Friday, July 26, 2013

Problem with the Janie

My email account is crammed with excitement since the announcement that Jane Austen is to appear on the British 10-pound note, already referred to as the Janie.  And a protest is already being organized about the quotation scheduled to appear below her portrait.  Yes, it’s a fine sentiment.  Yes, Our Author did write it.  BUT –
It’s the same problem I faced as I began to gather material for my little Austen gift book.
There’s no point in quoting Jane Austen unless the reader is alerted about who spoke those words -- a deceiver, a heroine, a rattlebrain, or perhaps the narrator herself – and even then, her tongue is often quietly in cheek. I ended up writing a short note for almost every quotation. With "It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life” 
I felt the need to explain that it came from
Charlotte, seriously unmarried at twenty-seven, who later accepted – and nicely managed -- the odious Mr. Collins.” And the banknote? The quotation reads:
"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" Yes, it comes from Pride and Prejudice. Where it is spoken by two-faced Caroline Bingley, who obviously cares nothing for reading and is simply angling for attention from aloof millionaire Fitzwilliam Darcy.
I could have warned the Bank of England.



  1. I know the feeling. I've got a doormat in my vestibule that bears the line "Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort." The mat was a gift from a friend; JA did indeed write the line; I do need a mat in my untidy vestibule; and I'm a homebody myself--but the line is spoken by the egregious Mrs. Elton in Emma, who would just as soon stay at home as learn differential calculus. Sigh.

  2. You are so right! How could they do that?