14 Jane Austen Quotes That Would Make Great Tattoos

Jane Austen’s novels hold plenty of quotes for the lovelorn, the coupled up, and the hopeless romantics among us. But never mistake Austen for "only" a romance writer. In all of her books, there are quotes for artists, moralists, and men and women who are merely seeking happiness in the world. They struggle and strive and fail and triumph. In these moments, Austen often offers up the most inspirational gems — quotes that are just what you might need in a trying moment, or as a reminder that someday our scars will tell the story of our triumphs over struggle. That’s the thing about Austen: She’s always honest.

Often overlooked as simple, fun, romantic novels, Austen’s works actually pierce straight to the heart of things with an alarming clarity. She shows people and society with all its flaws and follies and endearingly silly charms. She is one of the greatest humanists among literary giants. So it should come as no surprise that her novels share wisdom that you just might want to permanently ink onto your body. You can remind yourself that love and happiness and life are hard, that we’re all a bit foolish, and to never forget to laugh.

1. “What are men to rocks and mountains?”

Pride and Prejudice

It will be a tattoo to look on when you start to drown in your small, everyday problems.

2. “Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!”

Love and Friendship

A great reminder to be as crazy as you please, but not so wild that you lose yourself.

3. "When pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure."

Persuasion

It's kind of too perfect for a tattoo, isn't it? You're literally scarring yourself with art for this purpose.

4. “Know your own happiness.”

Sense and Sensibility

What better advice is there?

5. "We are all fools in love."

Pride and Prejudice

This would make for a great couples tattoo, especially helpful for all those times you two manage to get on each others nerves and bicker about silly things like dishes.

6. “Without music, life would be a blank to me.”

Emma

If you're a lover of music, you ought to love Austen's heroines. Marianne Dashwood, Emma Woodhouse, Anne Elliot, and even Elizabeth Bennett all play and love music. It's clear that Austen has a soft spot for it.

7. “I will be mistress of myself.”

Sense and Sensibility

Sure, most of the women in Austen's novels end up married happily ever after, but such were the times in which she was writing. Still, despite these conventions, she managed to depict these women as mistresses of their own destinies.

8. “I dearly love a laugh ..."

Pride and Prejudice

One of the greatest things you can take from Pride and Prejudice is Elizabeth Bennett's propensity to laugh at everything. Rather than waste time taking offense at everything and bemoaning the situation of women and the stodginess of social convention, she just laughs instead, realizing just how ridiculous it all is.

9. “Indulge your imagination in every possible flight.”

Pride and Prejudice

You can't argue with that, and neither would Catherine Morland. Imagination is, after all, what got her into all sorts of trouble and adventure, and eventually love and happiness.

10. “I was quiet, but I was not blind.”

Mansfield Park

For the shy out there. The world might usually overlook the Anne Elliots and Fanny Prices, but though these shy ladies are usually quiet, it doesn't mean they aren't paying attention and aren't ready to act.

11. “This sweetest and best of all creatures, faultless in spite of all her faults.”

Emma

I'd get this tattooed on my forehead if I thought it would look better. With all of our daily embarrassments and flaws and failures, it's so easy to forget that we're pretty amazing humans, too. Having this put somewhere precious would be a great reminder to embrace our faults.

12. “My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.”

Pride and Prejudice

And even if it doesn't, you might as well say so, so that one day it might be true.

13. “Everything nourishes what is strong already.”

Pride and Prejudice

This is a personal favorite of Austen quotes. In context, it's referring to the effects of poetry on relationships, but it's also a great sentiment about the importance of self-care, and how it is often how we decide to receive things that determines their effects on us.

14. “I should infinitely prefer a book ...”

Pride and Prejudice

Because, obviously.

Correction: This article previously cited a commonly misattributed quotation to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: "Our scars make us know that our past was for real"

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