‘Janiacs’ are furious the bill quotes one of ‘Pride & Prejudice’s’ shallowest characters.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen fans can tell if you haven’t read the books.
And many Janiacs were furious on Tuesday, the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death, when the Bank of England revealed a new £10 note honoring the author – and stamped it with an out-of-context quote from one of readers’ least favorite characters.
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” reads the line – which sounds good enough on paper. But the quote was actually said by “Pride & Prejudice’s” Caroline Bingley, who’s only pretending to love books to win over Mr. Darcy.
So the first female author to appear on a British bank note is captioned with a quote from a character that doesn’t read.
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
— Samira Ahmed (@SamiraAhmedUK) July 18, 2017
Whoever made the decision for the Jane Austen quote on the new £10 note has clearly never read Pride & Prejudice.
— Alice Banks (@AliceBanks_) July 18, 2017
— Fatima Manji (@fatimamanji) July 18, 2017
Even more ironic, the Austen bank note was suppose to address controversy, not stoke it, since the Bank of England was criticized for honoring only one woman (19th-century prison reformer Elizabeth Fry) on its currency. And after the Bank replaced her with Winston Churchill in 2013, it tried stemming the backlash by announcing it would replace naturalist Charles Darwin with Austen on the new plastic £10 note.
But Claire Bellanti, president of the Jane Austen Society of North America, told Moneyish that while she understands why many Janeites are offended, she has no personal objection to the line.
“While the quotation about reading comes from one of Jane Austen’s most obnoxious characters, and the words were dripping with sarcasm, to me it is true that there is no enjoyment like reading,” she said. “Most people handling the £10 note do not know that Miss Bingley said those words insincerely.”
But if it’s not too late to change the note before it goes into circulation on Sept. 14, Bellanti helped Moneyish pick some witty Austen lines with a financial bent more worthy of being on the bill.
- “Everything is to be got with money.” (Mansfield Park)
- “What have wealth or grandeur to do with happiness?” (Sense and Sensibility)
- “People always live for ever when there is any annuity to be paid them.” (Sense and Sensibility)
- “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” (Mansfield Park)
- “Money can only give happiness when there is nothing else to give it.” (Sense and Sensibility)
- “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (Pride and Prejudice)
- “Business, you know, may bring you money, but friendship hardly ever does.” (Emma)
- “Know your happiness.” (Sense and Sensibility)
- “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” (Northanger Abbey)
- “Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.” (Mansfield Park)
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