Austen gets her due — and Darwin gets done in

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Yes, it’s true. The fortunes of The Pride and Prejudice author will finally turn, so to speak. Jane is to become the next face of the 5 Pound note, probably in 2017. She’ll be replacing Charles Darwin. Romance takes down Science!

As many of you avid readers (and all of you avid writers) know, Jane Austen’s fame did not translate into incredible wealth. That this cheeky miss will now finally have her portrait on all her fellow countrymen’s (and women’s) cash seems a just recompense.

The Bank of England feels Jane fills a void — left by the removal of the only other woman, besides the Queen, on a note. However, with 5 different denominational notes circulating, this means women will continue to occupy only 20% of all notes. Definitely they need one more woman. And how about an historically important member of the non-white immigrant (Ignacio Sancho, Nathaniel Wells) or the GLBT community for a note (Alan Turing, Oscar Wilde)?

While England has much to be proud of, there still seems to be a wee bit of prejudice floating about.

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In A Fortnight, Pride and Prejudice Turns 200

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Fair warning to all Jane Austen fans! Monday, the 28th of January marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. Be sure to reread your P&P before that date lest you be caught unawares at the dinner table and are made to look foolish in front of a suitable suitor!

The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet, and her four sisters, as they try to survive and thrive in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a bookish country gentleman and his rather silly wife. They live near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.

The book is mainly comedic — the difficulty of getting 5 unmarried daughters wed — but does contain quite a bit of drama as well. There are rakes and rascals, beauties and balls, misunderstandings galore, and of course, great estates. Think Downton Abbey — but with less servants and more likable daughters and way happier endings.

P&P is available for free in many formats these days, including TV miniseries, movies, and games. But we prefer the traditional “book in your hand format” that Jane Austen wrote. You however, can choose your own format (including audio) at ManyBooks and download it for free.

Not sure what character you’re most like in P&P? Check out the P&P Character quiz.