Last update August 4, 2000
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Links to literary
allusions in  
Jane Austen's novels
and film adaptations

Sense & Sensibility
Pride & Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey

This comprehensive page lists all works of literature mentioned, quoted or alluded to in Jane Austen's writings. It is part of the Jane Austen Info site.

Search Jane Austen's novels 

Sense &Sensibility

  • Published 'sequels' to S&S
  • Sonnet VII

  • by Hartley Coleridge
    This sonnet has the words spoken by Marianne when she asks Elinor
    "Is love a fancy or a feeling (or a Ferrars)?" in the movie S&S2. 
  • Sonnet 116 (CXVI)

  • by William Shakespeare
    In the movie S&S2, this is Marianne's favorite sonnet which she and Willoughby recite to each other and which she recites as she looks at his home in the rainstorm.
  • Another, more artistic presentation of Sonnet CXVI

  • by Shakespeare
  • Hamlet

  • In Ch. 16 of the novel, Mrs. Dashwood remarks that they had not finished reading this play with Willoughby.
  • King Lear

  • Act II scene iv
    Regan and Goneril argue with their father from having 100 knights attend him down to one.

    In his book Jane Austen's Novels: The Art of Clarity Roger Gard argues that in S&S where Fanny Dashwood argues her husband down from giving his sisters 3000 pounds to 'they would be much more able to give 'you' something, the scene 'unfolds in the vein of the comical/awful with a logic nearly identical' to this scene from King Lear. 

  • Selected poems of William Cowper

  • Marianne asks Edward to read from him and discusses Cowper with Willoughby
    when they first meet after her accident.
    The words Edward reads in the movie S&S2 are from the end ofThe Castaway.

    In the S&S1 adapataion, Marianne and Willoughby recite Cowper's The Poplar Field and The Lily and the Rosenew together.

  • Alexander Pope

  • Marianne also determines Willoughby's opinion of this author at their first meeting. 
  • Eloisa to Abelard

  • by Alexander Pope
    In S&S2, during her "I'll never meet a man I truly love" speech to her mother, Marianne says she would like to love like Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet), Guenivere (King Arthur's Queen), or Eloise. She refers to the doomed lovers in Pope's poem. 
  • Andromaque

  • by Jean Racine
    In the movie S&S2, Margaret is having a French lesson with Elinor just before Thomas reveals that Lucy Steele is now Mrs. Ferrars. Margaret can be heard repeating "le destin d'Oreste est de venir sans cesse adorer vos attraits," which can be found in lines 482 and 483 of Act II, Scene II
  • The Faerie Queene

  • by Edmund Spenser
    Colonel Brandon reads this to Marianne in the movie. The exact words read by the Colonel may be found in stanza 39 of Book V, Canto II
  • Darkwater Library

  • Included at this site are Sonnet 116, Lyrics to The Dreame and Weep You No More Sad Fountains, and part of Hartley Coleridge's Sonnet VII, as recited by Marianne in the movie (Is love a fancy or a feeling?) 
  • Midi file of Weep You No More Sad Fountains.
  • Transcript of S&S screenplay by Emma Thompsonnew

Pride & Prejudice

  • Published 'sequels' to P&P
  • Evelina

  • by Fanny Burney
    Mary's comment in Ch. 47 (or Vol. III, Ch. V) that a women's reputation is "no less brittle than it is beautiful" is taken from the end of Letter 39 in this book, from the Rev. Mr. Villars to the title character. This story also has a cad/suitor called Willoughby. 
  • Voi, che sapete

  • by Mozart
    This site has a musical clip and notation from this song from The Marriage of Figaro. This is what Lizzy sings at Pemberley in P&P2. 
  • Flow Gently Sweet Afton

  • Lyrics and midi file
    Mary sings this in P&P0 
  • The Ash Grove

  • Lyrics and midi file
    Elizabeth sings this at the party at Lucas Lodge in P&P1 
  • Early One Morning

  • Lyrics and midi file
    At the same party at Lucas Lodge in P&P1, Mary delights everyone with this song.


  • Published 'sequels' to Emma 
  • Biography of Ann Radcliffe
    Ann Radcliffe is the author of The Romance of the Forest, which Harriet recommended to Robert Martin. 
  • Short biography of Ann Radcliffe
  • Extracts from Romance of the Forest
  • The Vicar of Wakefield
    by Oliver Goldsmith 
    Harriet tells Emma that Robert Martin has read this book.
  • Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I Scene I

  • In Ch. 9, after the discussion of riddles and charades leads Emma to conclude that Mr. Elton is in love with Harriet, she quotes:
    "The course of true love never did run smooth"
    which Lysander says to Hermia in this part of the play. Emma adds,
    "A Hartfield edition of Shakespeare would have a long note on that passage."
  • Romeo and Juliet, Act V scene i

  • In Ch. 46 or Vol. III Ch.10Emma says, speaking of governesses
    "Of such, one may almost say, that 'the world is not their's, nor the world's law.'"
    She is misquoting the passage from the play where Romeo tells the apothecary
    "The world is not thy friend nor the world's law;" However, this does show that Emma read to near the end of the play! 
  • Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard

  • by Thomas Gray
    The line "Full many a flower is born to blush unseen", is quoted by Mrs. Elton toEmma as she "quite raves" about poor Jane Fairfax.
    It is in Stanza 14 of the poem.
  • Robin Adair (words and music)new
    As Emma and Frank Churchill gossip about Jane Fairfax's mysterious new piano forte in Vol. II, Ch. 10, he comments that the song she is playing is Robin Adair, a favourite of Colonel Campbell's.
  • The Hare and Many Friends

  • In Vol. III, Ch. 17, Mrs. Elton quotes Lines 41 and 42 in reference to Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax. Just before quoting, she says, "I forget the poem at this moment", which is obvious for, taken in the context of the poem, it is an extremely inappropriate thing to say. 
  • L'Allegro

  • by John Milton
    In Volume II, Chapter XVIII, Mrs. Elton somewhat pretentiously quotes this poem to Mr. Weston, saying, "...he was apt to be in despair, and exclaim that he was sure at this rate it would be May before Hymen's saffron robe would be put on for us."
    The lines alluded to are:
    There let Hymen oft appear
    In Saffron robe, with Taper clear,
    And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
    With mask, and antique Pageantry,
    Such sights as youthfull Poets dream
    On Summer eeves by haunted stream.

Mansfield Park

book and flowers
  • Published 'sequels to MP
  • Lover's Vows

  • Click to see full-size image
  • Two references are made in Mansfield Park to

  • The Lay of the Last Minstrel
    by Sir Walter Scott

    In Chapter 9, while visiting Mr. Rushworth's home at Sotherton, the party tours the chapel. Fanny is disappointed with it, and whispers to Edmund:

     "This is not my idea of a chapel. There is nothing awful here, nothing melancholy, nothing grand. Here are no aisles, no arches, no inscriptions, no banners. No banners, cousin, to be 'blown by the night wind of heaven.'
    She is alluding to these lines:
    Full many a scutcheon and banner riven,
    Shook to the cold night-wind of heaven,
    Around the screened altar's pale
    from Scott's poem.

    In Ch 28 or Vol II Ch. 10, Fanny again recalls this poem. Her uncle Thomas tells her it is time for her to retire from the ball and go to bed, and she stops at the entrance 'one moment and no more' to view the happy scene.This refers to the lines of the poem:

    The Ladye forgot her purpose high,
    One moment, and no more;
    One moment gaz'd with a mother's eye
    As she paus'd at the arched door:
    Then from amid the armed train,
    She call'd to her William of Deloraine.
  • A Pipe of Tobacco: In Imitation
    of Six Several Authors
    by Isaac Hawkins Browne
    The fifth 'imitation' in this work is in the style of Alexander Pope. In Ch. 17, Mary Crawford first quotes from this imitation:

    "Blest leaf! whose aromatic gales dispense
    To Templars modesty, to Parsons sense. "
    Then she imitates or parodies the imitation when she says:
    "Blest Knight! whose dictatorial looks dispense
    To Children affluence, to Rushworth sense.
  • Rasselas

  • by Samuel Johnson

    At the end of Ch. 8 in Vol. III or in Ch. 39 Fanny, comparing her family's home in Portsmouth to Mansfield Park reflects that she "was tempted to apply to them Dr. Johnson's celebrated judgement as to matrimony and celibacy, and say that although Mansfield Park might have some pains, Portsmouth could have no pleasures."

    This refers to the end of Ch. 26 of Johnson's novel and the lines where the princess says: "Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures."

  • The Je Ne Scai Quoi new
    by William Whitehead
    In Ch. 30 (Vol. II, Ch. 12), Henry Crawford declares he is 'determined to marry Fanny Price' and his sister wants to know when he began to think seriously of her. His response is that:
    Nothing could be more impossible than to answer such a question, though nothing could be more agreeable than to have it asked. "How the pleasing plague had stolen on him" he could not say;
    This is an allusion to the first stanza of Whitehead's poem:
    YES, I'm in love, I feel it now,
    And Clia has undone me;
    And yet I'll swear I can't tell how
    The pleasing plague stole on me.
  • A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

  • The Hotel at Paris--The Passport
    by Laurence Sterne
    Contains the lines alluded to when Maria Bertram and Henry Crawford are waiting for Mr. Rushworth to return with the key to the gate at Sotherton and Maria says, "'I cannot get out,' as the starling said." In the new adaptation of MP2, the scene at Sotherton is omitted, and instead Henry Crawford reads this same passage to Fanny (instead of Shakespeare). 
  • Shakespeare comes up numerous times as the young people try to determine which play they would like to perform.

  • In Ch. 13, Henry Crawford announces that he "could be fool enough at this moment to take on any character that ever was written, from Shylock (in The Merchant of Venice) or Richard III to the singing hero of a farce in his scarlet coat and cocked hat."
  • Also in Ch. 13, Edmund is certain that their father will disapprove of the amusement, but Tom disagrees, saying: "How many a time have we mourned over the dead body of Julius Caesar and to be'd and not to be'd(Hamlet's famous soliloquy,Act III Scene I) in this very room for his amusement?"
  • In Ch. 14:
  • are all rejected as possible plays to perform.
  •  In Ch. 34, Henry Crawford reads to Fanny from Henry VIII

  • In the BBC adaptation it is from Cardinal Wolsey's speech
    in Act 3 Scene2 
    Farewell! a long farewell to all my greatness! 
  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan

  • The young people discuss performing Sheridan's The Rivals and The School for Scandal
  • The School for Scandal

  • E-text of the play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
  • Synopsis of The Rivals


3 books
  • Published 'sequels' to Persuasion 
  • Henry and Emma

  • by Matthew Prior
    In Ch. 12, Anne has agreed to nurse Louisa after her fall. She makes reference to this poem: 
    She endeavoured to be composed, and to be just. Without emulating the feelings of an Emma towards her Henry, she would have attended on Louisa with a zeal above the common claims of regard, for his sake;
  • To Autumn

  • by James Thomson
    exerpted from 'The Seasons'
    In the BBC adaptation P1, Anne quotes from this poem during the long walk. 
  •  Baronetage and Peerage

  • Sir Walter reads about his family's lineage over and over in a book like this.
  • An online "Navy list" from the Napoleonic Era

  • such as the one the Musgrove girls pull out when Captain Wentworth comes to dine.
  • Reading guide for Persuasion 
  • Exerpts from The Giaour 

  • by Lord Byron
    Anne and Captain Benwick discuss this poem.
  • painting 

  • by Eugene Delacroix--inspired by Byron's "The Bride of Abydos", also mentioned in this discussion
  • Marmion ( Canto 6)

  • by Sir Walter Scott
    Another poem from Captain Benwick and Anne's discussion
  • The Lady of the Lake

  • by Sir Walter Scott 
    In their discussion, Anne and Captain Benwick discuss whether this poem is to be preferred to Marmion, and in the movie, they quote together from Canto 3, Lines 390-393 of this poem.
  • Fare Thee Well 

  • by Lord Byron 
    In the movie, Captain Benwick quotes from the end of this poem just before Anne suggeststo him that he might want to read more prose!

Northanger Abbey

Catherine and Henry
Catherine's "Education"
  • The Hare and Many Friends 

  • Catherine learnt this poem, by John Gay, "as quickly as any girl in England."
  • Apparently, however, The Beggar's Petition by Thomas Moss caused Catherine a few more problems, as this poem (a common recitation piece for school children at the time) took her three months to learn, and her younger sister Sally knew it better.
  • Between lines 55 and 60 in

  • Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady
    we see where Catherine learned, from Pope, to censure those who "bear about the mockery of woe""
  • Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard

  • From Thomas Gray, Catherine has learned that
    "many a flower is born to blush unseen.
    And waste its fragrance on the desert air."
    These lines (also quoted in Emma) are to be found in
    Stanza 14 of the poem. Another version is here
  • In The Seasons "Spring"
    by James Thompson
    Catherine learns that "It is a delightful task
    To teach the young idea how to shoot."
  • --from Shakespeare
    Othello, Act III, Scene 3
    "Trifles light as air, are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of Holy Writ" is spoken in soliloquy by Iago as he plots against Othello.
    Measure for Measure
    Act III, Scene I

    In prison, Isabella tells her brother Claudio that:"the poor beetle, that we tread upon, in corporal sufferance finds a pang as great as when a giant dies."
    Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene 4
    When Viola (disguised) is telling Duke Orsino how "My father had a daughter lov'd a man", she says that her father's daughter never revealed her love for this man, but rather "sat like Patience on a monument,Smiling at grief." This is how Catherine Morland believes that a young woman in love always looks.

    Isabella Thorpe also alludes to this same scene of Twelfth Night in Chapter 6 when she says, "Everything is so insipid, so uniteresting that does not relate to the beloved object." It is a variation of Duke Orsino's observation:
    "For such as I am all true lovers are,
    Unstaid and skittish in all motions else,
    Save in the constant image of the creature
    That is beloved."

  • Published 'sequels' to NA 
  • A calendar for Northanger Abbey 
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho

  • This will be a complete online version of the text. 
  • Free e-text of The Mysteries of Udolphonew
    Read online or download it.
  • Gothic Literature page--Ann Radcliffenew
    This page has links and information about Radcliffe's work, including links to excerpts from The Italian, which Isabella plans to lend to Catherine as soon as she has finished reading The Mysteries of Udolopho.
  • The Northanger Canon

  • This page describes each of the Horrid novels on Isabella Thorpe's 'reading list' for Catherine in Ch. 6. The page also includes pictures of the front pages of these novels. 
  • Norton Topics Online--Northanger Abbeynew
    Links to exerpts from other texts mentioned in the novel.
  • Belinda
    by Maria Edgeworth
    In Ch. 5, describing the developing friendship between Catherine and Isabella Thorpe, Jane Austen gives what is known as her Defense of the novel. In it, she makes reference to two novels by Frances Burney, and Belinda:
    "And what are you reading, Miss - ?"

    "Oh! It is only a novel!" replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. "It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda"; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language.

    This passage can be compared to a speech in Ch. 5 of Belinda, which also talks about novel reading and mentions Burney's Camilla
    'A silver penny for your thoughts!' cried Lady Delacour. 'You are thinking that you are like Camilla, and I like Mrs Mitten. Novel reading as I dare say you have been told by your governess, as I was told by mine, and she by hers, I suppose--novel reading for young ladies is the most dangerous--" 'Oh, Clarence Hervey, I protest!' said Lady Delacour, as he at this instant entered the room. 'Do pray, Clarence, help me out, for the sake of this young lady, with a moral sentence against novel reading: but that might go against your conscience, or your interest; so we'll spare you.'
  • Tom Jones
    by Henry Fielding
    Includes searchable online version, criticisms and interpretations and a list of characters.
    John Thorpe considers this to be one of the only "tolerable" novels which have been written. 
  • The Monknew
    by Matthew Lewis
    This is the other book that John Thorpe considers 'tolerable'.
  • The Monk--downloadable .pdf versionnew


Click on image to see larger version
In Chapter 7 the young baronet Sir Edward Denham expounds to Charlotte Heywood on his (dubious) taste in literature. Scott's "beautiful lines on the sea" do not exist.
  • Marmion

  • by Sir Walter Scott

    For no apparent reason, Sir Edward refers to line 902 of the poem:

    902  O, Woman! in our hours of ease,
    903  Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
    904  And variable as the shade
    905  By the light quivering aspen made;
    Note: This poem also has the famous lines
    Oh what a tangled web we weave, 
    When first we practise to deceive! 
  • Quotations by Sir Walter Scott

  • The lines 
    " Some feelings are to mortals given 
    With less of earth in them than heaven. 
    are included among his famous quotations. They are from Canto ii Stanza 22of The Lady of the Lake
  • The Pleasures of Hope

  • by Thomas Campbell
    Denham says, "Campbell in his Pleasures of Hope has touched the extreme of our Sensations". 
    The above is an exerpt from the poem, which does not however contain the lines alluded to: "Like angel visits, few and far between."
  •  Sir Edward Denham speaks of Robert Burnsand his "Lines to his Mary. This could refer to:
  • Clarissa

  • by Samuel Richardson
    This is just an excerpt from a letter to Lovelace in this book. He is the character referred to as Sir Edward Denham's 'hero'"in the line of the Lovelaces".
  • Notes on Samuel Richardson

  • This sheds some light on what it is that Sir Edward likes about Lovelace and why the narrator seems to disapprove of Richardson's novels
  • Calendar of events in Sanditon 
  • Published 'sequels' to Sanditon
  • Poetry in the completion of Sanditon by Another Lady
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