Quotes honoring Pride and Prejudice’s 199th Birthday!

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, J. M. Dent & Co, London (1907)I could not let this day pass without wishing Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice a happy 199th birthday.

Written between October 1796 and August 1797, Pride and Prejudice was first entitled First Impression and would not premiere on the printed page until after many revisions and another sixteen years. Publisher Thomas Egerton of Whitehall (London) purchased the copyright from Jane Austen for £110 (worth £3,735.60 or $5,867.77 today). She would make no further pecuniary emolument from her most popular novel in her lifetime.

We have all had the pleasure of enjoying her “light, bright and sparkling” prose for almost 200 years now. Renowned for her witty dialogue, the friction between Austen’s hero Mr. Darcy and heroine Elizabeth Bennet has given us some of the most memorable lines in literature. Here are a few of my favorites:

“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.” (Mr Darcy to Mr. Bingley about Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 3)

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” (Elizabeth Bennet about Mr. Darcy; Ch. 5)

“Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.” (Mr. Darcy to Miss Bingley; Ch. 6)

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.” (Mr. Darcy to Miss Bingley; Ch. 6)

“Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 10)

“There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil— a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome.”

“And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.” (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 11)

“It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first.”

“May I ask to what these questions tend?”

“Merely to the illustration of your character,” said she, endeavouring to shake off her gravity. “I am trying to make it out.”

“And what is your success?”

She shook her head. “I do not get on at all. I hear such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly.” (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 18)

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it…” (Elizabeth Bennet; Chapter 24)

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Chapter 31)

“I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,” said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.”

“My fingers,” said Elizabeth, “do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women’s do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault- because I would not take the trouble of practising…” (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 31)

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 34)

“I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 34)

“From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” (Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 34)

“If Mr. Darcy is neither by honour nor inclination confined to his cousin, why is not he to make another choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him?”

“Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us.”

“These are heavy misfortunes,” replied Elizabeth. “But the wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine.” (Lady Catherine and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 56)

“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 58)

“My dearest sister, now be serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?”

“It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” (Jane Bennet and Elizabeth Bennet; Ch. 59)

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” (Mr. Darcy; Ch. 60)

These are only a few of the amazing moments in Pride and Prejudice. Did I miss some your favorites? If so, do share.


Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2012, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

22 thoughts on “Quotes honoring Pride and Prejudice’s 199th Birthday!

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  1. Great idea to commemorate the occasion! One of my favourite lines is the first one in Chapter 61: “Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.” I love that this is all Austen has to say about the wedding day itself.


  2. There are so many, but I’ve chosen this one to add to your list: “I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to YOU, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” (Elizabeth to Lady Catherine) You tell her Lizzy!


  3. Great list Laurel Ann! Love them all, but here’s my pick to add: “I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, wihtout reference to YOU, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.” (Elizabeth to Lady Catherine) You tell her, Lizzy!


  4. What a lovely article !!!Thank god my favourite quote was in there (”In vain I have struggled,it will not do.My feelings will not be repressed.You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”).Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice !!! =)


  5. I took out a Kindle Nation ad for my mashup “Pride and Prejudice: The Jewess and the Gentile” (http://tinyurl.com/7r6x5bky) yesterday, but alas, they forgot to include my birthday wishes.

    Well, as Austen wrote in Mansfield Park: “our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.”


  6. Please forgive my imperfect recall, but your invitation to offer up a favorite P & P quote is irresistable:
    “My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever!” (Darcy to Elizabeth) and,
    “”Your good opinion is rarely bestowed, and, therefore, more worth the earning!” (also, Darcy to Elizabeth).
    What a delightful way to start the day, and I anticipate that it will just keep on this way, on this blog, anyway!
    Thank you, Laurel Ann.


  7. Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice!! You are one of my favorite novels ever and I love anything Jane Austen!! Congrats!


  8. P&P is my absolute favorite by Austen!! So…. Happy 199th Birthday to P&P!! You listed quite a few of my favorite quotes already, but my most favorite is the one from Mr. Darcy, Ch. 58 where he professes his love to Lizzie… “You are too generous to trifle with me…” Just makes your heart pound with excitement, knowing that they are finally going to be together!!! LOVE it!!! :)


  9. Lovely tribute and awesome collection of P&P quotes, including my personal favorite “I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

    Can’t wait for the year-long party next year’s anniversary will launch!


  10. Happy Birthday P and P
    I have always liked the opening sentence as it is convoluted-
    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
    I also like the question posed by Lady Catherne de Bourgh – are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?


  11. Probably my favorite quote from Pride and Prejudice is in chapter 31. Lady Catherine, after interupting the Colonel and Elizabeth, is pontificating about playing the pianoforte, “If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.” In vain have I waited for a chance to use such a pompous, utterly ridiculous statement in my own life, but someday…SOMEDAY… ;-)


  12. Oh I love that question Ann, Lady Catherine de Bourgh is such a wonderfully composed Character in the book. And I so love how Elizabeth just doesn’t care about how much money she has, she puts Lady Catherine in her place. Happy Birthday to my favorite book ever!


  13. Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice!

    I always smile when I read the opening sentence (quoted by Ann Dawson above).


  14. Thank you Laurel Ann; you have covered most of my favourite quotes .
    If I may add one that is often forgotten- from the scene at Netherfield, when Darcy and Elizabeth are sparring about human faults and follies-after Miss Bingley declares that Darcy cannot be “laughed at” – he has no weaknesses.

    Darcy’s reluctant admission that he has perhaps one weakness – ” My temper would perhaps be called resentful. My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” brings a remarkable response from Elizabeth, ” That is a failing indeed! Implacable resentment is a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. I really cannot laugh at it.” It immediately deepens the tone of the conversation from teasing to reality as both Elizabeth and Darcy are rather uncomfortable, having revealed more of themselves than perhaps they intended to. It’s their first serious encounter.

    The 1796/97 date has a special significance for me- it was exactly 200 years later ( August 1996 ) that I began work on The Pemberley Chronicles.
    I look forward to the 200th anniversay commemoration of the publication of Pride and Prejudice with much anticipation.


  15. Elizabeth speaking of Mr. Collins:
    “Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all.” Miss Austen displaying her devastating wit again….


  16. Dear Readers: I am still experiencing problems with WordPress not posting comments immediately. Please do not let it put you off the conversation if your comment does not appear instantly. They will be retrieved out of the spam folder and posted within 24 hours. I apologize profusely. I have been working to get this fixed with them for over 2 weeks and will continue to try to get is resolved.


  17. I loved all of your quotes, Laurel Ann. It is hard to pick a favorite, so very hard. I suppose if I had to I’d pick the conversation when Darcy again asks Lizzy if her feelings have changed since last April and her response. It’s that moment when you know that they’re finally coming to the realization that their only contentedness will be found in each other. But Jane Austen just dazzles us with so many ironic sentences and comedic comments. Happy Birthday, Pride and Prejudice, my favorite novel of all time. Can’t wait for next year’s celebrations!


  18. Great quotes! This one is a particular favorite of mine: “‘An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. — Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.”’ Mr. Bennet to Elizabeth upon her proposal from Mr. Collins Chapter 20


  19. I love when Darcy says, “you showed me how insufficient were all my pretentions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.”


  20. Hello, I just found this blog and, being an absolute fan of Jane Austin and her “Pride and Prejudice”, I cannot leave without adding one of my favorite phrases: « “If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure.” (Mr. Bennet to Elizabeth)

    Liked by 1 person

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