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Emma by Jane Austen
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Emma (original 1815; edition 1957)

by Jane Austen

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24,72833944 (4.09)2 / 1335
Member:xeriscaper
Title:Emma
Authors:Jane Austen
Info:Boston, Houghton Mifflin [1957] xxvi, 381 p. 21 cm.
Collections:Your library
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Emma by Jane Austen (1815)

  1. 164
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Flora is very clearly modeled on Emma.
  2. 62
    The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (Sarasamsara)
    Sarasamsara: Like Austen's novels, The Makioka Sisters traces the daily lives and romances of an upper-class family-- the only difference is that this is pre-war Japan, not Regency England. Like in one of Austen's works, when you close the novel you feel like you are closing the door on someone's life.… (more)
  3. 63
    Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant (nessreader)
    nessreader: Both Emma and Miss M are about ambitious, capable upper class women who can only express themselves as social hostesses. Both heroines are managing and bossy - Miss M, a generation younger, is played more for laughs, but there is a strong parallel. And both end in utter satisfaction for heroine and reader alike.… (more)
  4. 20
    Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (kara.shamy)
    kara.shamy: In some ways the heroines in these two novels are alike, but they are very different in other respects, and more strikingly, their respective journeys to the altar/married life go in diametrically opposite ways, in a sense! Both are true classics in my estimation; reading these two novels exposes the reader to two of the greatest English-language novelists of all time in the height of their respective powers. While all readers and critics do not and will not share this superlative view, few would dispute these are two early female masters of the form and are well worth a read on that humbler basis ;) Enjoy!… (more)
  5. 22
    The Scandal of the Season: A Novel by Sophie Gee (SandSing7)
  6. 23
    The Victorian Governess by Kathryn Hughes (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Though Austen is writing before the Victorian age, Hughes' book helps give an idea of the kind of life Jane Fairfax was facing.
  7. 25
    The Espressologist by Kristina Springer (dizzyweasel)
    dizzyweasel: Adorable remake of Emma, set in a coffeehouse with a matchmaking barista.
  8. 311
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72)
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Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
The first 5-star read of the year - can you tell I loved it?
Review: https://weneedhunny.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/emma-by-jane-austen/ ( )
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
When I first read Emma, I couldn't like her, she seemed just too perfect and too judgemental, or so it seemed.

But after watching the 2009 edition and rereading the book with new eyes, I grew to love Emma Woodhouse. It is hard not to love a character by Jane Austen. Emma is a happy person, you can witness that in the way she talks and acts. I really love her now; she is like sunshine, and Mr. Knightly is very hot and such a great male leading character. I prefer him now more than Mr. Darcy, he's real, approachable, sensible, and good at observation.

I never thought about how sometimes meeting a person could affect someone's life so profoundly even for the worst until it happened to me, I now understand where Mr. Knightly protectiveness came from.

Such a favorite, dear book! My favorite adaptation is the 2009 miniseries and the indian movie Aisha... and let's not forget Clueless! ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
Emma is different from other Jane Austen heroines mainly because being wealthy means she doesn't have to marry anyone if it not pleases her. But being an Austen novel though you'll get all those aspects of relationship one loves in her books and the misinterpretations of Emma that lead others to make mistakes towards their true feelings. In fact, I think Emma ,eventhough with the best intentions at heart, ends up manipulating those around her as a girl plays with its dolls. She starts as a pampered girl who'll learn and mature into a women. The novel is funny and lighter than some of the other works. ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |

"Emma" is the story of a young woman making the transition from youth to adulthood. When we meet Emma for the first time, she has all the raw material for the making of a fine woman, but it is unrefined. Emma is a bundle of contradictions. She is sweet but a little thoughtless, and a little careless. She is talented but undisciplined, kind but thinks more highly of herself than others, intelligent but too clever in her own opinion. She has not yet been wounded deeply enough by life to have acquired any real depth. All of that is about to change.

As the book opens, Emma is congratulating herself on helping to make a good match for her former governess and successfully marrying her off. It is plain to the meanest observer that Emma had little enough to do with it, but Emma, encouraged by her "success", embarks on a campaign to make a match for a friend named Harriet. This seems good and harmless of itself, but there is an obstacle that must first be overcome; Harriet is of unknown parentage and seems to be of low birth. In order to get around this fact, Emma takes it upon herself to mold Harriet into someone more capable of climbing the ladder to a higher class, something for which Harriet is completely unsuited.

Herein lies the deep irony of the book. At the outset, Harriet knows who she is, is comfortable with her station, and is prepared to accept a man in the same station who would make her happy. Harriet needs no grooming, no maturing. She is complete as a character. Emma, who would play Pygmalion, is the one who needs to be molded and groomed. She is completely unaware of her need, though she is willing enough to project it onto Harriet. This is, perhaps, Emma's greatest weakness; her inability to correctly evaluate the character and intentions of herself and others. This flaw impedes her ability to respond appropriately in nearly every situation she encounters. Confusion ensues and disaster threatens the future happiness of Harriet, Emma, and a number of other characters.

Emma's social rival in town is Jane Fairfax, a young woman who is an orphan who has only her grandmother and aunt as her remaining family. Jane has been given an exemplary education with a family in another town, and she is talented at singing and playing the piano. Plus she is beautiful and as refined as Emma. So of course Emma can't stand her because Jane is all her chatty aunt ever speaks of which is so tiresome to Emma. But poor Jane has no family with money as Emma does, so her only real prospects in life are as a governess.

The fun part of the novel finally begins when Frank Churchill arrives. Frank is the son of the new husband of Emma's former governess. Frank has been raised from a very young age by an aunt and uncle of his deceased mother, and no one in town has ever met him, including his new step-mother. But true to form, Frank is a completely enchanting and personable young man. And he seems very taken with Emma, but Emma has determined that she will never marry since she is the caretaker of her very needy father. Frank and Emma's flirting is light-hearted and they have a little fun at the expense of Jane, who Emma suspects has come home because she is in love with a married man. Emma may be refined but she can occasionally be the mean-girl too. And finally there is Mr. Knightley, an old family friend of Emma's who is a true gentleman and who seems to be the only one that sees Emma as she really is, faults and all, but loves her anyway.

This is the fourth Jane Austen novel I've read and at the end of the day, for me it ranks up there with Pride and Prejudice. Most of the characters are well-drawn and interesting. Emma is rather insufferably snobby at the beginning, but she has some nice soul-searching moments later on. And of course, the overwhelming class consciousness of everyone is irritating. But this is early 19th century England and that's just how it was. It was of the utmost importance to everyone to marry someone equal in social class, and if possible, above their class if that could be managed. For women it was possible but it took lots of effort and luck. Men simply needed to find a woman in their own social class, and for the gentleman class, preferably a bride who will have a decent dowry. And this is the primary background of all the stories in Emma. Jane is a lady but she has no money. Harriet is not a lady, but she has Emma as her champion and friend who will introduce her to nice gentlemen. Frank will be rich if he can keep in the good graces of his mean aunt who controls his life. Mr. Knightly is always around as the friend and advisor to Emma and tries to help Emma act the refined lady she has been raised to be. Who will end up with whom? That is really the only question one ever needs to ask in an Austen novel. ( )
  AlexisLovesBooks | Feb 9, 2016 |
Interfering Emma means well, but can be slightly annoying. Still I applaud her unshakable belief in love and the "perfect match." ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 316 (next | show all)
The institution of marriage, like the novel itself, has changed greatly since Austen’s time; but as long as human beings long for this kind of mutual recognition and understanding, “Emma” will live.
added by danielx | editNew York TImes, Adam Kirsch (pay site) (Dec 27, 2015)
 

“Perhaps the key to Emma’s perfection, however, is that it is a comic novel, written in a mode that rarely gets much respect. It’s exquisitely ironic.”

“The presiding message of the novel is that we must forgive Emma for her shortcomings just as she can and does learn to excuse the sometimes vexing people around her. There is, I believe, more wisdom in that than in many, many more portentous and ambitious novels. Emma is flawed, but ‘Emma’ is flawless."
added by danielx | editSalon.com, Laura Miller (Dec 23, 2015)
 
It’s a small but striking and instructive demonstration, the careful way Emma appraises the character of the various men who jockey for her attentions and those of the women around her. We could all learn from her example.
added by danielx | editNew York Times, Anna Holmes (pay site) (Dec 1, 2015)
 
"In January 1814, Jane Austen sat down to write a revolutionary novel. Emma, the book she composed over the next year, was to change the shape of what is possible in fiction."

"The novel’s stylistic innovations allow it to explore not just a character’s feelings, but, comically, her deep ignorance of her own feelings. "

"Those who condemn the novel by saying that its heroine is a snob miss the point. Of course she is. But Austen, with a refusal of moralism worthy of Flaubert, abandons her protagonist to her snobbery and confidently risks inciting foolish readers to think that the author must be a snob too"
 

» Add other authors (133 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jane Austenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blythe, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brock, C. E.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, StellaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hassall, JoanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MaggiePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgan, VictoriaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moulton, CarrollAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, JosephinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanderson, CarolinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamaki, JillianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiltshire, JohnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Emma (1948TVIMDb)
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First words
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.
Emma Woodhouse was een aantrekkelijke en intelligente jonge dame van zeer goeden huize.
Deemed her finest and most representative novel by many modern readers, Emma was something of a mystery to Austen's contemporaries when it appeared in 1816. (Introduction)
The drama and the comedy of Austen's novels are dependent on a sharp awareness of fine social distinctions. (Appendix A: Rank and Social Status)
Whether it took place in private houses, or at public assemblies held at inns or purpose-built assembly rooms, social dancing in polite society was governed in Austen's time by strict rules of etiquette, the broad outlines of which dated back to Beau Nash's 'Rules to be observ'd at Bath' of 1706. (Appendix B: Dancing)
Quotations
Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way.
"I thank you; but I assure you, you are quite mistaken. Mr. Elton and I are very good friends, and nothing more, and she walked on, amusing herself in the consideration of the blunders which often arise from a partial knowledge of circumstances, of the mistakes which people of high pretensions to judgment are for every falling into..." (Emma)
"I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other."
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure.
I have seen a great many lists of her drawing up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through--and very good books they were--very well chosen and very neatly arranged--sometimes alphabetically and sometimes by some other rule.
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Emma is perhaps too accustomed to thinking of herself as the queen of her genteel Surrey village. Petted by her invalidish father and her former governess, idolised by old Mrs Bates and her garrulous, good-hearted daughter, she finds only Mr Knightley ready - too ready - to criticise her. He deprecates her schemes for the pretty foundling Harriet and her coolness towards the elegant, reserved Jane Fairfax. And, unaccountably, he seems to disapprove of the handsome Frank Churchill... With cheerful self-confidence Emma interferes in the lives and loves of all her circle. A plot as intricate as a classic detective story leaves the reader as astonished as its heroine when the true state of affairs is revealed. She arrives, almost too late, at a self-knowledge which humbles her considerably. This masterpiece of social observation and comic plotting offers inexhaustible pleasure, laughter and enlightenment.
Haiku summary
Mix-match my neighbors
Cutest narcissist am I
Don't listen to me
(city girl)
Bossy know-it-all
Privileged and doted on
Meddles. Learns lessons.
(pickupsticks)
She can do no wrong
Matchmaking busybody
Knightley sets things right.
(pickupsticks)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141439580, Paperback)

Of all Jane Austen's heroines, Emma Woodhouse is the most flawed, the most infuriating, and, in the end, the most endearing. Pride and Prejudice's Lizzie Bennet has more wit and sparkle; Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey more imagination; and Sense and Sensibility's Elinor Dashwood certainly more sense--but Emma is lovable precisely because she is so imperfect. Austen only completed six novels in her lifetime, of which five feature young women whose chances for making a good marriage depend greatly on financial issues, and whose prospects if they fail are rather grim. Emma is the exception: "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." One may be tempted to wonder what Austen could possibly find to say about so fortunate a character. The answer is, quite a lot.

For Emma, raised to think well of herself, has such a high opinion of her own worth that it blinds her to the opinions of others. The story revolves around a comedy of errors: Emma befriends Harriet Smith, a young woman of unknown parentage, and attempts to remake her in her own image. Ignoring the gaping difference in their respective fortunes and stations in life, Emma convinces herself and her friend that Harriet should look as high as Emma herself might for a husband--and she zeroes in on an ambitious vicar as the perfect match. At the same time, she reads too much into a flirtation with Frank Churchill, the newly arrived son of family friends, and thoughtlessly starts a rumor about poor but beautiful Jane Fairfax, the beloved niece of two genteelly impoverished elderly ladies in the village. As Emma's fantastically misguided schemes threaten to surge out of control, the voice of reason is provided by Mr. Knightly, the Woodhouse's longtime friend and neighbor. Though Austen herself described Emma as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," she endowed her creation with enough charm to see her through her most egregious behavior, and the saving grace of being able to learn from her mistakes. By the end of the novel Harriet, Frank, and Jane are all properly accounted for, Emma is wiser (though certainly not sadder), and the reader has had the satisfaction of enjoying Jane Austen at the height of her powers. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen's most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organizes the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 48 descriptions

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