Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Brains: 10. Looks: 2

Re Britain's new Jane Austen ten pound note, a like-minded Middlemarch fan writes:
Among literary figures, the Bank of England did not chose to honor Charlotte Brontë, whose unparalleled heroine, Jane Eyre, declares herself “a free human being with an independent will.” Nor did they choose George Eliot, the author of the single greatest English novel, “Middlemarch,” whose adoption of a masculine pseudonym may, for her contemporaries, have gone some way toward mitigating the unsettling fact of her towering intellectual superiority over most, if not all, of her male peers.
The biggest problem as I see it not that, comparatively speaking, Austen was more of a lightweight that George. It's that while Eliot was the superior writer and thinker, she was also what my late Bubby would have termed a "meeskite" (Yiddish for "to be charitable, more than a little lacking in the looks department"), and was therefore not "pretty" enough to be put on money.

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