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Emma: (A Modern Library E-Book)
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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. So begins Jane Austen's comic masterpiece Emma. In Emma, Austen's prose brilliantly elevates, in the words of Virginia Woolf, the trivialities of day-to-day existence, of parties, picnics, and country dances of early-nineteenth-century life in the English countryside to an unrivaled level of pleasure for the reader. At the center of this world is the inimitable Emma Woodhouse, a self-proclaimed matchmaker who, by the novel's conclusion, just may find herself the victim of her own best intentions.

This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes newly commissioned notes on the text.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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

Customer Reviews:

  • Poor KINDLE edition
    I'm writing in reference to the Kindle version of this book. Since I like the book itself, I gave 2 stars; however, this version was lacking in extras. I was seriously disappointed to find no footnotes, no introduction, no nothing. Just the book pure and simple. To top it off, there were many instances of multiple words jammedtogetherlikethis. I wish the 'sample' had been available when I ordered it from my Kindle. I certainly would have chosen another one of the available editions....more info
  • EMMA
    Emma (Barnes & Noble Classics)
    Great Book if you like the classics as I do. Quality of the pages is very good (acid free should you wish to keep it and, smooth texture)....more info
  • 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
  • nice - but not much else.
    It's not that I don't like Emma as a character, I do! It's great that she's a bit flawed and gets into messes because of her arrogance, and I even liked the storyline (though to be honest it's probably only because of "Clueless") to a certain extent - I just felt it was a little dull.

    Nothing ever really seemed to happen. People just talked. A lot. And I felt that the whole 367 pages (of my copy) could have been cut down to 150 - at least! The one possibly exciting part (Harriet and the gypsies) you didn't see happen, as it was only ever talked about. Like the rest of the book.

    It's the first Austen I've read and has - I hate to say - slightly put me off trying any of her others, although I probably will in time.

    If you like charming books of light humour and romance - or just Austen - I'm sure you'll enjoy Emma, but if like me, you are used to a bit more excitement and adventure, you might want to try something else. Sweet, but not much else.
    ...more info
  • Terrible
    This is the first time that I am writing an Amazon review, and I am doing it because this novel is possibly the worst book that I have ever read. The book has no plot. It is simply a love story with some irony mixed into the plot. Jane Austen is a terrible writer who takes three pages to describe a simple idea, and clearly she does not know that run-on sentences are not appealing to readers. Some sentences even go on for pages. Please do not read this book or any of Jane Austen's books! They are all trash with no plotline and shallow characters. Yes, I do hate Jane Austen....more info
  • Priceless Gem
    I saw the BBC film adaptation of this (not the one with Gwyneth Paltrow) AND Clueless before reading this, so I was expecting to have some difficulty, as tends to happen when I've seen the film first.

    However, I really enjoyed reading and although it takes some getting used to, I enjoyed the rich and interesting dialogue and language.

    This is the third Jane Austen book I have read - after Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. This is by far my favourite as I thought the character of Emma was very well developed and very enjoyable - I couldn't help but love her despite her pride and prejudices. Haha.

    I did attempt to read Pride & Prejudice a few years back and gave up because of Austen's writing style. Emma has encouraged me to persevere, and I just love the P&P BBC series - it's amazing!

    Emma (the book and the character) is not to everyone's taste but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this....more info
  • Emma
    I had already read this Jane Austen classic twice. I decided to buy a copy of my own so that when I want to read it again, I will have a copy here at home. This is one of my favorites.

    ...more info
  • Arrogance and Love (How can you not like this book?)
    Jane Austen's Emma was a wonderful book. I think it gives Pride and Prejudice a run for its money because you get to see Emma grow as a person from being arragont to being kind.

    Now here is a basic Readers' Digest summary. Emma Woodhouse, a bright and wealthy young woman, and her father lose Emma's governess, Mrs. Weston("poor miss Taylor") because she has gotten married. Emma brags to a good family friend,Mr. Knightley, that she predicted the match herself. She then wants to be a matchmaker. However, Mr. Woodhouse decides to disapprove of every marriage.

    To replace Mrs. Weston, Emma befriends Harriet Smith, a young poor girl wiht no record of her real birth mother. The two become good friends. Emma finds a wealthy man, Mr. Elton, that she thinks would be perfect for Harriet. Harriet grows to love Mr. Elton, but the feeling isn't mutual.

    A poor old maid, Miss Bates has her niece, Jane Fairfax, visit the town. Emma is envious of Jane because Jane is everything Emma wants to be: respected, elegant, and musical.

    Frank Churchill, Mrs. Weston's step-son, visits the town. Charming and handsome, he pays much attention to Emma. Many speculate the two as a perfect match. While others approve, Mr. Knightley is determined to think ill of him.

    Well, I'm sorry, but I hate giving away books, but believe me, this book is worth it. I will warn you that Austen tends to ramble on, but if you hang in there you will love it!...more info
  • Over-glorified
    ...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
  • 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
  • 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.
    ...more info
  • What's Love Got To Do With It?

    One could hardly have lived in a more constricted and insular world than did Jane Austen and yet she managed to bring her world to life with wit, vividness and insight that are rarely found in the works of today's modern authors.

    Although PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is generally considered Austen's masterpiece as well as her "sunniest" novel, I believe I like EMMA just a little more because it is a little more complex. The overly indulged daughter of a self-indulgent man, Emma, though well-intentioned and always displaying impeccable manners, certainly isn't without fault. She is, to put it mildly, accustomed to "having her own way" and she's possessed of a "disposition to think a little too well of herself." A "little too well of herself," indeed. Residing at the pinnacle of society, Emma believes if the world doesn't revolve around her, rather than the sun, then it should.

    The plot of EMMA centers around romance and courtship and showcases the distinctions of gender and class as well as the importance of manners and decorum that were so prevalent in Austen's England. Although encompassing a rather convoluted plot, EMMA is really the story of Emma, herself, and how she evolves from a self-indulgent and shallow girl, albeit a very intelligent and clever one, into a considerate and giving woman, one who is able to make the compromises love and marriage require.

    As the novel opens, Emma, who lives with her widowed father on a large estate called Hartfield, near the village of Highbury, has just lost her longtime governess and companion, Anne Taylor, to marriage with a wealthy denizen of Highbury society, Mr. Weston.

    The vain and self-centered Emma feels adrift without someone to amuse her, so, to fill the void left by Miss Taylor, Emma "adopts" seventeen-year-old Harriet Smith as her "new" best friend.

    At first glance, Harriet would seem to be a rather odd choice as a friend for Emma, for the two girls could hardly be more different. Harriet is an orphan whose parental origins are unknown, and she lives at the boarding school where she is an assistant to its headmistress, Mrs. Goddard. Worse yet, Harriet is both immature and insecure, and as such, she indulges all of Emma's worst qualities. An inveterate meddler, Emma, immediately upon taking Harriet under her wing, decides to play matchmaker and prevails upon her to refuse a very good and sincere proposal of marriage from Robert Martin, a local farmer. Harriet, Emma tells her, should set her sights a bit higher. In fact, Emma already has the "perfect" husband-to-be chosen for Harriet...Philip Elton, the local vicar. The only problem is...Philip Elton has set his sights set on Emma.

    Enter Mr. George Knightly, a thirty-seven-year-old bachelor and master of Donwell Abbey. Mr. Knightly's older brother, John, is married to Emma's older sister, Isabella, and while John can be quite severe and impatient, George is a paragon of sincerity and good breeding. Throughout the book, George Knightly will function as the one voice of calm, level-headed reason, and, additionally, he'll be the only person not afraid to point out Emma's faults to her and criticize her when he thinks necessary.

    Of all the many characters in EMMA, George Knightly is the most consistent, the one who doesn't undergo much change. In this respect, EMMA differs greatly from typical romance novels, even romances of Austen's day. Books with strong romantic subplots, both then and now, usually require the male character, rather than the female, to change before he's capable of mature love.

    Mr. Knightly first shows us his criticism of Emma when he opposes her friendship with Harriet Smith, for he has the insight to see that the friendship not only does neither girl any good, but brings about harm, instead. Furthermore, Mr. Knightly's insights are shown to be correct when Philip Elton breaks Harriet Smith's heart and surprises Emma and marries the vulgar-but-wealthy Augusta Hawkins.

    As Mr. Knightly points out, a more fitting friend for Emma would be Jane Fairfax, an orphan of much higher social status than Harriet, but below Emma. Emma, though, is annoyed by Jane Fairfax, but not because of any negative qualities inherent in Jane, herself. Quite the opposite; Jane Fairfax is, like Emma, herself, charming, intelligent and beautiful...qualities that certainly don't please the vain and self-centered Emma. While Harriet's company allows Emma to shine, Emma would most likely have to share the limelight with Jane and sharing the limelight is not something Emma is accustomed to do, nor does she want to become accustomed to doing it.

    Although EMMA may seem to be a fairly straightforward story of love, courtship, and marriage, it would be doing the book, and Austen, a grave injustice if one failed to delve more deeply into the social dynamics that govern its world.

    In EMMA, one's status in society is of paramount importance. With the exception of royalty, the landed gentry, as exemplified by the Woodhouse and Knightly families, stand at the top of the social ladder. Those engaged in trade, no matter how wealthy, can never hope to achieve the status of the landowners, a fact that places Mr. Weston (the husband of Anne Taylor) just below them. Each person must know his or her own place in society and keep to it, adhering to its dictates and conventions. When one attempts to "break societal rank" as did poor Harriet Smith, nothing but heartbreak can follow.

    Very interestingly, the characters show an almost total disregard for love and affection, even where marriage is concerned. Especially where marriage is concerned. Once again, both class and social status are the prime motivators. This is shown most clearly when Emma, herself, decides that a character named Frank Churchill would make an ideal husband for her even though she has never even met him. She knows Frank Churchill's status in society, she knows his reputation, she knows his family. Whether or not Emma "loves" Frank Churchill is beside the point and not really taken into consideration. This is made all the more curious, at least to modern day readers, by the fact that Emma, as a wealthy heiress and one very highly placed in society, could really marry anyone she chooses and get away with it, unlike poor Harriet Smith or even the impoverished Jane Fairfax who must choose their spouses wisely and "make a good match." Even when a woman does acquire a fianc¨¦, in Emma's world, propriety and decorum dictate that she not call him by his first name until after they are man and wife.

    The most complex characters in the book are, undoubtedly, Emma Woodhouse, herself, and Frank Churchill. Frank Churchill is something of an enigma, as is Jane Fairfax, for much of the novel, but Austen eventually makes all motivations clear.

    EMMA is primarily Emma Woodhouse's book, but it is not hers entirely. Austen skillfully weaves the stories of George Knightly, Harriet Smith, Robert Martin, Jane Fairfax, Frank Churchill, Philip Elton, Augusta Hawkins and several others around Emma's. At times, especially when character motivations are clouded, the book almost has the air of a mystery novel about it, though, as in all of Austen's books, social comedy and irony take center stage.

    During the time Jane Austen was writing, the Romantic movement was approaching its zenith. Wordsworth and Beethoven were contemporaries of Austen. Austen, however, never really indulged in the intense emotionalism of Romanticism, preferring, instead, to concentrate on the foibles of domesticity. Order was far more important to Austen than was emotion, and in EMMA, order is far more important to both Emma and her father, and to George Knightly, than is change. The realization of making a "good" marriage is far more important than the experience of love.

    EMMA richly deserves its place among the classics of English literature. Not only does the book encompass a timeless story, it is set against the backdrop of the English social strata. Most importantly, however, is the novel's centerpiece...Emma, herself, a woman who seems to have all the answers, except those that concern her own heart.


    Recommended: To all lovers of great literature.
    ...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
  • Emma
    Emma, written by Jane Austen is story about a clever, rich, and high society woman, named Emma Woodhouse. Throughout the beginning of the novel, Emma is portrayed a na?ve child, with a broad imagination. Due to her broad imagination, Emma bases her own happiness solely upon her matchmaking abilities. However, although Emma has the best intentions, her actions eventually lead to the worst results.
    Through the key marriages of Mr. Elton, Mr. Churchill, and Mr. Knightley, the theme of self-revelation through the actions of marriage is revealed in the novel, Emma.
    Emma attempts to make a match between When Harriet Smith and Mr. Elton. However she is blinded in noticing Mr. Elton's love for her. Mr. Elton does declare his love for Emma, which leaves her bewildered. After this incident, Emma's first revelation is that her matchmaking abilities are flawed and resolves that she will no longer match-make.
    Emma then meets Frank Churchill. Emma soon begins to realize that she might be in love with Frank Churchill. However, soon after Emma learns of the impending marriage between Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax.
    However, soon after this event, Emma's third revelation begins to arise. Emma recovers from the disappointing event concerning the marriage of Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax, and finds herself suddenly appreciating Mr. Knightley. Emma now begins to realize at this point in the novel that Mr. Knightley is her true love.
    In the beginning of the novel, Emma Woodhouse is portrayed as a conceited and imaginative child, who lacks the knowledge of true love and self-respect. At the end of the novel, through the events of marriage between Mr. Elton, Mr. Churchill, and Mr. Knightley, Emma ironically becomes a mature and selfless woman. Although Emma's character throughout the novel changes dramatically from a spoiled heiress to a mature and selfless woman, I believe that Emma's endurance and triumph of numerous obstacles of oppression, gave her the strength to liberate herself from her stereotypically society, thus allowing her to realize and attain her own desires and dreams.
    In conclusion, I would consider Emma a very good book. However, I think the novel's only faults are that it was extremely long and at some points very difficult to understand.

    ...more info
  • Wanders, But Has A Strong Ending
    The present novel is about the young women, Emma Woodhouse, who lives a pampered life with her father in Sussex. The family is well off financially and one of the wealthiest in Hartfield, part of Highbury. Her mother has passed away and her sister has married and left the home. Emma's governess, who is her best friend as well, has gone leaving Emma alone with her father. The story revolves around Emma's social life in the town and the development of Emma as a person. Beyond knowing those facts, you should not read any more about the plot until you read the novel, or you will risk spoiling the read. I will not give away the plot, but will only describe the writing style and structure.

    I read Austen's "Mansfield Park," then read some analysis by Nabokov from his Cornell "Lectures on Literature" and the comments of Jane Stabler from the introduction of the Oxford version. After that I got a bit excited and read Austen's early writing "Sense and Sensibility," along with the analysis by Margaret Doody in the Oxford version. Yes, I guess I am now an Austen fan, and it is a pity that she did not live longer. "Pride and Prejudice" was my third Austen novel and so far the most fun to read.

    Based on the four novels written over two different time periods, it is clear that she developed a certain fixed writing style and a common structure. She uses the early pages to introduce the families, and other characters, and give start the story. She moves characters around from place to place in part for time shifting. She does a wrap up in the last few chapters.

    Those opening chapters are an obstacle for most readers. She uses her own vocabulary and has an unusual way of structuring her prose. That structure is a trademark of Austen's writing. Also, she manages to work in a lot of drama and social issues with some humour and irony.

    From what Nabokov and others are saying, she got her inspiration from Sheridan, Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sir Walter Scott, and the poetry of Cowper. She modulates the complexity of the prose to reflect the characters - such as making the sentences of Sir Thomas Bertram in "Mansfield Park" somewhat elaborate instead of describing how the character is dressed or a similar description to convey qualities and traits, i.e.: she uses the complexity of speech to convey character. Also, she uses lateral shifts and epigrammatic notations and similar literary techniques. These techniques are interesting for some readers but just confusing for others. It is all part of the price of admission to entering the world of Jane Austen, and it is part of the fun in reading her novels.

    Overall, once you get past reading and digesting 50 pages or so and have absorbed the Jane Austen vocabulary (words such as felicity, remonstrance, countenance, etc.) and understand the structure of her prose, the book becomes a compelling read. The second Austen novel seems much easier than the first.

    This was written by a mature Jane Austen and by way of comparison, it is an interesting read but less complicated than "Mansfield Park." It not as interesting nor as witty as "Pride and Prejudice." The read is slow and a bit diffuse since there is no clear set of protagonists other than Emma, her brother-in-law, her reserved father and a few other residents of the town. The novel wanders for 350 pages, then comes together strongly at the end. Overall, it is a delightful and a pleasant read....more info
  • Delightful Reading!
    Austen weaves a brilliant tale of Emma Woodhouse, a young socialite, and her community in Victorian England. Emma cannot resist inserting herself into the affairs and pursuits of her neighbors and dear friends and the resulting chaos is delightful. Emma is indeed a flawed character, but so are the others in this tale, which makes it all the more authentic. Emma's belated realizations of the results of her machinations are humorous as well as often disastrous. Feeling she must match her new protogee, Harriet Smith, with a suitable husband, Emma manages to mangle the situation not once but three separate times. Of course in the end it all comes out well but it is a wonderful ride. Highly recommended....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
  • Emma
    Jane Austen's, Emma, is about an upper-class young woman from the 18th century. She is the protagonist and makes a hobby out of match making. By doing so she injures her companion, because she is blind to other peoples' feelings and opinions. Emma is a benevolent character, but she is incredibly misguided. The only person who can criticize her is Mr. George Knightly. They have grown-up together and their relationship develops as the novel progresses.
    Most of the plot is propelled by Emma's antics and schemes to contro the people around her. Comical witticisms pervade the novel. The more Emma attempts to steer her peers toward certain paths the more she discovers her own lack of direction. The theme of marriage is evidents as it is the central focus for nearly every character. Some renounce it while others advise prudent matches. In the end, Emma must stop wielding others and concentrate on her own ambitions regarding marriage.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Emma. I also read Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. Both of these paled in comparison to Emma. I found myself with a perpetual smile on my face as Emma got herself in and out of mischief. She is so likable that I was constantly rooting for her. She was great because of her fallibility. Her mistakes weer always out of good intentions.
    The novel is romantic, yet not in an effusive way where there is some Adonis spouting sonnets. It is more subtle and underplayed. It is above all a story about society. I learned a lot about the role of women in this time period. Emma is extremely intellectual and her only outlet for her intellect is in trying to play Cupid. Also, a woman's solitary means of advancing her situation is though matrimony. This explained the emphasis on connections.
    The only character that slightly peeved me was Mr. Knightly. He is the handsome "prince charming" and mentor to Emma. It is his infallibility that makes him so aggravating. Knightly was always right and Emma was always wrong. I wanted her to be right for once and laugh at him for being precocious. This, of course, never happened. Ultimately, Emma is one of my favorite historical fiction novels....more info
  • Emma Enchanting
    "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings in existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress ir vex her."
    So begins Jane Austen's classic novel of the mishaps of matchmaking. Upon the marriage of her governess, a match Emma purports to have arranged herself, Emma next turns to finding a suitable husband for her new young friend, Harriet Smith. She encourages Harriet into an infatuation with the vicar, Mr. Elton. Her plans fall apart, however, when Elton reveals to Emma that she is the true object of his affections. Rejected, Mr. Elton flees to Bath and finds a wife almost immediately. When the long-awaited Frank Churchill finally comes to visit, the entire social set of Highbury is swept into a tangle of suspicion, charm and deceit. Although Frank is commonly viewed as a perfect match for Emma, she feels only friendship for him, and views him instead as a potential husband for Harriet. In spite of Emma's multiple failed attempts at matchmaking, there are two couples married and one engaged by the end of the novel.
    Jane Austen was one of eight children, the daughter of an upper middle-class clergyman. Although her family was not wealthy, they led comfortable, socially respectable lives. Well-educated and with a love of reading, Jane Austen began to write at the age of twelve. She never married. Her first novel, Sense & Sensibility, was published in 1811, followed by Pride & Prejudice. All of her novels were published anonymously. She died in 1817, and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.
    I found this book to be as charming and delightful as the film, which I first fell in love with long ago. Jane Austen's wit is very much in evidence throughout the novel, and greatly improves what might otherwise be a somewhat dry style. Austen referred to Emma as "a heroine whom no one but myself will like much." However, I found Emma to be engaging and delightful. I recommend this book to all fans of Jane Austen....more info
  • Favorite book for light reading
    I appreciated the service I received. My order arrived in a timely manner, well packaged, great service. I'll surely use again....more info
  • Bargain on a classic
    I purchased 10 of these for my reading club.
    They were delighted with the attactive, light
    weight book, and the great price!...more info
  • A True Romantic Comedy....
    The title character of "Emma" is unique among the heroines of Jane Austen's novels. She is "handsome, clever, and rich" and at twenty-one years of age, inexperienced in life. Further, for most of the novel, Emma is not actively seeking a husband. The grim economic necessity that made finding the right husband so important for Lizzie Bennet and her counterparts in the other novels does not apply. Emma can therefore be allowed to be foolish in her social forays, even to fail, without impairing the audience's ability to enjoy the resulting romantic comedy.

    Emma lives at the estate of Hartfield with her doting but hypochondriac father. Their social status as the leading family of Highbury is unquestioned. The recent marriage of Emma's governess to a close neighbor prompts Emma to wish to arrange suitable matches for her other friends and neighbors. Her immediate target is Harriet Smith, an amiable young woman of uncertain social status. Against the advice of Emma's brother-in-law and confidant Mr. Knightley, Emma persuades Miss Smith to refuse an offer of marriage from a Mr. Martin, a upright hardworking farmer of no social distinction. Emma then tries to match Harriet up with the ambitious young vicar of Highbury, Mr. Elton. This scheme fails, hilariously, when Mr. Elton proposes instead to a horrified Emma.

    Mr. Elton soon brings a new Mrs. Elton to the village, a vulgar social upstart who presumes to arrange the social life of Highbury. Among her targets is young Jane Fairfax, once the paid companion of a gentlewoman, now forced to make her own way. The arrival of the charming and handsome Frank Churchill creates additional complications. Emma, after getting over her own initial infatuation, presses a match between Frank and Miss Smith. She is also provoked by Frank into passing rumors about Jane Fairfax and the husband of the woman she formerly accompanied. The climax of the story may be an unfortunate picnic at Box Hill, where everyone seems out of sorts. Emma thoughtlessly insults the silly but harmless Miss Bates, for which she is very properly upbraided by Mr. Knightley. Emma then learns, in rapid succession, that Frank has been engaged to Jane Fairfax all along and that Harriet believes she has gained the affection of Mr. Knightley. Emma is mortified to have misjudged both Frank and Jane, and to have inadvertantly pushed Harriet towards a man she now realizes she loves herself.

    Emma must take responsibility for her mistakes and make good her relationships with Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax, and Harriet Smith. Her fear of losing Mr. Knightley leads to a fateful conversation with him in the garden of Hartfield, in which Emma's fear of losing his friendship works at cross-purposes with Mr. Knightley's real agenda.

    Austen's subtle and witty exploration of social relationships in "Emma" is both humorous and insightful. "Emma" is the least heroic of Austen's heroines, but her undoubted charm and her very human efforts to mature have endeared her to generations of readers. "Emma" is very highly recommended to fans of Jane Austen's novels as perhaps her most polished romantic comedy. ...more info