The Bank of England unveiled its new £10 note on Tuesday, which features an image of Jane Austen.


The new note has been in the works for a long time, with the public and government wanting to have a famous British woman on a bank note. People are taking issue, however, with the quote chosen to accompany the image.

“I declare after all that there is no enjoyment like reading!” one design reads. While the sentiment is well-intentioned, the original context of the quote is not to so grand. Caroline Bingley, a character from Pride and Prejudice, is the one who utters the words and they are disingenuous. Bingley is only trying to impress the beloved Mr. Darcy, so she is only pretending to enjoy reading. In the novel, she is “as much engaged in watching Mr. Darcy’s progress through his book, as in reading he own.”

The choice drew a lot of criticism online. “I find the #janeausten200 saga extremely telling. In their haste to get a woman on the banknote, they chose a quote that’s utterly tone-deaf,” one Twitter user wrote. “Dear news: that J Austen “quote” about joy of reading on the new tenner is uttered by 1 of her most obnoxious characters – Ironically it’s ironic,” said another.


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Today, July 18, also marks the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death. Bank of England governor Mark Carney explained why Austen was chosen in a speech. “Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country’s collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom’s glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens,” he said. “Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.”

“The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner,” Carney continued. “The note will also include a new tactile feature on the £10 to help the visually impaired, ensuring the nation’s money is as inclusive as possible.” The new ten notes will not be issued until Sept. 14.

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