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Jane Austen – the new face of the ten pound note?

It looks as though whoever decides such things has seen sense (not to mention sensibility) for it is being reported that Jane Austen is likely to replace Darwin on the ten pound note.  Austen seemed to me to stand head and shoulders above the other female candidates.  Many fields have been difficult for women to break into until comparatively recently for a range of reasons, but novel writing, which requires little specialized training (though much else), and is compatible with domesticity, has allowed women to excel.

There is another reason for thinking her an appropriate choice. Jane Austen’s interest in money, or at least in its effects on people, is very clear. Here is a link to the wonderful second chapter of Sense and Sensibility, in which selfish John Dashwood’s initially generous plans to support his mother and sisters are gradually whittled away.

And in Pride and Prejudice Mr Bennet is quite cheered, after the abduction of his high-maintenance fifteen year old daughter Lydia by Mr Wickham, to discover that a respectable marriage can, after all, be arranged at very little cost to himself.

He had never before supposed that, could Wickham be prevailed on to marry his daughter, it would be done with so little inconvenience to himself as by the present arrangement. He would scarcely be ten pounds a year the loser by the hundred that was to be paid them; for, what with her board and pocket allowance, and the continual presents in money which passed to her through her mother’s hands, Lydia’s expenses had been very little within that sum.

Let’s hope that the clearly noteworthy Jane Austen does indeed prevail.

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