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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
Romance / Regency
Emma Woodhouse thinks she is a natural matchmaker but, in the opinion of George Knightley, her brother-in-law, she is little more than a meddler. See Emma make hash out of people's prospects, lives, and social standing This book is a fascinating glimpse into the marriage market of early 19th-century England. From THE original Regency Romance writer!
- Review on Emma
Highbury, England early 1800's a quiet and pleasant place to live. Where Emma Woodhouse takes residents with her father. Emma is clever and yes, rich. She enjoys many of the same things young adults do today do including match making and visiting friends in 1800's fashion.
Emma is the main character as you probably can tell by the title of Emma. She has a bad habit of match making just ask "poor" Harriet. Emma attempts to stop threw out the book but always ends up going back. She vowed never to marry early in life. Besides her father Mr. Woodhouse needs her and she enjoys calling on her single friends. If she had a husband to complicate things she could not go see those friends. Unless the man she married enjoyed calling on those same friends.
Emma seems like she could walk off the page and appear in the 21-century, even thew she lived in the 1800's. Her habits are the same as many young women today of not marrying and the dreaded habit of match making.
Emma is full of personality even thew she can be a little mean to long time friends and not relies it without someone telling her. But Emma appears real and grounded.
I would recommend Emma to young women who are fast readers and who know someone or they themselves enjoys match making. Because Emma learns control the desire to mess with people's feelings.
Get Emma today even if you don't read it you can tell your friends you own on of the classics by Jane Austen.
- Aunt Jane, Georgian Spinster Queen of English Prose
I'm reading Emma again for the third time. It happened like this: I thought I'd try an audio book on CD for the first time, something to listen to in the car besides music. Scanning the shelves at the local bookstore, I saw loads of contemporary best sellers, self and financial help, new age and evangelical Christian spirituality, and Jane Austen's Emma in MP3 format, all on one disc. Austen! Water in the desert! I scooped her up.
For the last week I've been listening to her in my car. At the beginning it was without much concentration. Over the next few days my attention gradually increased. Now I'm hooked. Down the throat. Through the gut. Again. It happens to me every time I return to Jane. I just can't get enough. The last two nights I've gone to bed reading ahead of where I've listened. Even though the story is coming back to me, I'm still taken by it, hook line & sinker. Jane's reeling me in, and the line is utterly slack.
Now, I am a guy. I break out in hives if I happen to accidentally brush a romance novel. As far as I am concerned, bodice rippers where the tall olive skinned duke inevitably has his forceful yet gentle way with the heroine are good only as ammunition with which to tease the women in my life who enjoy such tripe. Having said this, I realize a lot of people also refer to Jane Austen as "Chick Lit," equating her with the likes of Nicolas Sparks. For the record, those people are on crack.
Austen is much more a comedic writer than a writer of what we call romances. She is simply a hoot. Subtle disjunctures and ironies build to exquisite crescendos. She has me laughing every other page. Her characters, even her unpleasant and ridiculous ones, tend to breed sympathy. Like most of my favorite books, she creates worlds, or a world, really (all of her books are set in the same historic and geographic milieu,) which comforts and gladdens. The feeling I get from her is much like the feeling I get when I read Tolkien describe the Shire or Last Homely House, or something like the children's book Frog & Toad to my niece.
It's an eating poached egg on toast snuggled up inside under a quilt on the couch with a cup of tea on a rainy day kind of feeling. (Don't you just love English prepositions and phrasal verbs? Try doing that in French! Austen and phrasal verbs: two of the many reasons English speakers ought to rejoice in their language, I say!)
Anyway, during all of her stories, including Emma, Europe was being blown apart by the Napoleonic Wars, and the only oblique references in any of her stories to that maelstrom is that Great Britain has a mobilized Army (Pride & Prejudice) and an active Navy (Persuasion.) The reason the military is important has nothing to do with Austerlitz, Waterloo, Trafalgar or any of that nonsense. Rather, it is that both services have officers which make very suitable suitors for women of her heroines' social positions (Lt. Wickham & Capt. Wentworth, for example.)
Some brand this awful: elitist, sexist, parochial. I, for one, find it beautiful. Small, intimate, ordered, secure, anchored. Very human and sane, that is.
What matters most is not what some silly diminutive one armed Corsican with maniacal delusions of world conquest is doing; no. What really matters is whether and how Mr. Woodhouse takes his gruel, or if Mr. Elton will propose to Harriet. Or if Mr. Knightly and Mrs. Weston have come to visit yet, today. Will Mr. Frank Churchill come, and what is he like? Has Emma truly foiled Mr. Martin's advances on her friend, he being an entirely unsuitable yeoman farmer? Harriet must marry a gentleman, you see.
Just so. Indeed, these are truly the things that mattered- and still matter- most. Don't let the history books and the reverse snobbery of some critics fool you.
Instead go read this book, and every other that Jane wrote, and prepare to be enchanted. ...more info
- Almost as good as P&P!
I really enjoyed this a lot. It's not quite as good as Pride and Prejudice, but it is better than Sense and Sensibility. It still has a lot of things to say that are still very much pertinent to modern times. Austen's longest work is an entertaining romp that shows what happens when one young girl gets too involved in the affections of (and between) others. Although overlong, it's still a really, really entertaining read....more info
- EMMA: A Novel Of Growing Self-Awareness
In the constricted world of Jane Austen's EMMA, there is a general lack of a sense that anything exists beyond that which Emma can see or Austen can relate. Emma, her family, and friends live either in the small town of Hartfield or its equally miniscule environs. The action of the novel is more or less coterminous with the very real events of the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, or even just some whooping and hollering of some village bad boys. This smallness of space is matched by a smallness of psychological depth. Austen tacitly assumes that good is ubiquitous, and where good seems to be lacking, its normal contrary is not evil at all. Those who show a deficiency of good either are merely mischievous or are incapable of doing no more than sputtering about their evil. Further, those who sputter do so in isolation and do not seriously disrupt the social order. They are neither punished nor remorseful. In the interactions among the characters, Austen in EMMA makes a marked change in the basic makeup of her cast. In PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, for example, she shows only the landed gentry. But here, Austen presents a definite variation in character. It is this wider cast of type that allows Austen to play the magician and make the reader think that Austen's world is bigger than it is. And at the center of this static world is Emma herself, who, in the canon of Austen, is the heroine only in the broadest sense of the word.
For the first time in any of her novels, Austen gives the reader a heroine who has numerous grievous faults. Emma is a young headstrong woman who comes across as a huge snob. Emma describes Mrs. Elton, who is more purposeful in her mischief, as "self-important, presuming, familiar, ignorant, and ill-bred." Emma might as well have been talking about herself. Readers who note Emma's genteel manner allow that surface patina of gentility to suggest that there is a basic difference between her and Mrs. Elton. This difference is more a matter of degree than in kind. In her harsh treatment of Harriet Smith and disparagement of Jane Fairfax, Emma is more than thoughtless; she is downright sadistic. The best that can be said for her is that in the benevolent atmosphere of Jane Austen, nastiness is not permitted to materially affect the outcome. Those who are nasty are rendered impotent in their nastiness, like Mrs. Elton, or are allowed to improve by degrees through a slow process of self-realization, like Emma. And it is this growing understanding of Emma's own faults that is at heart the theme of the book. The plot, which is really an incredibly contorted series of misunderstandings based mostly on Emma's constant misapprehensions of who loves whom, is the hook by which the theme comes into play. Regardless of who tries mightily to set things aright, the only one who can teach Emma to look inwardly for wisdom is Emma herself. The comedy that results from all these miscalculations sets up the satire which arises from the contrast between the way Emma misreads relationships and the way that the readers do not. Despite the fact that some readers complain that the smallness of setting renders the smallness of the morality as insignificant is to misunderstand why each new generation of reader finds Emma to be an uplifting vision of the regeneration of a woman that is probably not unlike many of her readers.
- Satisfying Romance
This book was a pretty funny societal review from Jane Austen's point of view, pointing out the hypocrisies of London at the time but not failing to do justice to the integretity of the characters. I loved the book...what more can I say? It's definitely geared towards females, obviously, but anyone can read it for lighthearted, enjoyable reading. It isn't that long of a book, and, after all, its a classic. So read it as soon as possible!...more info
- Too clever by half
So what does a "handsome, clever, and rich" girl like Emma Woodhouse do when she has no professional aspirations and no intention ever to marry? In addition to painting, playing the piano, and condescendingly visiting the poor, she is what might be called a social organizer, which primarily means finding husbands for single women and arranging all the social details involved in doing so. Her decision not to marry stems from her opinion, conceited but sincere, that there's not a man out there who could entertain her as a lifemate; and besides, with her mother pushing up daisies and her older sister Isabella living away in her own marriage, she already has a husband: her father.
Jane Austen's novel weaves a group of several characters, balanced almost equally between men and women, into a web of romance in which the reader is led through various scenes and situations in a guessing game of who will end up with whom. Emma makes herself the prime mover of this group, but she is not as infallible a love broker as she would like to think. After she has successfully matched her childhood governess Miss Taylor with an affluent man named Weston, she turns her attention to the naive and impressionable Harriet Smith, for whom she has identified the young vicar Mr. Elton as a suitable beau. But then Elton declares his love for Emma, who of course is not interested in him, and...oh, what a mess.
The plot thickens when a pretty girl named Jane Fairfax arrives in town to inspire Emma's curiosity and jealousy because she, unlike Harriet, is charming enough not to need Emma's assistance and tutelage. The main heartthrob among the women is Frank Churchill, actually Weston's son from a previous marriage, an impulsive and not totally honest young man whose amorous unpredictabilities shake the foundations of Emma's schemes. The man designed to be a traditional hero is George Knightley, sixteen years Emma's senior, who acts as Emma's moral anchor and monitors her matchmaking endeavors, gently cutting her down to size when her head gets a little too big, such as when she tells him that Robert Martin, a farmer, isn't of the proper class to be Harriet's husband.
Austen maintains the right narrative pace, giving her major characters just enough room to develop themselves plausibly through interactions with some colorful minor characters. Emma's father, the slow-on-the-uptake Mr. Woodhouse, a man of extreme sensitivity to gastronomical disorders and temperature fluctuations, is an innocuous but amiable fellow who appreciates his daughter's loyal devotion but is judiciously content to remain in the background of her life and activities. The Highbury seniors are represented by the elderly Mrs. Bates and her slightly less elderly daughter Miss Bates, who has a marvelous talent for prattling about trifles in which nobody else is interested. She can be outdone only by Miss Suckling, the annoying chatterbox Elton decides to marry after being jilted by Emma.
Emma is not a bad or cruel person--she genuinely feels guilty about Harriet's continual romantic misfortunes and her own momentary sarcastic behavior towards Miss Bates. However, it cannot be denied that she's a snob whose goal is a Perfect Society with all the right ladies married to the right men, and to hell with all those other little people (the farmers, the servants, the unattractive, etc.) who don't fit into her master plan. But Austen herself admitted this much, showing that Emma is far from perfect herself and allowing her to learn a lesson in humility by the end of the novel, for which she is duly rewarded--the denouement is a little too neat, but of a style so familiar to us by now that "Emma" seems nearly two centuries ahead of its time.
- Emma - a romantic classic
I read Emma maybe a year ago, and I absolutely loved it! It's my favorite novel from Jane Austen followed by Pride & Prejudice. In fact I only like those two novels out of the six she wrote, but anyway, Emma was a really good read. The best part about this novel is that it isn't about a girl who is looking for love, it's about a girl who unexpectedly finds love where it has been all the time. Talk about right under your nose. Emma is friendly, kind, naive, smart, loyal, whitty, clever, innocent, and definatley worth reading. I truly love this book because I love romance in it's purest form, true love, when you know that these two characters will spend the rest of their lives together and will love each other faithfully! That's why I love this book, and Pride & Prejudice is the same way, maybe I'll write a review for that too, hope this helps you out, and buy the book!...more info
- A Wonderful Novel
Siri Amster- Olszewski
August 24, 2006
Emma, by Jane Austen, was one of the most enjoyable books I have read recently. I chose to read Emma because, having read and loved Pride and Prejudice by the same author, I wanted to explore her other books as well. The characters in Austen's stories are both intriguing and comical and her description of the era in which they take place creates a clear view of society in those times
I was enchanted with Emma because Austen beautifully blends together a simple story of a girl and a documentation of the societal behaviors of the time. It provides insights into the life and social customs of a lady living in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
One of the book's principle topics is marriage. The main character, Emma, approves of matchmaking for marriage and, through her, the reader gets a view into the different motives for marriage. For some people, marriage was simply a way to advance in social status; for others, marriage was for love. In Emma's time, marriages had to be matched according to social status. One could not marry below their status. Marrying too far above one's status could end up disastrously.
The book tells the story of Emma Woodhouse who is a pretty, wealthy, poised, and clever young woman. Her mother died when she was too young to remember or miss her and was raised mainly by her governess, Miss Taylor. Miss Taylor behaved like a best friend rather than a governess due to her mild temper and love for Emma. Therefore, Emma grew up without any firm rules or structure. This freedom caused her to think quite highly of herself and of her opinions. It was her excessive self-confidence that led her to often make mistakes creating misfortunes for others and embarrassment for herself.
Jane Austen, by the style of her writing, creates some well-defined character while including other character that are left more open to the reader interpretations. For example, while Emma's faults are very apparent, I found her innocence to be charming and it created sympathy for her character. Other examples of characters like Emma are Jain Fairfax, Harriet Smith, and Mr. Elton. In contrast the character of Mr. Knightly, the family friend is set in stone. Within the first few pages of the book he is established as the moral role model of the story. Mr. Woodhouse, Mr. Weston, Mrs. Weston (the former Miss Taylor), Frank Churchill, and Miss Bates are all other characters that give off a particular feeling, the feeling that Austen intended. These characters all have good and bad qualities, all of which are left up to the interpretation of the reader. The novel is written in third person, however the detached narrator often sees through Emma's point of view. Having the effect of a not so neutral bystander.
I highly recommend Emma to anyone who enjoys a light-hearted, witty book that captivates and enchants. While reading this book you will find yourself captivated in the pages of one of Jane Austen's masterpieces. ...more info
It seems as though there is a law that every edition of one of Jane Austen's books must be published with a painting of a formal lady or ladies on the cover. In the case of Emma, such a painting is, perhaps, most appropriate. Emma, unsurprisingly, tells the story of a young woman named Emma. She is, as we are quickly told, spoiled and head-strong. And, as is always the case in Ms. Austen's heroines, young and unmarried.
Emma has recently lost her sister/mother-figure to marriage and appears doomed to a lifetime of seclusion with her kindly, but odd and hermited father. To avoid such a result, at least for a time, Emma sets to matchmaking. She finds a neighborhood girl with only limited prospects and attempts to launch her into the stratosphere of an advantageous marriage. Irony abounds.
This novel reads much like Jane Austen's other materials. The text is dense, but witty and, at times, quite funny. The action, such as it is, is slow paced and revolves around the joining together of various singles into couples. The themes are, as is often said of Austen, private. The manners, speech and attitudes are largely dated.
I do not consider myself a great Jane Austen fan, but there is no doubting her greatness in crafting this novel. The characters are as lifelike as ever an author has produced. The plotting is intricate. Indeed, only a second or third reading reveals the many hints and suggestions laid before the unknowing reader on his first journey through the book. The text absolutely sparkles with wit - there are, in fact, moments where one might laugh out loud. This is without reservation a book that any reader would do well to peruse and study.
That said, I find it difficult to overlook the attitudes of an earlier age and that impacts my enjoyment of the book. The casual tyranny of Jane Austen's protagonists is jarring to the modern eye. Indeed, much of Jane Austen's value system is repugnant to me. Of course, one tries to read the book with respect to the time at which it was written. In doing so, one finds a beautifully written book about a delightful set of characters who comedically come together. Ghastly prejudice, however, is very close to the surface, particularly in this book of Austen's....more info
- The best book i've ever read
I've been reading ever since I was younger, and have always enjoyed it.. After reading all of Nicholas Sparks novels, I decided to go in a different direction and read some classics.. I decided upon Jane Austen after reading reviews of her novels.. So I bought Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Emma.. I choose Emma to read first because I thought it would be less interesting than the others.. How wrong I was! I absolutely loved this book, it's the best novel I have ever read.. Now I fear that the others will not be nearly as good as this one.. I agree with the others that the beginning is rather slow, but it picks up towards the middle so just stick with it! You will not be sorry.. I have no other words to describe this book other than amazing! ...more info
- The first Austen I ever read...
...and still my favorite (yes, even over Pride and Prejudice). It a good one to start with if you've never read one of Austen's novels before....more info
- Jane Austen's Masterpiece
Of all of Jane Austen's books, this one certainly gets my vote for the best. I loved it because I could relate to the character of Emma. No, she isnt perfect, but her flaws are part of what makes her so real. While the Bennett women were certainly by no means perfect either (the crazy mother immediately took away any hopes of that), they always seemed rather flat to me. Emma is witty and charming, but with a degree of authenticity that makes her seem less like a character in a novel, and more like your best friend. highly recommend. ...more info
- Poco argumento
Emma narra la historia de una joven impulsiva y consentida cuyo principal objetivo es encontrar el marido perfecto y no solo para ella sino tambien para su amiga Harriet, una chica de origenes humildes. A tal fin, Emma Woodhouse se empe?a en manipular a todos los que la rodean, pero, naturalmente no para de equivocarse y provocar enredos y situaciones embarazosas. Solo Mr. Knightley, diecisiete a?os mayor que ella y hombre de temple y aplomo aprobados, se atreve a reprocharle su comportamiento de ni?a mimada e insensata...
Una novela un poco aburrida, frivola y sin demasiado argumento...more info
- Slow going but worth the read
Had this story been written in a more contemporary style, my review would have been totally favorable. I found the story to be quite sweet, with great characters and a wholesome storyline.
Unfortunately, this particular style of writing for me, as a fourteen year old, was a tad daunting. I found it slow, with way too many words and descriptions. I found myself often wishing she would just get to the point.I would have awarded more stars if it wasn't so difficult for me to get through....more info
...However not nearly as bad as _Sense and Sensibility_. The characters seem a little less sterotypical here, and while _S and S_ was harshly critical of the snobbery of the upper class the main heroine in _Emma_ is herself one of these people, which makes it interesting. She is a busy- body who meddles in the affairs of others and thinks she alone can judge the motives of everyone else with exactness. Although she is very proud, she is not overbearing or mean (except to those she snubs) and we like her.
The plot doesn't hold much to it, though. It is filled with what has become typical plot devices of the romance novel-- the comedic misunderstandings between people as they miss each others meanings completely, as well as the "knowing/not-knowing" and the "does she love me/love me not" devices which are utterly over-used and stale to most contemporary readers. Perhaps these were fresh in Austen's day. That to one side, even the plot itself was too simplistic and much too easy to see through. These shortcomings combine to leave the reader with a sense of tedium. It does not "work" today, classic or not....more info
- Jane Austen's Fourth Novel
Emma was the first Jane Austen book I've ever read &, originally, I liked it much more than Pride And Prejudice but I've since changed my mind. While I love this book, it's not my favorite anymore.
Emma is such a fun character because she is so sure that what she's doing is right when all the while she's just making a mess of things. The best part about her is that when she sees that she is wrong, she can laugh at herself & learn from her mistakes.
Mr. Knightly is one of my favorite Austen characters. His name says it all, "knightly." He is the perfect gentlemen...possibly moreso than Mr. Darcy, even.
The characters in this book, as in all Jane Austen books, represent both the follies & goodness in human nature, which is what I love about her writing. This is a wonderful book that I highly recommend for anyone new to Jane Austen.
- Tough going
Reading this novel was slow going. As a guy, I found the lack of action stultifying, and the flashes of humor were too quaint for me to derive any pleasure from them. The answer to the book's primary riddle--who shall Emma marry?--becomes obvious early on, and everything else is just a tedious pairing off until that riddle is expressly answered. There's a bit of local and historical color, but rarely does the narrative rise above the description of, say, a summer outing. Not one of Jane Austen's best....more info
- A single woman in possession of a good writing talent must be in want of an editor...
While this novel is certainly a cut above most modern fiction, Emma is not Austen's best work. In contrast with Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey's tight narrative structures, Emma is long and rambling. The narrative presents many insignificant details even as it leaves out more important scenes. For example, we are privy to several examples of Miss Bates' idle chatter, but Harriet's capture by the gypsies and Robert Martin's proposal happen offstage. Although Miss Bates is supposed to be a lovable character, I found myself putting the book down during one of her conversations and not returning to it for several months (which is unusual, as I read Northanger Abbey in a day).
Nevertheless, the novel does have its redeeming features. Several people have noted that they disliked Emma's snobbishness, but we're not meant to adore her, and the author gently pokes fun at her elitism. Prior to the book's publication, Austen wrote that she feared no one else would love Emma as much as she did, so the protagonist is not intended to be a likeable character. Her flaws balance out her good traits, such as her wit and liveliness. Her dialogues with Mr. Knightley and even Harriet contain subtle zingers that may not be readily apparent to a 20th century reader the first time around. If you think you didn't like this book, you will appreciate it more on a second reading (and you can always skim the boring parts, like poor Miss Bates!). You will learn a great deal about the classist ideology lurking beneath Regency Britain's prim veneer. And if nothing else, reading with the intent to pick up on the characters' oblique but witty repartee will help you sharpen your own wit and social skills. ...more info
- Delightful! Read it and read it again!
I haven't read a Jane Austen novel in years. The last time I read one of her novels I was very young and it was not by choice. If you want to rediscover Jane Austen, start with Emma. This novel is about a very snobby, spoiled, and at times malicious young lady by the name of Emma Woodhouse. Emma lives in the village of Highbury with her hypchondriac father. After Emma's Governess, who throughout the book is known as Mrs Weston marries, Emma is left with a lot of time on her hands. I'm afraid she does not use this time wisely.
Emma finds a new friend and protege in Harriet Smith, a young lady with an unknown past who Emma takes under her wing. Emma brings it upon herself to give young Harriet somewhat of a social makeover. She induces her to aspire to greatness and put on airs proper to a lady of Emma's class, although she's not even sure what class Harriet belongs to. When Harriet is offered marriage by a farmer by the name of Mr Martin, Emma is horrified! She convinces Harrriet that such a man is hardly worthy of her and intices her to find romance with the handsome but vain vicor, Mr Elton. Emma's disasterous matchmaking decison is the focus of the book.
I found this novel incredibly amusing! Emma's unbashed snobbery, Harriet's ignorance, Mr Woodhouse's constant worry of illness befalling every character in the book. This book is literally laugh out loud funny at times. The novel features many other equally amusing characters. Mr Knightley, Emma's sister's brother-in-law, who is the one person in the novel to always tell Emma how it really is. The chatty and annoying Mrs Bates, the insufferable Augusta Elton who is almost as full of herself as Emma.
When Jane Austen wrote this book she claimed no one but herself would like Emma Woodhouse. Emma is conceited and selfish, but the beauty of this book is that Emma is forced to come to terms with what her behavior has caused her and those she loves. The Emma you meet at the beginning of the novel is not the same Emma that you say goodbye to at the end.
If you want a simple description of what this novel is about I will tell you that it is about a young lady's road to maturity and growth. Jane Austen isn't for everyone, but if you are curious or want to give her novels another try, start with Emma. It's guaranteed to renew your interest in one of the greatest writers in English literature. Five stars!!...more info
- My thoughts refer to the unabridged audiobook
Almost universally, I find books to be far superior to their movie version, and I think most avid readers would be inclined to agree. However, in this case, without having seen the film first, I never would have considered reading this book because I often steer away from classics, finding them difficult to understand and hard to follow. I was quite enamoured with the highly romantic film Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam that I felt inspired to listen to this audiobook. The reader did an outstanding job of making me feel as though the story was happening around me and I was a part of this community, and actively participating in their festivities.
Of course, my analytical mind couldn't help comparing and contrasting the book with the film. There are so many different characters, many of whom had very minor roles, or were spoken of but never appeared in any actual scene. Having seen the film first, it was far easier to "know" who everyone was, and how they related to each other. The book had many more scenes that filled in more details and had deeper character development, which drew me into the story more intensely than before. There were aspects of the film that seemed more romantic (the interactions between Emma and Mr Knightly, for example), and I preferred the way the film ended as compared to the book. But in both versions, Mr. Knightly was extremely swoon-worthy!!!
I feel very inspired to read the book in print, now that I am sure to understand and appreciate it to its fullest. And I have just ordered the DVD film version starring Kate Beckensale, which is reputed to be the most romantic of all!! I have officially been "turned-on" to Jane Austen, and plan to read her other books, comparing and contrasting them to their respective film versions as I have so enjoyed doing with Emma.