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The Jane Austen 10-Pound Note: Did the Bank of England Bungle the Quote?

Jane Austen 10-pound banknote, with a pen portrait of Jane Austen on the front

The Guardian says yes, they did:

The trouble is that these words are spoken by one of Austen’s most deceitful characters, a woman who has no interest in books at all: Caroline Bingley. She is sidling up to Mr. Darcy, whom she would like to hook as a husband, and pretending that she shares his interests. He is reading a book, so she sits next to him and pretends to read one too.

…He will not be distracted, so “exhausted by the attempt to be amused with her own book, which she had only chosen because it was the second volume of his,” she gives a great yawn and says the words that will appear on the bank note.

Shades of Shakespeare and dear old Polonius, whose “To thine own self be true” is usually cited as sage wisdom, not the prattling of a professional blowhard. (However, let’s admit that his “Neither a borrower nor lender be” would be a first-rate quote for a piece of currency.)

It’s not clear why they’re putting cheery quotes on the tenner in any case. This is cold hard cash, not a poster for the grade-school library. Don’t the British know that we count on them to keep things sane and sensible?

Why That Jane Austen Quote on the New £10 Note is a Major Blunder »

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