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Smart Words and Wicked Wit of Jane Austen

“The Smart Words and Wicked Wit of Jane Austen,” edited by Max Morris, collects the most memorable, quotable words of Jane Austen from both her published works and from letters to her sister Cassandra and others.

The quotes are categorized by various themes such as “A Song and Dance,” “Matters of the Heart,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and “Witty Quips.”

This book is not something you sit down and read in one sitting (even though I did), but it is a nice selection of tidbits from the collected works when you want a little taste or need some bursts of inspiration from Austen herself.

It’s fun to see these quotes pulled from the full novels and to read them over as discrete bits of wisdom or observations on life and society. Many seem to take on new meanings when stripped of their scene settings and context clues.

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.” Northanger Abbey

“Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.” A letter to Fanny Knight

“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like.” Persuasion

“Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.” Northanger Abbey

4 stars for this compiled book of quotes, mostly because while I think they’re well-selected and categorized, there’s little originality to the book.