Category Archives: Men

A mistake thousands of women fall into

“Poor dear Mr J.P.!–Oh! dear Fanny, Your mistake has been one that thousands of women fall into.  He was the first young Man who attached himself to you.  That was the charm, & most powerful it is.”

letter to her niece, Fanny Knight, about Mr. John Plumptre, whom Fanny was considering marrying
November 18, 1814 [109]

Olivia Williams as letter-writing aunt Jane Austen. ©BBC 2007 for MASTERPIECE

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Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Men, niece Fanny Knight

What strange creatures

“From the time of our being in London together, I thought you really very much in love.–But you certainly are not at all–there is no concealing it.–What strange creatures we are!–It seems as if your being secure of him (as you say yourself) had made you Indifferent.”

letter to her niece, Fanny Knight, about Mr. John Plumptre, whom Fanny was considering marrying
November 18, 1814 [109]

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Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Men, niece Fanny Knight, Uncertainty in love

Nobody brilliant

“A handsome young Man certainly, with quiet, gentlemanlike manners.–I set him down as sensible rather than Brilliant.–There is nobody Brilliant nowadays.”

letter to Cassandra, about John Plumptre, one of her niece Fanny’s love interests
September 23, 1813 [89]

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Filed under Austen family, Letters, Men, niece Fanny Knight, On being a gentleman

Are there really such men in the world?

I want to post more from Mansfield Park, for Luciana’s sake, but I’ve been reading through Jane’s letters again and had to share this.

One of my favorite sets of letters is to Jane’s niece Fanny, as she is trying to decide whether or not to marry one very good but evidently slightly boring guy.  Here’s a snippet:

There are such beings in the World, perhaps, one in a Thousand, as the Creature You & I should think perfection, where Grace & Spirit are united to Worth, where the Manners are equal to the Heart & Understanding, but such a person may not come in your way, or if he does, he may not be the eldest son of a Man of Fortune, the Brother of your particular friend, & belonging to your own County.”

letter to Fanny Knight
November 18, 1814 [109] (emphasis mine)

I believe that guys like this are out there, but perhaps they may not come my way as often as I would like.


Filed under Austen family, Letters, Love, Men, Money, Money and Marriage, niece Fanny Knight

Handsome is as handsome does

“Mr. Digweed has used us basely.  Handsome is as Handsome does; he is therefore a very ill-looking Man.”

letter to Cassandra
January 24, 1813 [78]

No explanation here of exactly what Mr. Digweed did.  No doubt Jane was joking, as usual.

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Filed under Letters, Men, Morality, Neighbors

A misfortune

“He is such a disagreeable man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him.”

Mrs. Bennet on Mr. Darcy
Pride and Prejudice, volume 1, chapter 5


Filed under Darcy, Men, Mrs. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

Warren’s indifference

“Assure her also as a last & indisputable proof of Warren’s indifference to me, that he actually drew that Gentleman’s picture for me, & delivered it to me without a Sigh.”

letter to Cassandra
January 14, 1796 [2]

Jane was referring to John Warren (who is portrayed in Becoming Jane as Jane’s incredibly awkward suitor, a la Mr. Collns).  Others thought he might be in love with her but she believed him to be just a friend.  The picture he delivered was one of Tom Lefroy.

The last reference Jane made to Tom was here, where she talks about “flirting her last” with him.

I’ve now posted every quote about Tom from Jane’s early letters. There’s actually very little.   We will never really know how much her heart was involved — although, of course, it’s a fun story to tell and fun to speculate.

If you’ve seen Becoming Jane I would love to know what you thought.


Filed under Jane Austen's love interests, Letters, Men, Neighbors, Tom Lefroy

Advice to a writing niece

A couple letters survive where Jane gives advice to her niece Anna, who was writing a novel.  Unfortunately, it seems that Anna later destroyed the manuscript in a fit of desperation, but Jane’s advice is still wonderful, even if we don’t have the manuscript she was commenting on.

“Henry Mellish I am afraid will be too much in the common Novel style–a handsome, amiable, unexceptionable Young Man (such as do not much about in real Life) desperately in Love, & all in vain.  But I have no business to judge him so early.”

letter to Anna Austen
September 28, 1814 [108]


Filed under Letters, Love, Men, Writing

Dear Lydia…

“Have you seen any pleasant men? Have you had any flirting?”

Lydia Bennet
Pride and Prejudice, volume 2, chapter 16

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Filed under Flirting, Lydia Bennet, Men, Pride and Prejudice

Marianne’s opinion of Edward

“I think him everything that is worthy and amiable.”

Sense and Sensibility, volume 1, chapter 4

Marianne did not know how much she would come to prize “worthy and amiable” over romantic and good-looking.

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Filed under Edward Ferrars, Marianne, Men, Sense and Sensibility