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Friday, June 28, 2013

Jane Austen on the British ten-pound note?

From the Christian Science Monitor

According to Sir Mervyn King, who is retiring as governor of the Bank of England, the famous author is merely “waiting in the wings” to appear on the country’s currency and could be the new face to grace the 10 pound note.

However, King’s replacement Mark Carney will have the final word on the decision. Carney takes up the post July 1.

“It is not the question of whether she is a woman or not, but she seems to me the greatest English writer apart from Shakespeare,” John Mullan, an English professor at University College London, told the Guardian.

However, Daily Mirror writer Susie Boniface was not impressed by the idea.

“If ever there were a reason to abandon money altogether it is [this],” she wrote. “There’s nothing wrong with Austen – she wrote perfectly good books, was a woman trapped by her class and found a voice that still resonates. Good on her, but she didn’t change the world.” Boniface suggested scientist Rosalind Franklin, writer Mary Wollstonecraft, or mathematician Ada Lovelace as possible substitutes.

Not change the world?  Good lord, has Ms. Boniface not read any romance at all? Jane Austen inspired the genre that has ruled the bestseller lists for several generations. 

But Victoria McNally, a writer for the website Geekosystem, was so won over by the Austen money idea that she asked when “the U.S. [is] gonna step up its game?”

“Between this and Canada’s dinosaur coins, why is everybody else’s money so much cooler than ours?” she asked. “Come on, USA, get with the times!”

And it would be lovely if American notes were different colors for different denominations, too.


linda collison said...

Here in the U.S. Jane Austen remains very popular. More and more I'm hearing about Jane Austen festivals where everyone dresses up in period clothing and pretends to be gentry.

Having just read Roy and Lesley Adkins brand new book "Eavesdropping on Jane Austen" (to be released in the U.S. as Jane Austen's World) I thought it was a brilliant marketing plan on their part, to tie a social history book to the ever popular author.

Frankly, I'd like to see more authors and fewer politicians on our cash.

Joan Druett said...

When Jane Austen died, 10 pounds could purchase the equivalent of 571 pounds in goods and services and 7020 pounds relative to average earnings.


Shayne Parkinson said...

That figure from Brian Easton rather puts Mr Darcy's "Ten thousand a year" in perspective, doesn't it?