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Emma
     

Emma

4.2 547
by Jane Austen
 

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A lively young heiress takes up matchmaking, and her schemes result in comic confusion for a social-climbing parson, a chatterbox spinster, an enigmatic Romeo, and other inhabiatants of a 19th-century English village. Sparkling satire in one of Austen's finest novels

Sparkling comedy of provincial manners concerns a well-intentioned young heiress and her

Overview

A lively young heiress takes up matchmaking, and her schemes result in comic confusion for a social-climbing parson, a chatterbox spinster, an enigmatic Romeo, and other inhabiatants of a 19th-century English village. Sparkling satire in one of Austen's finest novels

Sparkling comedy of provincial manners concerns a well-intentioned young heiress and her matchmaking schemes that result in comic confusion for the inhabitants of a 19th-century English village. Droll characterizations of the well-intentioned heroine-one of Austen's immortal creations-and her hypochondriacal father-plus many other finely drawn personalities. This sparkling satire of provincial life is one of Jane Austen's finest novels.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Jane Austen deserves, and here gets, the reward of other people's skillful work on her little bit of ivory, two inches wide.... The Cambridge Edition justifies its claim to the 'the first ever scholarly edition of the works of Jane Austen', and is a fine tribute to her for the twenty-first century."
-Jane Austen Society Newsletter

"scrupulous text and copious annotations"
JASNA News

VOYA - Donna L. Phillips
For those who missed not only Austen's book but also the 1996 film and the 2010 PBS Masterpiece Classic, Emma is the story of a young woman who believes she is a consummate matchmaker, following one success for which she questionably claims full responsibility. She quickly finds a fresh focus for her matchmaking genius when she is introduced to Harriet Smith, a young woman of pleasing demeanor and fresh looks but unknown parentage. Despite this absence of pedigree, Emma is convinced that Miss Smith deserves a genteel mate. When a young farmer proposes to Harriet, Emma urges her to demur, then attempts with disastrous results to match her to three socially suitable gentlemen. Nearly too late, Emma realizes that the last of these, Mr. Knightley, is the man she really prefers for herself. Emma is one of nine classical romances reprised by HarperTeen. As other reviewers have noticed, each has a flowery red-and-white-on-black cover reminiscent of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. All but the ablest readers among Stephenie Meyer's fans will find Austen's seventeenth-century syntax a daunting read, with little resemblance to Meyer beyond its cover. Those who love Jane Austen, however, will appreciate any ploy that brings back a beloved and wonderfully insightful writer. Extras appended to Austen's original text include "10 Things You Didn't Know about Jane Austen" and a quiz, "Have you found your match? See if Emma would approve your choice!" These are not 5Q but will appeal to some teens. Reviewer: Donna L. Phillips
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Emma Woodhouse is not, at first, an easy character to like. She meddles in people's lives—especially their love lives—often with painful results. As the younger daughter of a landed family, she sits at the top of the village foodchain; for in Regency-era England social class controls everything. Emma is both victim and perpetuator of the system. When she begins to mentor a young woman in the village, she initially convinces Harriet that marrying a well-to-do farmer is "beneath" her. Emma's older sister, living in London and married to John Knightley, is effectively out of the picture and Emma is solely responsible for companionship and care of her hypochondriacal father. John Knightley's brother still runs the family estate nearby and has been a stalwart friend of the Woodhouse family for years. The local Mr. Knightley (George, as we learn late in the book), has taken a long-time interest in curbing some of Emma's less desirable interferences and snobbish behavior. After a fair amount of convoluted plotting and interpersonal drama, Emma acknowledges the folly of her ways and realizes that Mr. George Knightley is the person she truly loves. Emma, and Austen's work in general, have been valued for providing satirical insights on the social class structure of the time. This edition of Austen's classic is supplemented with minimal information about the author, "10 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen," and a "quiz" that allows you to rate your boyfriend. Although ostensibly designed to engage teen readers, these add-ons will not facilitate traversing a lengthy tome written in the language of the time which presents some challenges (e.g., "stoppt" for stopped, or "is not it") as well as some smiles (e.g., referring to inappropriate young men as coxcombs or puppies). The availability of relatively recent movie versions of Austen's works may entice some female readers to persist, however. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781480009899
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
09/27/2012
Pages:
558
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)

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. . .

What People are Saying About This

Harold. Bloom
"To me, as an American critic, Emma seems the most Englilsh of English novels....It is Austin's masterpiece, the largest triumph of her vigorous art."
From the Publisher
"No one creates silly English characters better than Austen, and Wanda McCaddon is up to the challenge." —-AudioFile

Meet the Author

A. Walton Litz is professor emeritus of English at Princeton University.

Brief Biography

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

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Emma 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 547 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I love Pride and Prejudice the best, Emma is definitely my second favorite of Ausent's works. I prefer the story of the former novel, but other than that I can say that I love, love, absolutely love Emma. As much as I adore Mr. Darcy (Along with every other female in the world) it must be confessed that I am madly in love with Mr. Knightly, and I read the entire book just for the scenes he is in. Although Pride and Prejudice can be called perfect, I find the Declaration-of-Love scene in Emma to be much more endearing and wonderful. I find that love of Pride and Prejudice generally has to be shared, since it is such a well known story, even to the most illiterate of people. As Emma is not as ubiquitously loved, I feel like the book has a more exclusive place in my heart, and that makes me love it all the more.
SillyWillyShakespeare More than 1 year ago
Emma is a hilarious novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. As I escaped into the twists and turns of the social circle in Emma's small town, I found myself laughing, crying, berating characters, and gushing about how much I loved this book. Emma's blindness to what is going on around her in the way of love endears her even more. Emma is beautiful, charming, and what every young lady in those days ought to be. She's a dutiful daughter, and usually very proper, though she has a love of matchmaking, something she really isn't very good at. She encounters very memorable characters and finds herself in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen is one of the most talented novelists I know of. The first book I read by Austen is Pride and Prejudice, and when I had the opportunity to read another for pleasure as well as academics, I couldn’t pass it up. The novel, Emma, consists of advanced vocabulary and complex word phrasing, but with a dictionary by my side, nothing was in my way. Once I picked it up, it was hard to put it back down. In the novel Emma, Emma Woodhouse is the only lady in the house of many men. She therefore makes all the important decisions and has a degree of power and independence. Throughout the life of Emma, there are many situations in which any typical teenage girl can relate to. Emma doesn’t believe in finding her so called soul mate, so she meddles with others’ to help them find theirs. Regardless, she is admired and respected by all. One of the most powerful messages I acquired from this novel is learning that you cannot prevent the inevitable. Whatever road you are on is the one you are meant to take. To get to the man of her dreams, Mr. Knightley, it wasn't quite the simplest road ever. She goes through five weddings, a half-dozen major misunderstandings, and 400 pages pass before she learns of it, but Emma's ending is as happy and triumphant as the close of Pride and Prejudice. In the beginning of the book up until about the 250 page mark, the story is somewhat slow, but as Emma discovers that her love matchmaking isn’t quite working out for her, Mr. Knightley’s charm speeds up the book. Although the language is somewhat difficult to interpret, it's worth the read. The story is witty, charming and full of loveable characters. I guarantee that you will have the hardest time putting the book down. Although Emma is one of the longer books Jane Austen has written, it is inspirational in every way from beginning to end. It is a comedy of Emma as she learns to find her happily ever after. Emma is, without a doubt, one of the best books I have read in a very long time. I rarely ever have the time to pick up a well written book and read it from front to back, but I can honestly say that this book fulfilled that need; definitely a good book to pick up on a rainy weekend.
Zipperhips More than 1 year ago
I loved Emma. Then again, I also loved Clueless, and guess which one was easier to get through?
Vovo More than 1 year ago
Emma Woodhouse is a character who is wealthy, prejudiced, witty yet ignorant, innocent yet blameable, and altogether lovely. She is admired by her friends and held in doting compassion by all of her readers. When Emma seeks to aid her poor, orphaned friend Harriet Smith in finding a rich husband, she sets herself up for learning a few very difficult life lessons. She learns what it is to be humbled, to be wrong, to be accused, and, ultimately, to be forgiven. Jane Austen had a knack for writing good, clean romances with somewhat surprising endings. In Pride and Prejudice, there is an elopement. In Sense and Sensibility, there is a canceled engagement. In Emma, there is a secret engagement between two characters which is not revealed until the end. It is very common knowledge that Austen did not believe her readers would like her Emma. Despite what the authoress may have originally thought, Emma is still in print after two hundred years of being enjoyed by generation upon generation of readers. The story is beautiful, imaginative, and realistic- a story that people of every age can fully appreciate. Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfect. She is attractive, wealthy, and graceful. She visits the poor, attends church, and nourishes her friendships. But, like all mankind, she has little flaws hiding beneath her bonnet. She harbors a high opinion of herself and of her intellect. She feels that she is capable of speaking things into existence. She learns, as we all do, that her whims and fancies must be bridled. She learns that her opinions are not superior and that she does not possess power over love. I greatly enjoyed reading Emma. She was someone I could relate to, understand, laugh at, cry with, and applaud in the end.
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