200 years ago: Jane Austen – RIP: a date of “note”

austen_10200 hundred years ago today, one of the great writers of the 19th c. died.  Jane Austen.

I read today that the UK unveiled a new £10 note, printed on polymer, at Winchester Cathedral where the novelist is buried. A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Cathedral and seeing her memorial stone in the floor of the aisle of the nave. There is also going to be a £2 coin in her honor. Sorry… honour. The bill will be issued on 14 September, which is also the 10th anniversary of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. The bill will boast a quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Caroline Bingley says to Mr Darcy: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” The dreadful Caroline was, of course, not in the least interested in reading. Also, I read that bill will contain traces of tallow, an animal fat. If there are any Brits who don’t want to handle the bills because of this, please save them up and give them to me. I’d like to visit England this fall.

Also slated for release in 2020 is a new £20 featuring the painter J.M.W. Turner. You might recall that his The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838, in the National Gallery, was judged by some to be the greatest English painting. It is hard to argue against that.

Winston Churchill is on a new version of the £5 note. He is arguably the most important person of the 20th century. Yes, there are other great candidates, but Churchill has to be close to or at the top of that short list.

Have you never read Jane Austen?


From 2008… already!



I thought I might watch a Jane Austen based movie tonight in honor.. honour of the author.  I’m having a hard time finding one.  Sense and Sensibility is a good one.  I suppose Hunger Games is about the same, right?  A woman author tells the tale of the difficult relationships of a young woman and other young people, all playing games according to social expectations….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Just Too Cool and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mary Jane says:

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

    Best opening line ev-er!

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    Sense and Sensibility! Jane Austen is on my top five list of favorite authors. I have to say I thought the film was also excellent, a rare situation when the book and the film are both wonderful in their own right.

  3. Christine says:

    We are a Jane Austen family. I love her books and my six daughters also love them. A few years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to go Bath and visit the Jane Austen museum.

  4. As far as Austen movies go… Sense and Sensibility would work.
    However, every film falls short of her greatness. Screenwriters feel they must tinker away and then well, you have the dreadful results.
    I strongly suggest BBC/Masterpiece productions of Austen as far superior than anything done here .

    Some favourite lines:

    “It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation.”

    Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

    Both from Mansfield Park; her most character rich and some believe her best work.

    And my absolute favourite:

    “Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.”

    From Emma – my favourite Austen male character, Mr George Knightley to the heroine Emma Woodhouse. . .



  6. gracie says:

    I think it depends on the mood one is in, in choosing a Jane Austen film to watch. I’d recommend “Persuasion” if you haven’t seen it yet – the Ciaran Hinds’ version.

  7. Back pew sitter says:

    Yes, Churchill was a significant person in the 20th Century, but hardly at the top of the list of the most important. For significance, impact, greatness in human and spiritual qualities,and ongoing contribution to the world/Church Churchill, the person at the top of the list would surely be Pope John Paul II.

  8. JonPatrick says:

    Glad to see they are honoring JMW Turner. I fell in love with his paintings when I went back to England in the 70’s and have prints I bought at the National Gallery of “Fighting Temeraire” and “Peace – Burial at Sea”

  9. Unwilling says:

    The most profound both written and video (solidly faithful version from BBC 1986) is Mansfield Park. Each reader must determine whether Fanny is a self-righteous prig or a quietly faithful Christian.

    Rolling Stone says that in the recent (Miramax 1999) version “the hot young stars bring erotic heat”. May I say no more?

  10. Legisperitus says:

    This July 18 was also another important anniversary: 140 years since Edison invented the phonograph. Something to be celebrated by anyone who enjoys podcasts, recorded music, movies with sound, etc.

  11. WVC says:

    Why not put Jane Austen on the 20 pound note? That, or even better, Jack Aubrey!?

    I’ve long believed that things would be better here in the USA if we replaced the Presidents on our currency with celebrities (it would be more culturally accurate, too). Think about how much fun it would be to open up a wallet and have a $5 Jack Benny, a $10 Cary Grant, a $20 Groucho Marx, and a $50 Audrey Hepburn smiling back at you? We tend to take money too seriously – perhaps this would lighten the mood a bit.


    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  12. CrimsonCatholic says:

    The 1995 version of Persuasion and the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility are good.

  13. Poor Yorek says:

    Typically, a quotation is added to the cover sheet of any examination I write. On the first one, universally, is found:

    Oh! Do not attack me with your watch. A watch is always too fast or too slow. I cannot be dictated to by a watch.

    The Jane Austen Mysteries by Stephanie Barron are a good read when taking a break from the Aubreiad.

    [For Aubreiad!]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    Hmm, I wonder . . . What might be the deep underlying significance of the fact that the official publication date of the (free) Kindle edition of Jane Austen: The Complete Novels was the 10th anniversary July 7, 2017 of Summorum Pontificum?

  15. Lisieux says:

    As one of your previous commentator suggests, the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is superb – no other Austen TV or movie production approaches it for faithfulness to Austen, actors who are just right for their parts, and (most of all) enough time to present the plot accurately: it appeared in 6 hour-long episodes. You can watch it all on YouTube: search for ‘Pride and Prejudice 1995’.

  16. gracie says:

    Maybe you’d consider a blog on tombstone inscriptions, Father. The older ones are so beautiful, as the one of Jane Austen shows. It falls to certain people at certain times within families to buy a new plot with a new headstone and to choose an inscription to be carved on it. It’s fallen to my lot to be the one to do it as I moved from where I grew up many years ago and my parents had moved from where they grew up. You get the idea – it’s hard to locate old cemetery plots, and even when you do some distant cousin probably has legal claim to it and doesn’t know it because they moved away years ago themselves.

    Anyway, I’ve been wandering through Catholic cemeteries for ideas for the inscription. The new ones I’ve seen are pretty dreadful and many of the really old ones are a little too sentimental for our era. I’m thinking of going with, “Into your hands I commit my spirit”, although it seems a bit presumptuous to quote Jesus. Just wondering if anyone out there has dealt with this situation and what they came up with.

  17. Simon_GNR says:

    Lisieux is right about the 1990’s BBC dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice – it’s very, very good indeed and Jennifer Ehle (who I’ve only just discovered is American) is absolutely lovely as Lizzie. There are many other good actors & actresses in the series as well – including Alison Steadman as Mrs. Bennet and David Bamber as Mr. Collins. As for its faithfulness to the book, I wouldn’t know – I’ve never read a Jane Austen novel. As a young man I got about three pages into P & P before deciding it was a “girls’ book” and I’ve never tried an Austen novel since!

    It was only about 45 years ago that the Bank of England started putting famous Britons on their banknotes – over the years we’ve had, amongst others, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, George Stephenson, Charles Dickens, Adam Smith and Elizabeth Fry. In the U.K. there are also three Scottish banks and four in Northern Ireland that issue banknotes, so visitors to this country might come across quite a variety of notes, depending on where they go.

  18. Gail F says:

    As far as film adaptations go, the BBC/A&E Pride and Prejudice (with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) is fantastic. The best Austin thing ever filmed — so much closer to the book and the author’s style than any other, it’s in its own league. My second favorite would be Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds. And third would be Emma with Gwynneth Paltrow, who I think got Emma exactly right.

    Sometimes I think I am the only person who remembers this, but the original promos for the movie “Mafia” — a comedy by the guys who made “Airplane” called it “Jane Austen’s — MAFIA,” which I thought was hysterical. It was in the days of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” etc., and we always used to joke that if it had the author’s name in it, you knew it had NOTHING to do with the book. I guess not enough people got the joke, so they didn’t keep it.

  19. WVC says:

    Personally – I’ve avoided all film versions of Pride & Prejudice. The mental images I’ve developed of the characters are treasures I’d rather not lose, not even to Colin Firth. Now, Brideshead Revisited, on the other hand, I found the mini-series actually improved my understanding of both the characters and the drama involved.

Comments are closed.