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Jane Austen’s Principles of Good Conversation

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Jane Austen as painted by her sister, Cassandra

Jane Austen as painted by her sister, Cassandra

In the novels of Jane Austen, being able to carry on a pleasant conversation is a mark of a virtuous character. (Although not a sufficient one—the villainous Misters Willoughby and Wickham are enchanting conversationalists.) But most of the best conversations in her novels—and in our own, twenty-first century lives—assume the same six principles, all of which stem from intelligence and thoughtfulness. By following these principles we not only make conversations more enjoyable, we can also become better, wiser people. Read the rest of this entry