No other author uses abstract nouns as extensively as Jane Austen. Three of her six novels even draw on such words for their titles: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion. Terms like 'elegance', 'gentility' and 'propriety' seem to define her well-ordered, judgemental world. In making the fine moral, psychological and social discriminations on which her plots depend, Jane Austen draws on the vocabulary of her age, which is both more abstract and more fixed than that of today. But as this study shows, she was capable of subtlety and even ambiguity in her deployment of such key concepts. Here, Maggie Lane, acclaimed author of many Jane Austen books, turns her attention to the fascinating nuances of Austen's language and the way it embodies her most profound beliefs about human conduct and character.