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Jane Austen News – Issue 77

The Jane Austen News is...she's alive?!

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? 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, 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.

Continue reading Jane Austen News – Issue 77