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Jane Austen News – Issue 57

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Third Jane Austen Fiver Found

The third of the four specially engraved £5 notes which feature a tiny portrait of Jane Austen has been found, leaving only one of the £5 notes still in circulation and yet to be claimed.

The latest note was found in a small bar called ‘Charlie’s Bar’ in Northern Ireland, which incidentally is where the engraver responsible for the notes, Graham Short, said he originally spent it.

It was found by an elderly lady who wishes to remain anonymous. She also isn’t looking to profit from her find. In fact she sent the £5 note back to Mr Short with a note asking him to use it to help young people – “if it sells for a lot of money it will be better if young children could benefit from it.”

Mr Short’s friend and fellow artist, Tony Huggins-Haig, who launched the project, said around 5,000 people have called up falsely claiming to have found it. We can see why it’s so highly sought after, even by those who aren’t Austen fans, as each of the notes is insured for at least £50,000, but Mr Huggins-Haig believes the notes could actually sell for up to £100,000.


Jane’s Men – Attractive in Anonymity     


John Sutherland, author of numerous books on Literature and Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, has proposed that one of the reasons Austen’s heroes resonate so well with her readers is because they are so anonymous in their appearance, and therefore, open to personal preference and interpretation. 

Recently John Sutherland and Amanda Vickery were commissioned by UKTV to come up with a convincing illustration of what Darcy might have looked like when Austen first created him. They found it a challenge as all we are told about Darcy is that he is 28, “handsome”, has a good “mien” and £10,000 a year. “What we came up with was more the Justin Bieber end of the hunk spectrum than Dolph Lundgren. Or Firth. ” said John.

He suggests that there are a couple of possible explanations for Austen’s lack of detail.

The first is that Austen wants us to fill in the blanks ourselves. The second is that Austen was what is called “aphantasiac” — she didn’t think pictorially, whether it was places, locations or people. Some creative people are like that. They think, principally, of design. Look for portraiture in Mondrian.

What do you think? Does Darcy’s unclear face help him? Or does Colin Firth’s portrayal of him do his popularity more favours?


Come and Stay in Jane’s Old Home!

Bath is by no means lacking when it comes to lovely places to stay. However, thanks to Airbnb, now you can stay in the house in which Jane Austen first lived in when she came to live in Bath in 1801 – that of 4 Sydney Place.

Admittedly the apartment in Sydney Place is decorated in a modern style, but it is beautifully presented and offering one gorgeous bedroom as well as two sofa beds, making it suitable for four people to stay in. There are nods to Austen inside – as you enter the flat there’s a Pride & Prejudice quote on the wall, and heading upstairs will bring you to the main accommodation and the master bedroom, which offers the best of Georgian architecture with hardwood flooring and a period fireplace. One reviewer describes the apartment as ‘historically enchanting’.

If you’re planning on staying alone or with one other person then the property will cost you £149 per night (there is a £30 extra charge for extra guests). Another thing to note is that the cost per night rises to £199 per night if you plan to stay at the weekend.

It would certainly be a nice thing to write on a postcard home though – “I’m staying in Jane’s house in Bath”.


An Update on the Jane Austen £10

We have a few questions that we are regularly asked in the centre when we mention the upcoming release of the new Jane Austen £10 note, so we thought we’d publish our answers on here as well – in case any of our Jane Austen News readers may also be wondering.

When will the new note go into circulation?

The production of the new £10 note began last August. So, although not yet released, there are hundreds of millions of the notes already printed, and, according to the Bank of England, the polymer currency will be released into circulation in September 2017.

What are the other features on it (other than Jane’s portrait)? 

  • The quote – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Pride and Prejudice (Miss Bingley, Chapter XI).
  • A portrait of Jane Austen commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew) in 1870, adapted from an original sketch of Jane Austen drawn by her sister, Cassandra Austen.
  • An illustration of Miss Elizabeth Bennet undertaking “The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her”– from a drawing by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988).
  • Jane Austen’s writing table – the central design in the background is inspired by the 12 sided writing table, and writing quills, used by Jane Austen at Chawton Cottage.

Will the note contain tallow?

Yes, as it is made using the same materials as the polymer £5 note, the notes will again contain small amounts. The Bank of England said it considered destroying, reprinting and delaying the issue of the new note in response to the backlash from vegetarians and vegans. However, it said that doing so would compromise anti-counterfeit measures and would prove expensive.


A New Zealand Jane Austen Symposium    

On Saturday 8th April, The Thistle Inn in Thornden, Wellington, will be hosting a major meeting for the Jane Austen Society of New Zealand for 2017, though everyone, whether a member of the society or not, is very welcome.

Tickets to A Jane Austen Symposium: The Good, The Bad and The Undressed, includes morning and afternoon tea and a regency lunch, as well as all of the following:

Speakers:
– David Norton (FRSNZ, Emeritus Professor of English, Victoria University of Wellington)
– Sarah Laing (award winning NZ writer, author of Mansfield and Me)
– Leimomi Oakes (fashion and textile historian and university lecturer, aka The Dreamstress)
– Anthony Tedeschi (Curator of Rare Books and Fine Printing, Alexander Turnbull Library)

Events/talks include:
– Regency card and parlour games
– Regency lunch (and regular morning/afternoon tea)
– A look at the first editions held by the National Library and some other relevant books from their collection
– A talk on regency fashion (including a dressed model)
– A talk on villains and villainy in Austen

A great event for New Zealand Jane Austen fans!


Seven Most Romantic Quotes   
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Bustle published an article listing their favourite romantic quotes from Jane Austen. At the Jane Austen News we thought it would be nice to share them. And they are:

  • “We are all fools in love.” – As said by Charlotte Lucas in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film.
  • “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.” – As said by Captain Wentworth in Persuasion.
  • “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” – As said by Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
  • “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” – Another one from Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
  • “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” – As said by My Knightley in Emma.
  • “A man does not recover from such a devotion of the heart to such a woman! He ought not; he does not.” – As said by Captain Wentworth in Persuasion.
  • “The happiest hours of my life were what I spent with her.” – As said by Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.

What do you think? Did they get the list right? Any they should have included in the top seven but didn’t?


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

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