What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
We loved watching this report from Helen Coffey of The Independent newspaper.
Helen made the journey from London to Bath especially to take part in the first full day of the Jane Austen Festival on Saturday 9th. Though as you’ll see if you watch her video, her journey was nothing compared to the distances which some Jane fans had traveled!
One of the biggest Jane Austen stories this week has to be that, finally, the new Jane Austen £10 note has been released into general circulation. On September 14th a lucky few found themselves being given the new notes by banks, ATMs and as change. So, what have been the ‘noteworthy’ news stories surrounding the notes:
1. If you’re going to Scotland on holiday and hope to come away with a Jane Austen £10 note as a souvenir you might need to think again. While there may be some notes that make their way that far north, Scottish banks won’t be issuing them. That’s because Scotland differs from England and Wales in that it has three commercial banks that issue their own banknotes – rather than relying on the Bank of England.
2. BBC One Breakfast News presenter Charlie Stayt nearly got himself into trouble when he managed to fold and crease one of the notes that he and fellow newsreader Naga Munchetty had been granted special access to on the day of the official release. She was not impressed: “[They’re] also supposed to be crease-free – unless your name is Charlie Stayt.” (He had supposedly scrunched up one of the new notes during the BBC Breakfast show’s early morning run.)
3. As is the case with the £5 notes, some of the new £10 notes could be worth thousands thanks to their serial numbers. The £5 notes with low serial numbers beginning ‘AA’ were highly sought after. This is still the case with the £10 notes, but in addition to these some of the most valuable serial numbers include; 16 121775 – her birth date, 18 071817 – her death date, and 17 751817 – her birth and death year combined.
4. If you’re itching to get your hands on one of the new Jane Austen £10 notes then good Jane Austen news! We’ll soon have specially framed notes for sale via the Online Giftshop. So even if you aren’t coming to the UK in the near future, you’ll still be able to have an Austen note of your very own.
The Internet has been all aflutter this week as images of Colin Firth in his first ever film have resurfaced and spread like wildfire.
Ten years before Colin Firth became Mr Darcy he appeared in the film Another Country in 1984. In this historical drama centered around a 1930s British public school and loosely based on the life of the spy Guy Burgess, he played the role of Tommy Judd, Marxist friend of an ambitious, gay public schoolboy Guy Bennett (played by another famous British actor, Rupert Everett). Firth was then but 24 and just out of drama school.
Evidence (as if we doubted it) that Colin Firth has always been a heart-throb.
If you’d rather be reveling in the world of Austen than going trick-or-treating this Hallowe’en, then you might be interested in the free lecture taking place at the Museum of London on 31st October, 6-7pm (GMT). It will be a free lecture, one of the Gresham lectures, given by guest lecturer Professor Janet Todd. (Gresham College has been providing free lectures since 1597: founder Sir Thomas Gresham built the Royal Exchange and became pretty wealthy, then leaving his money to fund further education in London).
The theme is Jane Austen and patriotism.
Professor Todd will be discussing patriotism in Austen’s time and her particular attitude to it. her sense of what Englishness is, materially and politically, and how it manifests itself in daily life, what aspects should be a source of both pride and prejudice, her possibly ironic treatment of the characters embodying her apparent attitudes, and how her views change over her lifetime as war gives way to peace.
Like all the Gresham lectures it will be open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, but good news for those who can’t make it to London for the lecture is that it will also be live-streaming and available afterwards online. If you’d like to know more and be part of the event their website link is here.
And finally for the Jane Austen News this week, we bring you a lovely performance by actress Rebecca Hare (who has just finished playing the role of Lizzy Bennet on a national stage tour of Pride and Prejudice), reading Jane Austen’s poem, When Winchester Races. We hope you enjoy it. A transcript and some background on the poem, which was the last poem Jane wrote before her death, is available here.
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