Emma (Collector's Library)

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Overview

Emma Woodhouse is a wealthy, exquisite, and thoroughly self-deluded young woman who has "lived in the world with very little to distress or vex her."

Jane Austen exercises her taste for cutting social observation and her talent for investing seemingly trivial events with profound moral significance as Emma traverses a gentle satire of provincial balls and drawing rooms, along the way encountering the sweet Harriet Smith, the chatty and ...
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Emma (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Emma Woodhouse is a wealthy, exquisite, and thoroughly self-deluded young woman who has "lived in the world with very little to distress or vex her."

Jane Austen exercises her taste for cutting social observation and her talent for investing seemingly trivial events with profound moral significance as Emma traverses a gentle satire of provincial balls and drawing rooms, along the way encountering the sweet Harriet Smith, the chatty and tedious Miss Bates, and Emma’s absurd father Mr. Woodhouse—a memorable gallery of Austen’s finest personages. Thinking herself impervious to romance of any kind, Emma tries to arrange a wealthy marriage for poor Harriet, but refuses to recognize her own feelings for the gallant Mr. Knightley. What ensues is a delightful series of scheming escapades in which every social machination and bit of "tittle-tattle" is steeped in Austen’s delicious irony. Ultimately, Emma discovers that "Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common."

Virginia Woolf called Jane Austen "the most perfect artist among women," and Emma Woodhouse is arguably her most perfect creation. Though Austen found her heroine to be a person whom "no one but myself will much like," Emma is her most cleverly woven, riotously comedic, and pleasing novel of manners.
 

Introduction by Steven Marcus
The author of more than two hundred publications and a specialist in nineteenth-century literature and culture, Steven Marcus is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. A fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Literary Studies, he has received Fulbright, American Council of Learned Societies, Guggenheim, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Rockefeller, and Mellon grants.

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775, the seventh of eight children, in the Parsonage House of Steventon, Hampshire. An avid reader from earliest childhood, she began writing at age twelve. Her first two extended narratives, "Elinor and Marianne" and "First Impressions," were later reworked into Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, respectively. All of Austen’s novels were published anonymously, including Mansfield Park, Emma, and the posthumous Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Jane Austen died on July 18, 1817, and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.


"Jane Austen among all our novelists is unsurpassed in pursuing arguments to logically consequent ends. It is part of her genius that such pressure often leads to comically absurd conclusions."—from the Introduction by Steven Marcus
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Classics offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
From Barnes & Noble
Charming, willful Emma Woodehouse amuses herself by planning other people's lives. When her interfering backfires, she learns a bitter lesson: well-intentioned busybodies are as resented as those motivated by ill will, and everyone should learn to respect the individuality of others.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760748626
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/21/2003
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Collector's Library
  • Edition description: Pocket-Sized Unabridged Edition
  • Pages: 590
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 5.94 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Austen
Jane Austen's delightful, carefully wrought novels of manners remain surprisingly relevant, nearly 200 years after they were first published. Her novels -- Pride and Prejudice and Emma among them -- are those rare books that offer us a glimpse at the mores of a specific period while addressing the complexities of love, honor, and responsibility that still intrigue us today.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

Volume One

Chapter One



Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father; and had, in consequence of her sister's marriage, been mistress of his house from a very early period. Her mother had died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses; and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection.

Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse's family, less as a governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularly of Emma. Between them it was more the intimacy of sisters. Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, the mildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint; and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but directed chiefly by her own.

The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.

Sorrow came—a gentlesorrow—but not at all in the shape of any disagreeable consciousness.—Miss Taylor married. It was Miss Taylor's loss which first brought grief. It was on the wedding-day of this beloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of any continuance. The wedding over, and the bride-people gone, her father and herself were left to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheer a long evening. Her father composed himself to sleep after dinner, as usual, and she had then only to sit and think of what she had lost.

The event had every promise of happiness for her friend. Mr. Weston was a man of unexceptionable character, easy fortune, suitable age, and pleasant manners; and there was some satisfaction in considering with what self-denying, generous friendship she had always wished and promoted the match; but it was a black morning's work for her. The want of Miss Taylor would be felt every hour of every day. She recalled her past kindness—the kindness, the affection of sixteen years—how she had taught and how she had played with her from five years old—how she had devoted all her powers to attach and amuse her in health—and how nursed her through the various illnesses of childhood. A large debt of gratitude was owing here; but the intercourse of the last seven years, the equal footing and perfect unreserve which had soon followed Isabella's marriage, on their being left to each other, was yet a dearer, tenderer recollection. She had been a friend and companion such as few possessed: intelligent, well-informed, useful, gentle, knowing all the ways of the family, interested in all its concerns, and peculiarly interested in herself, in every pleasure, every scheme of hers—one to whom she could speak every thought as it arose, and who had such an affection for her as could never find fault.

How was she to bear the change?—It was true that her friend was going only half a mile from them; but Emma was aware that great must be the difference between a Mrs. Weston, only half a mile from them, and a Miss Taylor in the house; and with all her advantages, natural and domestic, she was now in great danger of suffering from intellectual solitude. She dearly loved her father, but he was no companion for her. He could not meet her in conversation, rational or playful.

The evil of the actual disparity in their ages (and Mr. Woodhouse had not married early) was much increased by his constitution and habits; for having been a valetudinarian all hi's life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older man in ways than in years; and though everywhere beloved for the friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper, his talents could not have recommended him at any time.

Her sister, though comparatively but little removed by matrimony, being settled in London, only sixteen miles off, was much beyond her daily reach; and many a long October and November evening must be struggled through at Hartfield, before Christmas brought the next visit from Isabella and her husband, and their little children, to fill the house, and give her pleasant society again.

Highbury, the large and populous village, almost amounting to a town, to which Hartfield, in spite of its separate lawn, and shrubberies, and name, did really belong, afforded her no equals. The Woodhouses were first in consequence there. All looked up to them. She had many acquaintance in the place, for her father was universally civil, but not one among them who could be accepted in lieu of Miss Taylor for even half a day. It was a melancholy change; and Emma could not but sigh over it, and wish for impossible things, till her father awoke, and made it necessary to be cheerful. His spirits required support. He was a nervous man, easily depressed; fond of every body that he was used to, and hating to part with them; hating change of every kind. Matrimony, as the origin of change, was always disagreeable; and he was by no means yet reconciled to his own daughter's marrying, nor could ever speak of her but with compassion. . .

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Table of Contents

About the Series v
About This Volume vii
About the Text xi
Part 1 Emma: The Complete Text in Cultural Context
Introduction: Biographical and Historical Contexts 3
The Complete Text 21
Contextual Documents and Illustrations 382
A Riddle 385
Robin Adair 386
from Unfortunate Situation of Females, Fashionably Educated, and Left without a Fortune. (1787) 387
from Letter to His Son (1750) 389
from Essays on the Picturesque (1810) 390
from Our Domestic Policy. No I. (1829) 391
Opinions of Emma (Ca. 1816) 392
Crossed Letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra (June 20, 1808) 398
The Frolics of the Sphynx (1820) 399
Square Pianoforte (1805) 400
A Barouche Landau (1805) 401
A View of Box Hill, Surrey (1733) 401
The Lincolnshire Ox (1790) 402
Part 2 Emma: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism
A Critical History of Emma 405
Gender Criticism and Emma 425
What Is Gender Criticism? 425
Gender Criticism: A Selected Bibliography 437
A Gender Studies Perspective: Claudia L. Johnson, "Not at all what a man should be!": Remaking English Manhood in Emma 441
Marxist Criticism and Emma 456
What Is Marxist Criticism? 456
Marxist Criticism: A Selected Bibliography 470
A Marxist Perspective: Beth Fowkes Tobin, Aiding Impoverished Gentlewomen: Power and Class in Emma 473
Cultural Criticism and Emma 488
What Is Cultural Criticism? 488
Cultural Criticism: A Selected Bibliography 503
A Cultural Perspective: Paul Delany, "A Sort of Notch in the Donwell Estate": Intersections of Status and Class in Emma 508
The New Historicism and Emma 524
What Is the New Historicism? 524
The New Historicism: A Selected Bibliography 538
A New Historicist Perspective: Casey Finch and Peter Bowen, "The Tittle-Tattle of Highbury": Gossip and the Free Indirect Style in Emma 543
Feminist Criticism and Emma 559
What Is Feminist Criticism? 559
Feminist Criticism: A Selected Bibliography 569
A Feminist Perspective: Devoney Looser, "The Duty of Woman by Woman": Reforming Feminism in Emma 577
Combining Perspectives on Emma 594
Combining Perspectives: Marilyn Butler, Introduction to Emma 597
Glossary of Critical and Theoretical Terms 615
About the Contributors 635
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Reading Group Guide

1. Describe the class and rank of various characters in the village of Highbury. Compare the positions of Mr. Weston, Mr. Elton, Miss Taylor, Harriet, and Emma with others in Highbury. How do matters of class affect the interaction of these characters, and would you describe class as being rigid or flexible as it is depicted by Jane Austen? To what extent can class be said to be of central importance to the development of the novel, since it is one of the most important considerations in marriage? Does class seem to be treated differently by those in Highbury than it does by outsiders, for example Frank Churchill and Mrs. Elton? Do you think it is significant that no woman in Highbury is of Emma's age and rank?

2. How does the relationship between Mr. Knightley and Emma change throughout the course of the novel? Although Austen does not directly tell us what their relationship was like during Emma's childhood, their long and intimate friendship is established at the novel's opening. In light of their occasional quarrels and Knightley's criticisms of Emma, for example, the criticism he made on Box Hill, how does Mr. Knightley feel about Emma? Do Mr. Knightley's feelings change as the novel progresses? If they do, what incidents account for the changes in his feelings?

3. Does Emma act as a good friend to Harriet Smith? Are Emma's concerns for Harriet's education and refinement born of an honest desire to help, or is it something less altruistic? Are Mr. Knightley's criticisms of Emma's interference with Mr. Martin's marriage proposal justified? Does Harriet ultimately benefit from Emma's friendship or her attempts to help her?

4. While matchmaking isthe central device in Emma, both for the plot and as a backdrop to develop characters, not all of the matches made in the novel are good. Compare the matches made between Mr. Weston and Miss Taylor, Emma and Mr. Knightley, Harriet and Mr. Martin, Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, and Mr. Elton and Mrs. Elton. Which are good matches and which are bad? What character traits in the couples make them suited or unsuited for each other? Why are the mismatches so important to the story?

5. In the final analysis, is Emma a sympathetic character? Does she seem to have good intentions only marred by a slight desire to interfere with other people's lives, or is she thoughtless and unconcerned with the effects she has on others? In your estimation, is Emma ultimately moral or immoral? What specific incidents in the novel lead you to that conclusion?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 754 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 756 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

    Not a good copy

    While I enjoyed the book the copy was not good. There were words missing and signs in their place. It was not a good copy.

    26 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Do not get this edition!!!

    I'm deleting from my nook and re-purchasing the B&N Classics edition. This one has tons and tons of mistakes. Boooo!!!

    21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    HORIBLE LOTS OF TYPE MISTAKES

    I could not finish reading the book so many mistakes!!!! GET ANOTHER VERSION!!!!! For instance, instead of s in house there was A making houae instead of house!!! GET ANOTHER VERSION

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Bad quality pdf

    Do not download!

    12 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Terrible format

    Really hard to read random symbols and spaces fill this book, it really disappointed me :(

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Typos galore

    So many misprints! Whats the point of a free book if you cant read it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    review

    This is actually the whole book but it has many misprints

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    review

    Only first volume with many misprints

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Emma

    Slow at first but in the middle it gets good. Emma is such a funny character. And mr knightley is charming.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    Decent

    The text of this free book is decent-definitely better than a lot of other free nook books! A few missing words and random symbols for letters, but I could usually make it out. I'd read it before though. The book itself is excellent. The copy is alright

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Emma

    Loved it! :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Romance

    This book has a ton of romance but this edition is not good just on one page there are a ton of mistakes for instance it says sxteen instead of sixteen and another word I can't even tell what it is but I love Jane Austen

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    Highly Recommend - Beautifully done!

    Another masterpiece by Harvard University Press!! If you love Jane Austen's works, you're going to LOVE this as well! The story is wonderful all in itself, but the addition of the notations & illustrations along the margins gives the reader more detail & understanding of the times when this was written. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I knew I would - I also own the previous two annotated editions done by HPU in this format, Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. Can't wait for the rest of them to done so that I can add them to my collection!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Good book but typos....you get what you pay for ..

    Loved it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    Great book bad copy

    While the book never disapoints this version had some problems making it hard to read. Random foot notes in the middle of paragrphs and punctuation.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    One of the first novels I ever read

    Emma is one of the first novels I recall reading as a preteen. I immediately fell in love with Mr. Knightley, and the cheeky banter he shares with the heroine. I saw a lot of myself in Emma as a young girl, flaws included, and knew I wanted an amazing declaration of love from my very own Mr. Knightley one day. I have a tattered paperback copy, beautiful leather bound bookshelf copy and now a new electronic copy for my nook. The story is witty, charming and full of loveable characters. A good rainy weekend read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    great

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2014

    The poor copies of this novel were those produced before 2010.  

    The poor copies of this novel were those produced before 2010.  The rest appear OK.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Badly Converted

    I love and adore this book, but there are so many typos it is hard to enjoy rrading it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Dawn

    Name: You're blind. <p> Age:*Drops dead* <p> Gender: Female <p> Personality: Meet me <p> Rank: Assasin <p> Theme song: Landslide by the Dixie chicks <p> Mate/crush/kits: Nope <p> Siggy: &delta &xi &omega

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