Emma

Emma

by Jane Austen, Fiona Stafford

NOOK Book(eBook)

$4.99 $5.63 Save 11% Current price is $4.99, Original price is $5.63. You Save 11%.
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141920023
Publisher: Penguin UK
Publication date: 04/06/2006
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 700,786
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature's most famous women writers. She is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey.

Fiona Stafford is a Fellow and Tutor in English at Somerville College, Oxford. Tony Tanner was a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Professor of English and American Literature at Cambridge.


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

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. . .

Table of Contents

About the Seriesv
About This Volumevii
About the Textxi
Part 1Emma: The Complete Text in Cultural Context
Introduction: Biographical and Historical Contexts3
The Complete Text21
Contextual Documents and Illustrations382
A Riddle385
Robin Adair386
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 2Emma: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism
A Critical History of Emma405
Gender Criticism and Emma425
What Is Gender Criticism?425
Gender Criticism: A Selected Bibliography437
A Gender Studies Perspective: Claudia L. Johnson, "Not at all what a man should be!": Remaking English Manhood in Emma441
Marxist Criticism and Emma456
What Is Marxist Criticism?456
Marxist Criticism: A Selected Bibliography470
A Marxist Perspective: Beth Fowkes Tobin, Aiding Impoverished Gentlewomen: Power and Class in Emma473
Cultural Criticism and Emma488
What Is Cultural Criticism?488
Cultural Criticism: A Selected Bibliography503
A Cultural Perspective: Paul Delany, "A Sort of Notch in the Donwell Estate": Intersections of Status and Class in Emma508
The New Historicism and Emma524
What Is the New Historicism?524
The New Historicism: A Selected Bibliography538
A New Historicist Perspective: Casey Finch and Peter Bowen, "The Tittle-Tattle of Highbury": Gossip and the Free Indirect Style in Emma543
Feminist Criticism and Emma559
What Is Feminist Criticism?559
Feminist Criticism: A Selected Bibliography569
A Feminist Perspective: Devoney Looser, "The Duty of Woman by Woman": Reforming Feminism in Emma577
Combining Perspectives on Emma594
Combining Perspectives: Marilyn Butler, Introduction to Emma597
Glossary of Critical and Theoretical Terms615
About the Contributors635

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

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"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."

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?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Red Classics Emma 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AdonisGuilfoyle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Either times have changed, or Jane Austen was merely being coy when she described Emma Woodhouse as 'a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like'. She is perfectly delightful, more so for being 'faultless in spite of all her faults', and Mr Knightley is another inspiring leading man (surely her heroes, and not the heroines, are the secret of the author's success?) I don't dislike Emma, I want to *be* her!My eyes are finally opened to the appeal of Jane Austen's books, after years of holding out against her 'white frocks and weddings' romances. Granted, she only ever wrote six novels, and most of them share the same plot devices, but her subtle sarcasm and skilful narration make reading her limited oeuvre an education and a pleasure. Some of her sentences take a bit of unpicking, like her negative sentence construction - writing 'she could not think it so very impossible that the Churchills might not allow their nephew to remain a day beyond his fortnight' instead of 'she knew Frank's aunt would want him back in Yorkshire', for instance - but the careful use of formal language only adds to the necessary attention due to Austen's prose. But I know the story, from the film and the recent miniseries, and so unlike Frank Churchill, my stay in Highbury was permitted to be leisurely.Aside from Emma and Mr Knightley, and the fun of playing the omniscient reader by picking up on clues that the eponymous heroine herself is oblivious to, the real luxury of reading 'Emma' for me comes from the sense of community that Jane Austen works so well into her books. Like Mr Woodhouse, by the end of the novel I was wishing that nothing would change - the Woodhouses at Hartfield, with Mr Knightley walking the mile from Donwell to visit, and familiar faces such as Mr and Mrs Weston at Randalls and Miss Bates with her inane chatter in Highbury. All right, I could live without Miss Bates. Reading 'Emma', however, is both comforting and reassuring, like a carefree summer's day or sitting by the fire when it's snowing outside (and both scenes are pictured beautifully within). The perfect antidote to a slow Sunday afternoon, or travelling on public transport!