Fans won’t believe which Pride and Prejudice quote is printed on the bill.
Yesterday, the Bank of England brought a new £10 note into circulation that features a beloved English novelist: Jane Austen. Besides the Queen, Austen is the only other woman to appear on an English bank note, since prison reformer Elizabeth Fry was replaced by Winston Churchill on the £5 note this spring. The chosen image of Austen was a portrait of the author commissioned after her death at age 41, the Telegraph reports. The new note also features illustrations of her character Elizabeth Bennett’s writing desk and Austen’s brother’s estate in Kent, which is thought to have been a source of inspiration for the writer.
While Austen fans everywhere are excited about the new tenner, it’s stirred up controversy for several reasons. Printed on the new note is a quote pulled from Pride and Prejudice: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading.” Avid Austen readers may recall that this quote comes from Miss Caroline Bingley, Elizabeth Bennett’s rival for Mr. Darcy’s heart, who only claimed to enjoy reading to pique his interest. The inclusion of the quote can be read as ironic, while others believe the quote was misconstrued.
The new note is made from polymer, which is more durable and cleaner than a traditional paper bill. However, many vegans, animal activists, and some religious groups aren’t happy that the plastic notes contain traces of animal fat, according to the BBC.
Austen replaces Charles Darwin on the old paper £10 note, which will cease to be legal tender in spring 2018. The next polymer bill will be a £20 note featuring the painter J.M.W. Turner, planned for 2020.