Emma (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview

Emma, by Jane Austen, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which 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 ...
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Overview

Emma, by Jane Austen, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which 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.

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 her 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.

Steven Marcus is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, and a specialist in nineteenth-century literature and culture. 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. He is the author of more than 200 publications.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593081522
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 52,317
  • Product dimensions: 8.04 (w) x 5.34 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Austen
Steven Marcus is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and George Delacorte Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, and a specialist in nineteenth-century literature and culture. 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. He is the author of more than 200 publications.

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

From Steven Marcus's Introduction to Emma

The first sentence of Emma is only less well known than the legendary opening of Pride and Prejudice. "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." The immediate effect of this statement is to stop us, we readers, in our tracks. It is also a heads-up or alert, signaling to us as the narrator's adherents and collaborators to step up the volume and fine-tune the attentiveness that we direct toward the page. It begins with a broadside of affirmations and modulates into a conclusion that intimates serious problems may exist in the offing. Emma is very good looking in a rather striking and forceful way (not pretty or, here, beautiful); she is intelligent and quick-witted; and she is more than affluent when it comes to material means. She takes pleasure as well in the amenities of an established place in which to live, the establishment being part of a settled order in which she also feels at home. And best of all, perhaps, she is blessed with a "happy" temperament or general tone of well-being. With all these fortunate and combined bestowals, is there anything else to ask for? Well, yes—since they amount, the narrator remarks without pausing, to no more than "seemed." The dubiety carried in that ironic reservation turns the sentence around and prepares us for vexation and distress.

Emma has also reached a conventional juncture or locus of passage in the life cycle of European women and men. And this reference to numbers leads to a series of statements that informs us about how, in turn, those twenty-one years are to be regarded. Emma's mother has been dead for about sixteen years, since that is the interval during which Miss Taylor has been employed as her beloved governess—Emma's memory of her goes back to the age of five. Emma's older married sister, Isabella, is at least six years her senior, since we soon learn that she has been married for seven years and already has five children, the youngest of whom is less than a year old. It is reasonable to assume that Emma "had been mistress" of her father's house since she was about thirteen (a number that will come up later). Her father's age we will get to in a bit.

Her father and governess have raised Emma with great affection and equal indulgence. Restraint and authority have been close to absent from her experience, and she has, within this atmosphere of tenderness, permissiveness, and admiration, grown up "doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but directed chiefly by her own." The consequent disadvantages of Emma's situation were "the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too much of herself." These "real evils" are at once modulated by "rather" and "a little too much." There may be forebodings, but they are neither very dark nor desperate.

The novel begins, however, with Miss Taylor's departure from the Woodhouse home of Hartfield. She has become Mrs. Weston, having just married a prosperous widower neighbor and taken up residence at Randalls, his recently purchased "little estate," only a half-mile from the Woodhouses. The wedding guests have gone, and Emma and her father are left to themselves "to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheer a long evening." Miss Taylor's wedding precipitates in Emma a "gentle sorrow." She understandably experiences Mrs. Weston's happiness as a "loss" as well, and sits in "mournful thought" pondering "what she had lost." The good fortune of her dear friend is both a source of "satisfaction" to her and yet, more questionably, "a black morning's work." The lightly stressed irony is that Emma is responding to her idealized surrogate mother's marriage as if it were an echo or shadow reenactment of her natural mother's death sixteen years before. Even more, in recent years the two of them have stood on "equal footing" and in "perfect unreserve"; to Emma, Miss Taylor has been that most rare "friend and companion," someone "peculiarly interested in herself, in every pleasure, every scheme of hers;—one to whom she could speak every thought as it arose, and . . . could never find fault."

With this approving mirror of another consciousness, another affirming yet senior female self, moving away into separateness and independence, Emma recognizes in herself the sense that things can never be the same for her again. "How was she to bear the change?" Indeed.

The "melancholy change" is compounded by Emma's awareness that "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." Mr. Woodhouse is somewhere between sixty-five and seventy years old. Yet

the evil of the actual disparity in their ages . . . was much increased by his constitution and habits; for having been a valetudinarian all his life, without activity of mind or body, he was a much older man in ways than in years; and though every where beloved for the friendliness of his heart and his amiable temper, his talents could not have recommended him at any time.Although Emma dearly loves her father, they don't have interests or resources in common. Emma loves talk, the back and forth of conversation, the playfulness of wit and the bite of argument; her father is somewhere else. He is obsessed to the point of looniness with his health; he lives in terror of the weather; drafts, heat, cold and colds, damp, snow, the dews of a summer evening all imperil him and everyone he can warn. And he is equally endangered by food: His fearful admonitions on thin gruel, pork, boiled eggs, and baked apples are the stuff of unforgettable comic turns. He has behaved as "quite an invalid" all his life and has in fact become one. He claims that he goes "no where" and is torpid and inert. He exists at such a depressed level of vitality that he seems to be far older than his years. Friendly, affectionate, and amiable as he may be, he is neither brainy nor energetic. Mr. Woodhouse is effectively old enough to be Emma's grandfather, and in the far-distant resolution of this novel he partially fills that functional role.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 818 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 816 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Bad quality pdf

    Do not download!

    12 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    Great Read

    This book is inscrutable.

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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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.

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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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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  • Posted November 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Witty, Charming, Exciting

    Jane Austen truly expresses her greatest knack for writing in her novel, Emma. Miss Woodhouse's character as well as the characters of Miss Smith, Mr. Knightley, and others show great contrast, yet great coordination and interaction between each other. Emma is definitely a must-read for everyone, from those who hardly ever have time to read to the most dedicated bibliophiles.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty good stuff

    I loved Emma. Then again, I also loved Clueless, and guess which one was easier to get through?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2006

    Emma

    READER BEWARE! This is one of the best of only 6 amazing completed masterpieces by Jane Austen. Despite being written so long ago Jane Austen¿s work can be as engaging (and even addicting) as any modern novel. Read this treasured title with care as the author will be unable to write another.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    RedDawn's Buo

    Name- Red Dawn / Age- 17 moons / Gender- male / Appearance- all red except for his paws which are white and a white tipped ear. His eyes are green though. / Personality- loyal caring dependent ferocious dabgerous yet kind and patient. / Kits-non nor do i have a mate

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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