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Emma (1816)

by Jane Austen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
33,20746264 (4.07)3 / 1691
Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The novel was first published in December 1815. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters.Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also rather spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.… (more)
  1. 165
    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 (5)

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English (436)  Italian (7)  Spanish (6)  Swedish (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  Lithuanian (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (461)
Showing 1-5 of 436 (next | show all)
When I was Bingley, I bought a copy of Emma once; I was sure I would enjoy it, though I never even read the introduction, and eventually lost it. Any contact with this book would have hurt me then—so unlike Jane! For the Jane we think is Jane, is actually Emma.

…. I can’t believe his name is actually Churchill.

Frank Spencer: *taken aback and frightened* But I am a British white man! My ancestor fought with Marlborough! You, Can’t, be my father!
Weston: C’mon here, my lad, my dear boy. *hugs, then holds him away from himself and looks at him* It’s been such a long time.
Frank Spencer: *beat* Well, have you ever fought the Turks or the French?
Weston: Shh. Don’t talk.
Jack: This is adorable. We’re an English family.
Frank Spencer: Aggh, but Armies. Are on the, Move.

…. I wish I could join the (Episcopal) Girls Friendly Society.

I wish I could be in charge of the Girls Friendly Society.

I wish I could be young and beautiful forever, ah.

…. It’s not that the introduction was bad, or that you can’t think critically about Janemma. (Lol).

But I think if you went to Power College, (which could be public or private), you’d be taught to lie about how you felt, you know.

—Emma’s daft ideas make her a center of intrigue.
—We really need to study the sociological or socioeconomic background more thoroughly—so far we’ve only read Three books—before we can say definitely that Emma’s ideas are, daft, as you say.

Translation: blah blah blah BLAH blah

Or, you know:

—Emma’s female agency will make her a leader of the Revolution.
—Emma’s counterrevolutionary bullshit means she’ll have to be shot or sent to a labor camp once the Revolution starts.
—Class debate on this fundamentally unsound foundation!

Comment: At least now we’re talking about the book, if in a rather ill way.

I will say this, though: the idea of a Black girl being ordered to read this in high school is, synonym check, very bad. (Third grade version: very, very, very, very—four very’s! Four very’s, Miss Allison!) There’s just no way that a “normal”—for want of a better word—Black girl could like this book. I don’t think that the common culture argument is convincing. It’s just like starving the Spanish-speaking part of town of what they need, in the name of “one language”: for the sake of dividing into superior and inferior, serviced and unserviced, instead of Anglo and Latino. (Latinx is not a word. Not really. X is not a word ending in Spanish.) It’s the same with other things. All Emma can accomplish, when imposed in a show of uniformity, is to show people that some people have a literature and others don’t. I’m just glad I’m not part of the state school system anymore. I wonder what people would think if Blacks could go to a private school where the girls’ club didn’t have to read Emma. [The Republicans would shut it down, in the Name of Capitalism.]

The hard-drinking, sinful-living male cracker position, that he too shouldn’t have to read Emma, is weaker, since no civilian non-monastic society exists without women, and anyway most of them are married. It’s very strange. I would read about married people, but not try to live the life, thanks. Your typical married sexist says he would work forty hours a week for his woman—die for her! Gladly!—but, you know. Keep her contemptible crap on the other side of the room. But, I will say: who seriously thinks that cracker culture is going to be reformed by the imposition of the required company of Emma Woodhouse? It certainly won’t be, you know. At most you’ll make them feel some shame that they’ll reflect off on someone else; most will probably just ignore it, laugh, cut school and go fishing.

…. Oh, and perhaps I shall go with them, and chase the wild tofu beast across the plains! Pride & Prejudice is overrated—you’d think Paul McCartney write it—but Emma is a sin…. Such a nice little sty!

Spencer: *waving his cane* It’s the worst bloody thing in the world! An enormous tragedy!
—An ‘enormous tragedy’? You’re making it worse.
Spencer: *points the cane, like a gun* *starts quoting a long paragraph from one of his books that has nothing to do with anything*
—I’m leaving. *leaves*
Spencer: *goes to door, and calls out* And don’t come back! This Is England!

…. It’s not that I want to indiscriminately throw the British under the bus. But this is not really as good as most of, say, Victoria Holt. (Or even Sense and Sensibility.) It’s very plain, and practically teen.

Here’s a fucking riddle:

(zen mountain)

What is enduring, yet ephemeral,
Solid like gold, yet empty like the breeze?

(birthday party)

A Classic Teen Novel by Janemma!
What’s it called.
Silly goose, that’s the title!

…. I’m glad that I don’t have to be a girl.

If I were a girl, I would have to be ugly. I would use an Accelerated Aging Cream. Maybe then I could be a girl.

Mad Socialist Scientist (MSS.): Capitalist society is impeding the progress of my science! If only I could impose a tax on everyone as rich as Croesus and as stupid as a monkey. Then I could pay for the Accelerated Aging Cream! {maniacal laughing} Moses said the the tyrant, Let my people go!

{unlaughs} If only the Magical Leprechaun Terrorists (MaLTs) and HomeGoods Gnomes hadn’t sabotaged my plans for the greater good!

…. Russian Santa Claus/Stalin: *fat man laughing* Terrorism is the way! Don’t let rich beautiful monkeys win! Use terrorism!
Generic Harry Potter Character: No Stalin no! Love is the way! Love!

…. Anyway.

But in all seriousness:

—Let’s divide the cake fairly. Here, I’ll have the big piece; you can have the little piece.
—I shouldn’t have less just because I haven’t got any sense!
—And I shouldn’t be dining with you, who have no sense; consider yourself lucky.
—I wonder why you do at all!
—Well, I knew your father when I was young, and anyway we’re both English.

George is a positive cultured brute. Emma is a nobody, of course, although she has money. Maybe Emma deserves George, but that’s not to say it’s a fine thing. They are like ducks and geese, not ducks and drakes. Apples and oranges. It’s like reading about the youth of Mr and Mrs Bennet.

It’s like reading about nobody at all. It’s like reading about money. It’s a societal delusion.

…. Though I guess Janemma has her moments.

Emma Woodhouse: I do not consent to their behavior. I refuse to give my consent.
God: Great. But I wasn’t asking. It’s none of your business.
Emma Woodhouse: It is very much my business, and I do not give my consent.
God: You’re a co-dependent, Emma; go to CoDA. You’re powerless over others, and your life has become unmanageable.

…. I know that Knightley vs Jane F is supposed to be cute, but for me it’s Kant/the critique of judgment book at its worst. I do not want Jane F because she is clever, and she shouldn’t be, because she’s a girl (Kant’s personal life), and anyway, I do not want her because, for that reason, she is just not Wife Material, and therefore I Ought Not marry her, because she’s defective—she ought not be married to anybody!

…. Although it ought almost always to be opportune to make sport of people tired of always seeing to their own comfort, I do not see how Knightley could consent to be part of that ridiculous party at all—like a monied, anachronistic Judd Apatow—if he were so good.

…. I wonder if Young Spencer could have been his imaginary brother Frank in a play; I know that old Leonard was no ascetic.

…. How good it is to make ourselves happy! Children, you ought try with all your hearts, to be born into a good family, so that you can be happy! Look at me! I’m eating expensive cake! *cake*

…. We are very English, we are cultural Christians, we are the best sort of people—and it is hard for the best sort of people to be humble.

The Edit that was almost as bitter as:

(The challenge) Flag this review to reinforce the stereotype of the precious, narrow Little Englander who has the delusion that it’s ok to go around talking to people like, There is Exactly One Correct Way for Everyone to Be in the World, and by God, girl, you Will shut up when I slap you!

(It's hard not to hate someone with such privilege, without any sense of responsibility. They just take and take and take, and never give anything back…. The entitlement, you know. English entitlement.)

(The response) *surprised British Explorer voice* Coolies and crocodiles! They beat us to it, George! I say, we weren’t quick enough to bring shame on Christ and His church! We must needs go back to Downton without our sacred, honour!

But you know, it’s fine: first you’re a troublemaker, and then you’re dead, and then you have a club, and then you’re forgotten. Or, while people still remember who you are, first you’re a troublemaker, while you’re alive, and then you’re dead and you’re the proof that white people are intelligent.

Life is better than death.
  goosecap | May 13, 2022 |
"Oh! I always deserve the best treatment, because I never put up with any other." ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 30, 2022 |
Seriously, the most fun I've had yet with an audio romance book. I can see why Austen is so highly regarded now. I might try another soon-ish. ( )
  fuzzipueo | Apr 24, 2022 |
After 6 chapters I had to bail. Not enough substance here to keep my interest. Time to move on to something more meaningful. I can't believe Jane Austen receives such praise if this is the caliber of writing she offers. ( )
  282Mikado | Apr 13, 2022 |
My Fav book by Jane Austen. When I first read Jane Austen's work - omnivorously - I was only 14, and so I preferred Northanger Abbey, which is much funnier and has a teen heroine. And of course Pride and Prejudice is considered her masterpiece. It's certainly IMO the wittiest. People say that "no-one roots for Emma". But I have always had a soft spot for Emma, and for a long time now this has been my Fav Jane Austen. If you're just looking to read a romance, you'll prefer Pride and Prejudice, or as I once did, Northanger Abbey. But there's a lot more to this story than most of Jane Austen's work, a lot of life lessons that anyone could profitably take to heart, and although less witty, the characterisation is epic - a triumph. A really good read about learning to read one's own heart! ( )
  HealthSeeker | Mar 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 436 (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 (105 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Austen, Janeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agutter, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bastin, MarjoleinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beechey, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, VictoriaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blythe, RonaldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bown, NicolaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brock, C. E.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibbons, StellaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harad, AlyssaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hassall, JoanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Henze, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hough, GrahamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klett, ElizabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lane, MaggiePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodge, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcus, StevenIntroductionsecondary 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
Sewell, WilliamIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seyrès, HélèneTraductionsecondary 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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To His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, this work is, by His Royal Highness's permission, most respectfully dedicated, by His Royal Highness's dutiful and obedient humble servant, the author.
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.
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The novel was first published in December 1815. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters.Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also rather spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.

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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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