOTE: 'If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.'

TEAM MEMBER: Annabelle Corton, Assistant Head of Programming 

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: We’ve all been in situations where we care so deeply about an issue or person that words fail us. I love the irony that Austen managed to say ‘how difficult it is to say things about important stuff’ with what is essentially the perfect sentence.

Northanger Abbey (1817)

QUOTE: 'The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.'

TEAM MEMBER: Carmel Rosato, International Communications and Projects

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: I still wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments, but am perhaps a little more tolerant of those who choose not to read  -  though it is certainly their loss!

QUOTE: 'There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.'

TEAM MEMBER: Nivea Serrao, Web Content Manager

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: I love this quote because it really does speak to doing something with your whole heart, whether it's following your passions, or simply cherishing the people in your life. If it's worth loving, it's worth loving entirely. 

Persuasion (1817)

QUOTE: 'Men have every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands'

TEAM MEMBER: Maham Uzair, Acting Head of Marketing and Communications 

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY: It’s been 200 years since the book was published and this phenomenon of erasure of female voices from storytelling still continues so I think this quote is a reminder and an inspiration from one of the strongest feminist literary role models to have ever existed.

Have a favourite Jane Austen quote? Tell us down below!

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