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Emma (1816)

by Jane Austen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
30,44341664 (4.07)3 / 1605
Content with her life and not interested in marriage, Emma Woodhouse, a rich and beautiful heiress, causes complications with her matchmaking schemes.
  1. 164
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Flora is very clearly modeled on Emma.
  2. 60
    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)
  3. 72
    The Makioka Sisters by Jun'ichirō 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)
  4. 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)
  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. 24
    The Espressologist by Kristina Springer (dizzyweasel)
    dizzyweasel: Adorable remake of Emma, set in a coffeehouse with a matchmaking barista.
  8. 411
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (roby72)
1810s (4)

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English (389)  Italian (7)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (412)
Showing 1-5 of 389 (next | show all)
I originally read Emma 35 years ago. I enjoyed it even more this time..I listened to it on audio book. It was an outstanding performance! ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. ( )
  SolangePark | Jul 11, 2020 |
67/2020. Emma: the original mean girl. Even Austen, who seems to have intended us to like Emma, only managed to make her look better by the authorial cheating of introducing Mrs Elton for unflattering comparisons... except that doesn't work on me because I'd rather have fun with the marginally vulgar Mrs Elton than be snubbed by snobby Emma. Apart from the unforgivable social crime (/s) of being nouveau riche, Mrs Elton's only objective fault is pestering Jane Fairfax with unwanted offers of help, which is better than Emma who actively makes Jane's life worse by being mean to her, and providing help to Miss Fairfax would have been Mrs Elton's legitimate concern as rector's wife - to ensure the moral and economic well-being of her husband's parishioners and especially those unprotected young women such as Jane Fairfax who were perceived as being at risk.

And then there's the racist antiziganism against "gipsies" who are thrown in as a thoughtless plot device. SIGH. Undoubtedly my least favourite of Austen's completed novels.

On the plus side Austen did manage to marry two governesses above their station in the space of one novel, which must have entertained her friend Anne Sharp (as was no doubt intended).

Reading notes

Apart from one or two justly famous sentences, I find the first volume of Emma tendentiously dull. Indeed, "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." [...] "but a sanguine temper, though for ever expecting more good than occurs, does not always pay for its hopes by any proportionate depression. It soon flies over the present failure, and begins to hope again." My mind kept drifting to the film Parasite (to be fair, Aunt Jane did write about parasitical economic/social relationships for two of the subplots in Persuasion, 1817/1818).

I'd forgotten what a fearful social snob Emma is, not only on her friends' behalf but on her own (much more so than her father, sister, ex-governess, or more lofty neighbour Mr Knightley): threatening to cut Harriet off if she marries Mr Martin because his family are Yeoman farmers; and initially refusing an invitation to an evening party at the Coles, because their money comes from trade, until it suits Emma to change her mind for her own convenience. I'd also forgotten how much of an anti-heroine Emma is even beyond her general snobbery and her particular rudeness to Miss Bates. I can't decide if Austen was trying to portray her as young and inexperienced enough to still have an unformed character, or if her personality defects are intended to be part and parcel with Mr Knightley's accusations that she never sticks at anything (hmm, nice double-meaning there).

Snobby, bitchy, and jealous... but popular! "Emma did not repent her condescension in going to the Coles. The visit afforded her many pleasant recollections the next day; and all that she might be supposed to have lost on the side of dignified seclusion, must be amply repaid in the splendour of popularity. She must have delighted the Coles — worthy people, who deserved to be made happy! — And left a name behind her that would not soon die away.

Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common; and there were two points on which she was not quite easy. She doubted whether she had not transgressed the duty of woman by woman, in betraying her suspicions of Jane Fairfax's feelings to Frank Churchill. It was hardly right; but it had been so strong an idea, that it would escape her, and his submission to all that she told, was a compliment to her penetration, which made it difficult for her to be quite certain that she ought to have held her tongue.

The other circumstance of regret related also to Jane Fairfax; and there she had no doubt. She did unfeignedly and unequivocally regret the inferiority of her own playing and singing. She did most heartily grieve over the idleness of her childhood—and sat down and practised vigorously an hour and a half."

HDU, Mrs Elton: "Surry is the garden of England."

Boy gone wild: "As soon as my aunt gets well, I shall go abroad," said he. "I shall never be easy till I have seen some of these places. You will have my sketches, some time or other, to look at - or my tour to read - or my poem. I shall do something to expose myself." (Byron published the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimmage in 1812.)

Aunt Jane's narrative voice cutting close to the bone: "Goldsmith tells us, that when lovely woman stoops to folly, she has nothing to do but to die; and when she stoops to be disagreeable, it is equally to be recommended as a clearer of ill-fame."

And then Emma's character is completely reformed by a brief word from Mr Knightley. He should've been a probation officer... except for the extreme creepiness of 37 year old Mr Knightley proclaiming to 21 year old Emma that his 29 year old self fell permanently in love with her when she was 13. Eep. ( )
  spiralsheep | Jul 9, 2020 |
It is so delightful to reread Jane Austen. Each time I read it I see more than I did the last time. As I become familiar with the characters and the plot, the beautiful detail becomes more apparent to me, increasing my understanding and enjoyment.

Re-reading it in 2019 is because there is a 4-day class on it at BYU Education Week taught by a BYU professor, Jane Hinckley. In previous years I have taken some of her classes. (I have attended: Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey.) Her classes move through a great deal of material so quickly that I felt a need to be more familiar with it before the class starts. Of all the classes this week, this is the one I most look forward to. ( )
  bread2u | Jul 1, 2020 |
I always feel so guilty when I am just so-so about a classic. I really tried to like "Emma" but in the end I didn't like the character or her father. I also laughed at her being called a matchmaker when she supposedly only got one person together (Mrs. Weston with Mr. Weston). I also didn't like Frank Churchill and thought Mr. Knightley was too good to be true. The ending with the resolve about what to do in order for him to be with the woman he loved made me shake my head. The writing was fine, I just thought this one dragged so much. Towards the end I maybe kept muttering can you hurry up already.

"Emma" follows Emma Woodhouse who is 20 years old and due to her father's land and wealth is gentry. We find out that Emma's mother died when she was quite young and her older sister Isabella married and has several children. Emma is quite determined to not marry and living with her father forever. Emma is also a bit blue after seeing her childhood governess (formerly Miss Taylor) newly married to Mr. Weston. Mr. Weston had been widowed for a number of years and after his wife's death allowed his wife's family (the Churchills) to raise their young son Frank. Emma's father is all doom and gloom about poor "Miss Taylor" (the man refuses to acknowledge her marriage and it's aggravating) and Emma does her best to cheer him out of his mood. Mr. Knightley (Emma's brother in law) comes to visit and Emma decides that she is going to focus on matchmaking others. Cause apparently she has nothing better to do. Emma quickly sets her sights on Harriet Smith. Harriet is 17, and is a parlor maid it seems at a local boarding house. Emma decides she will improve Harriet in order for her to get a man that Emma deems worthy of her. Of course misunderstanding occur and romances ebb and flow after Mr. Weston's adult son Frank returns.

Emma is a nitwit. That's all I got really. She misjudges everyone around her it seems. The only one that speaks plainly to her it seems is Mr. Knightley. I also wondered why she was so determined to see Harriet wed to the local vicar (Mr. Vicar) who even I could tell was not the least bit interested in her. Pretty much this whole book is just Emma being wrong and Mr. Knightley standing nearby to tell her about herself. Things don't really pick up in my opinion when Frank Churchill appears and Emma imagines herself in love with him for a bit.

Harriet is just there to do what Emma tells her. I honestly felt sorry for her and when she ends up rejecting one man due to Emma I just hard sighed.

Mr. Knightley didn't appeal to me the same way Mr. Darcy and Captain Wenworth did. However, I still thought he was a dashing hero for this book.

Frank Churchill sucked. I got nothing to say besides that. I didn't really buy some of the explanation that came afterwards. What happened seemed to me would be something that would get you cast out of a social circle, but whatever.

Jane Fairfax wasn't that interesting and I ended up wondering a bit about her at the end of the book.

Mr. Woodhouse was exhausting to the extreme. I maybe laughed at his daughter Isabella sounding like him too. We do get a weird glimpse via Mrs. Churchill about what will maybe become of them though in the future.

I seriously disliked Mr. Elton (though I was supposed to) and didn't like who he ended up marrying.

The writing was fine, I just found myself getting bored after a while. It's so strange to me that I didn't find this as gripping as "Pride and Prejudice" or "Persuasion." The flow was off through the whole book. I already said that I kept muttering for the book to hurry the heck up already.

The setting of the book takes place in 1815 England. We have a small country village with just a few families. After a while it started to feel a bit suffocating since it felt like no one else lived there besides Mr. Knightley, the Woodhouses, Mr. Elton, and the Bates. I think if things had changed with Emma going to London or meeting new people it would have livened things up.

The ending was not a surprise and everyone (well mostly everyone) gets a happy ending. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 389 (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 (109 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Austen, Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beechey, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blythe, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bown, NicolaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brock, C. E.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, StellaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hassall, JoanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hough, GrahamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MaggiePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcus, StevenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mathias, RobertCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morgan, VictoriaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moulton, CarrollAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Praz, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, JosephinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanderson, CarolinePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stafford, FionaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamaki, JillianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, HughIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiltshire, JohnPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Emma (1948TVIMDb)
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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.
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.
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Book description
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.
She can do no wrong
Matchmaking busybody
Knightley sets things right.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439580, 0141028092, 0143106465, 0141199520

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909175951, 1909175315

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