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Jane Austen News – Issue 77

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

  Anger at Austen £10 Note Quote  

We’re delighted that the new £10 note is going to pay homage to Jane Austen. However, the choice of quote which the Bank of England have selected to go alongside her (some say “airbrushed”) portrait is causing outrage to some.

“I declare after all that there is no enjoyment like reading!” — is the quote. Which is lovely. Except that the character who utters these words is Caroline Bingley, who doesn’t mean them at all and is saying them only to impress Mr Darcy. She is “as much engaged in watching Mr Darcy’s progress through his book, as in reading her own,” Austen wrote.

Twitter users have taken to the web criticise the Bank of England for their apparent lack of research/poor choice of quote:

“I find the #janeausten200 saga extremely telling. In their haste to get a woman on the banknote they chose a quote that’s utterly tone-deaf”  @Madz_Grant

 

“Dear news:that J Austen”quote”about joy of reading on the new tenner is uttered by 1 of her most obnoxious characters-Ironically it’s ironic” @SamiraAhmedUK

There are so many quotes from Jane to choose from! Did they make the right choice? Moneyish.com had a few alternative suggestions for what the quote could have been.

  1. “Everything is to be got with money.” Mansfield Park
  2. “What have wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?” Sense and Sensibility
  3. “People always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them.” Sense and Sensibility
  4. “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” Mansfield Park
  5. “Money can only give happiness when there is nothing else to give it.” Sense and Sensibility

Jane Austen “Greatest Living Author” 

Another Jane Austen topic which caused a flurry on Twitter this week was Andrea Leadsom’s announcement in parliament that Jane Austen is “one of our greatest living authors”.

The Conservative MP was making a speech on the subject of the new £10 note mentioned above. The speech was being made just days after the bicentenary of the author’s 1817 death.

Ms Leadsom’s gaffe made sure that her name was mentioned in over 17,000 tweets!  These were some of our favourites:

“We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors” – Waterstones

 

“Andrea Leadsom thinking that Jane Austen is still alive explains why Tory policies seem like they’re from the 1700s.” – Chris McPhail

 

“Enough is enough. Andrea Leadsom has admitted to her Jane Austen error, and has apologised to her PM William Pitt the younger.” – ‘Wolfie.’


The “Definitive” Ranking of Jane Austen

Michelle Garrett Bulsiewicz may also have ruffled a few feathers of Austen fans this week. Writing on deseretnews.com, she has honoured Austen’s bicentenary by compiling her  “official, completely objective ranking of the movies based on her books” (she stated, very much tongue-in-cheek).
Unusually, the BBC 1995 mini series of Pride and Prejudice was not in the top spot! Heresy some will say! Instead her list goes thus:
1. Sense and Sensibility, 1995
“I’m not at all worried about ranking this as the best of them all, because it just is.”
2.Persuasion, 1995
“A film that is peaceful, quiet and blissful to get wrapped up in.”
3. Pride & Prejudice, 2005
“I can hear the angry mobs now. I know to many it’s near blasphemy to rank this movie…higher than the BBC version, but I have to be honest: I like it better.”
Do you agree? Disagree? Michelle’s full list, with the reasons for her choices, can be read here.


Jane Austen Dating Advice for the Modern Woman  

She may not be the youngest (she’d be 242 this year), but Jane is still able to offer modern women great dating advice even all these years later argues Helen Nianias while writing for refinery29.uk.
So what can she teach us?
  • Matchmaking is a waste of time (thank you Emma Woodhouse for that one)
  • You should strive to be an independent woman (just like Austen’s heroines and Austen herself)
  • Try not to be too judgey of your mates (think Charlotte Lucas and her choice of husband…)
  • Looks are valuable currency if you want to bag a man (men “do fall in love with well-informed minds instead of handsome faces” – Emma talking about dim but pretty Harriet Smith)
  • If you can avoid getting in a car with a creepy man then for God’s sake, do (lest a Mr Elton type accosts you with an unwelcome proposal!)

Good advice! The full article can be read here.


 Emma Beats Mr Darcy to the Top Spot 

To commemorate the bicentenary of Jane’s death, The Times published their run-down of the top 50 Jane Austen characters. Amazingly Mr Darcy was not at number one (and neither was Elizabeth Bennet!).

In fact Mr Darcy only made it to number four! The characters who beat him were: Elinor Dashwood at number three and Elizabeth Bennet at number two, while Emma Woodhouse took the top spot as Austen’s best character.

She’s nosy, smug, and even jealous of other people’s achievements. And yet, there’s something winning about Emma’s personality and her sense of determination and idealism, and against all reason you find yourself rooting for her…It’s testament to Austen’s genius that Emma is so real, so annoying, and so damn likable despite it all.

Well! We have to say that Emma Woodhouse as Austen’s best character was certainly a controversial decision with us at the Jane Austen News. She’s a bit like Marmite… You either love her or you hate her.

(You can read the full top 50 list here.)


Professor Looser on Austen 

These week we came across a fantastic podcast from the University of Sydney featuring Professor Devoney Looser.
Professor Looser from Arizona State University has recently released her book The Making of Jane Austen, and she was in Sydney on 20th July to give a talk on how we have constructed our our versions of Jane Austen throughout the years, and how accurate these versions may or may not be. The talk celebrates Austen’s life and writings and makes sense of how her characters and stories have come to be imprinted on each new generation of readers.
It was a marvelous hour-long listen, and one which you can listen to for free!

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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