Friday, 21 July 2017

Miss Austen, Take Note!

So we have been given details of the new ten pound note featuring Jane Austen.
The £10 note has security features that the Bank says make it very difficult to counterfeit. It is expected to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than paper £10 notes – about five years in total.

The new tactile feature is a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner, developed in conjunction with the RNIB, the charity that supports people with sight loss. This is in addition to the elements already incorporated in UK banknotes for visually impaired people: the tiered sizing, bold numerals, raised print and differing colour palettes.
That is all very good - and the fact that a woman is featured is also brilliant. 
...lots of people are unhappy about the quotation printed on the note - I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading...In Pride and Prejudice, it was spoken by Miss Caroline Bingley as she flirted with Mr Darcy. She was a deceitful character with no interest in books. This brief clip explains...

I apologise that the voiceover is an American who clearly thinks he is the world expert on JA, and probably thinks she was an American too. This is a difficult one - quotations are often taken right out of context, because they make a good soundbite. This one is already on plaques and teatowels and notebook covers. 
Perhaps Mark Carney received one for Christmas and liked the quote without having read P&P himself [MC is Canadian after all, and probably had to read Anne of Green Gables, Margaret Attwood and Michael Ondaatje at school]
Another Austen Gaffe was by the Tory MP Andrea Leadsom, who declared JA to be one of our greatest living authors.
Can I state at this point that I think JA is okay, but I haven't really enjoyed her books as much as the rest of the world seems to. Sorry. That's just me - you will have to forgive me for my lack of literary taste here.
However, I am not in the same group as the guy on Pointless a couple of months back, who thought Jane Austen included Ford Prefect and Zaphod Beeblebrox as one of her characters in P&P.
Ah well, as JA said [in Mansfield Park, I think]
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery
I shall endeavour to keep writing a cheerful blog. Dear reader, if you are a committed Janeite, and have any new tenners and are desperately unhappy with the quote, feel free to pop them in the post to me, and I will ensure they are spent with all due sense and sensibility.


  1. I so look forward to your posts. I often find them inspirational and informative, and share them with my husband and teenage daughters. I was surprised by your gibe toward the American, and found it inconsistent with your usual tone. As an American, I was glad that this was not your first post that I had read. I would have made assumptions about the message of your blog. Looking forward to more of your wisdom.

    1. My apologies. I have some good friends in the USA and would not tar all Americans with the same brush. I have just found it a little frustrating this week that so many of the people complaining about our British currency this week, and clearly been affrinted by the poor choice of Austen quote, have been people who themselves are using US dollars. I just couldn't find a suitably succinct youtube clip by anyone British. And I have the greatest respect for Canadian Mark Carney. Forgive me if my throwaway comment caused offence. That was not intended, I assure you.

  2. Glad to know that JA is still living....!
    Maybe the thought is that any old quote is better than none?

  3. I like the quote regardless of the fact that Miss Bingley the bitchy one is the one that says it!


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