Emma complete illustrated novel by Jane Austen. Published by MobileReference (mobi).
Emma complete illustrated novel by Jane Austen. Published by MobileReference (mobi).

 
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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."

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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

Customer Reviews:

  • I Hate Emma
    I do like 19th Century fiction. I do like Pride and Predjudice. I know lots of people don't like saying Classics are uninteresting. Apparantly Jane Austen said after writing this book that she had wanted to create a character that no-one would like but herself. I am the only person I know who hates Emma. I agree that the book is well written but I just don't like Emma. Sorry if you do....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 first Austen book! :)
    My mom got this book from the library not long after we saw the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow. She found out in the movie credits that it was based on a book (we caught the movie on TV by chance) and found out it was by Jane Austen. Since her favorite book is Pride and Prejudice (which she had tried to get me to read for years without success) she read the book, as I did soon after. It's funny that even though Emma is one of Austen's longer books, it took only one movie to render it perfectly, whereas the much shorter Pride and Prejudice needed seven videos altogether!

    However, this is a review about the book, not the movie. Ahem. The book was great, and like all Austen's books never loses your interest. It is a bit drawn out and your mind may wander a bit during the course of the story, but it was a great story. Emma, the character Austen said no one would like, is much more likeable to me than the pathetic sop that is Fanny of Mansfield Park. She is much different than all other Austen characters; she is rich and has a thirty thousand pound dowry (at least I think so, I forget exactly; I read the book a while ago) which is a lot compared to the other penniless heroines who have at the most a thousand pounds. She is twenty-one, handsome, and though her snobbery is a turn off at the start of the book, you can't help but fall for her charms. She is, as the reviews say, irresistible. And Mr. Knightly is just like most other Austen heroes; a real dreamy guy -sigh- I'm so jealous of these girls. He's not romantic though, and unlike other books, the romance is a minimum, with barely an, "I love you" in sight.

    The situations are original and entertaining, and the mismatches of Emma the would-be matchmaker (with no sight in mind of marriage for herself) are very amusing. I would recommend this book to any Austen fan, but for beginners I would recommend Pride and Prejudice or Northanger Abbey, as they are shorter and much lighter, funnier stories. Emma is a bit more quaint. My only complaint is the speeches of that girl who talks too much, what's-her-name; she talks for pages on end, interrupts herself and is in general much more boring than amusing. Highly recommended, buy it now!!!
    ...more info
  • 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
    This is a book about Emma, a rich girl's mischievous struggle in her own little fantacy world. This book is a bit boring and dry in the sense that everything is just always so beautifully fitting. Even in the worst moment when Emma's ill judgement turned into chaotic love triangle, the story went on and worked everyone's fate for the best. Since I don't read much of Jane Austen's works, I guess her style tends to be light and comic. So, if you are looking for a book with lots of heart throbbing drama, this is definitely not the one. ...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
  • 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
  • A Genuine Experience... Wholesome and Funny.
    I admit, it has been a few years since I read Emma. I haven't gotten to read the rest of Austen's works (yet!), but I think she is a fine writer. As a writer, that's a high compliment. I don't mean to say she's, well, fine.. I mean she is fine and honed and respectable.. and great.

    I picked this book up at my library when I was tired of random teen angst-based novels about first boyfriends and horrible pasts. I wanted something written with real language, with a style. I wanted something old and truly good, like the classics I had read and been read as a young child. I wanted something with SUBSTANCE.

    Because of this, it took me awhile to get back in the habit of really reading. For a week or so, Emma lay in a drawer, only partway read. It was difficult not to skim and my head would swim with the small print and dark pages. I lamented, but shrugged it off as life got busy.

    I came out of the shower one day, with an urge to get back into it, and ended up standing, hair wet, in front of my dresser, book rooted up out of the confines of my underthings, and wasting time.

    I read it constantly until I finished it, as I always do when reading a new book, but this one was different. This one invoked a hunger in me, and I was definitely satisfied when it came to an end.

    The constant little subplots and dramas surrounding arrogant, but rather good-natured Emma, the engaging characters, with such distinct and memorable personalities, and the wonderful twist of the ending (everyone else says they were so sure, but I, for one, was surprised, I admit) were all...wonderful. Austen is, I say again, a fine writer, and no wonder she is of the classics.

    I have heard, as well, that she did not think anyone else would love Emma. I ask, how could you not? The people who are so vehement about her flaws clearly have many of the same. She is one of the most enjoyable heroines I have had the pleasure of visiting, among such "flawed" characters as Anne Shirley (her incessant daydreaming and such a temper! ;), in all my years of reading. And that's a very long time....more info
  • Manipulating Affairs of the Heart
    Genteel society in early 19th century England proved resourceful in conjuring up their own rural entertainment. Dinner parties, amateur musicales, cards, charades and balls provided indoor amusement, while picnics, local excursions or taking the waters in fancy resorts took the restless upper crust out of doors. Lacking telephones and even telegrams Austen's characters relied on local mail delivery by their servants or trusted in the efficiency of the British Post to bring detailed, epistolary news into their information-starved lives.

    While the men discussed politics and their farming interests, most ladies devoted great mental and verbal energy to schemes for romance-encouraging or quashing. The fair sex plotted and surmised about their neighbors and relatives'affections for one another. In true Victorian style pregnancy was hushed over, but village gossips took great delight in pondering such weighty matters as one's birth, social station and probable inheritance.
    In addition the whims of older relatives must be humored at all cost, since they held the of purse strings which could make or break the success of a young person's suit. Marriage after all was still more in the interest of the parents than for the sake of actual love.

    Twenty-one-year old Emma Woodhouse is the younger daughter and mistress of the home of her elderly father. Having recently lost her young governess/companion to marriage, Emma undertakes a new social challenge: to mentor in her turn 17-year-old Harriet-a recent graduate of a local boarding school. The plot revolves around Emma`s subtle attempt to mold Harriet's immature heart in certain directions, indicated by insincere behavior on the part of various young men. Having frustrated what she considers an inferior proposal on Harriet's behalf, Emma gradually learns that she has meddled too much and caused needless unhappiness.

    Several young couples court and become engaged in the course of this light novel, but all is not as it seems on the surface, due to a secret engagement and surprising twists of Cupid's darts. Harriet's heart is easily swayed by suggestions and appearances--without direct, verbal confirmation--so it is Emma who matures the most. She has long been sensitive of the good opinion of her 31-year-old neighbor, Mr. Knightly, who on two occasions finds it necessary to reprove her thoughtless behavior. What does she care, since she has already declared that will never marry-which would mean deserting her doting but
    doddering father.

    This novel is Austen-lite, though in extensive format (over 400 pages), with many long letters which fill in the off stage action--which proves to be wherever our Emma is Not present. The heroine's own tender heart is swayed first by this man, then by another. The advent of young persons into the village of Highbury is welcomed by local society-ever appreciative of newcomers to the social mix. Inside these pages one encounters the typical village gossips and snobs of course, who make everyone's business their private agenda. Ah, how will these impetuous young persons sort out their feelings and
    relationships? Especially without antagonizing or distressing their elders? EMMA is almost a sly treatise on early Victorian social and moral restrictions, delightfully disguised as a novel.
    ...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
  • "There Are Secrets in All Families You Know..."
    Out of all Jane Austen's heroines, Emma Woodhouse is perhaps the most unique and the most beloved. Unlike all the others, Emma is a wealthy young woman who does not have the pressure of making a good marriage to ensure her happiness and in fact is determined never to wed. Likewise, due to the affections of her father and governess, Emma has been indulged and encouraged all her life into behaving just as she pleases, and as one of the few members of nobility in the small county of Highbury she is a big fish in a very small pond. Due to this, she considers herself superior to others and confident of her own perception of things: to put it simply, she is a snob. Yet she is not dislikeable - she is loving, well-mannered and kind, and deep down she realises that many of her actions are folly - it just takes her a while to get to these conclusions.

    Crediting herself for the recent marriage of her governess to the estimable Mr Weston, Emma takes it upon herself to play matchmaker for Highbury's society. Her eye is fixed on the eligible clergyman Mr Elton as an excellent match for her new friend Harriet Smith, a girl of obscure birth and minimal wealth. Despite the cynicism of Mr Knightley, an old family friend and the caution of her dear Mrs Weston, Emma is too wrapped up in her own opinions of how human hearts work to heed their advice...

    Further irony is found in the fact that whilst Emma is busy organising the hearts and minds of those around her, she has utterly no regard for her own and finds on many occasions that her perceptions of people were completely mistaken. But this is where readers' affection for her lies: she is beloved *for* her faults, not in spite of them, and such imperfections make her a rich, understandable character. Furthermore, these faults give her room to grow and improve as a person, and she is not the same Emma at the end of the book as she was at the beginning.

    "Emma" is also filled with many memorable supporting characters, very few of which are painted in black and white terms - rather they are small portraits of true human life, each with their own good and bad attributes. There is the talkative Miss Bates and her niece Miss Jane Fairfax (who Emma is cool toward due to the fact she detracts attention away from herself), the pretentious Eltons, Emma's sister and brother-in-law, and the and the dashing Frank Churchill, (Mr Weston's son) on whom rest many hopes by his family of an alliance with Miss Woodhouse.

    Austen writes in beautifully delicate language, which is filled with many of her best moments of wit and insight into the human condition, especially in her themes of social hierarchy and acceptable forms of manners. It is a common belief that authors of the past are hardly ever critical of their own times or station - Austen gloriously proves these narrow-minded people wrong as she weaves together her characters and their various ways of life with commentary on them all. Like all such reads, it's not for a lazy reader as it needs your constant attention and care. But like all truly good literature, it is well worth the effort and considered the best novel in the Jane Austen canon.
    ...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
  • 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
  • Emma Woodhouse
    Emma complete illustrated novel by Jane Austen

    Austen's witty exploration of social relationships in "Emma" is both humorous and insightful. An enjoyable read for everyone....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
  • A fun book!
    While "Pride and Prejudice" is Austen's masterpiece, Emma deserves distinction as a work of wit and fun. Austen wrote about the misfortunes of a high-minded philanthropist ("Emma" was perfectly translated into the 90's by the movie "Clueless"). In "Emma" Austen poked fun at the way Emma feels almost obligated to help her associates "better themselves" but did not realize until the end that she needed to work more on herself.
    I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it. If you are new to Austen then I recommend you start with "Pride and Prejudice". ...more info
  • "I seem to have been doomed to blindness."
    Emma Woodhouse, "handsome, clever, and rich," is the 21-year-old daughter of the elderly owner of Hartfield, the largest estate in Highbury. Though only a couple of hours away from London by carriage, Highbury regards itself as an isolated and virtually self-contained community, with the Woodhouse family the center of social life and at the top of its social ladder. Emma, doting on her hypochondriac father, whom she represents to the outside world, has grown up without a mother's softening influence, and at twenty-one, she is bright, willful, and not a little spoiled.

    Having too little to do to keep out of trouble, Emma's hobby is matchmaking, "the greatest amusement in the world." Unfortunately, her sophistication in the social graces does not extend to much insight into human beings. Taking Harriet Smith, a young woman of "questionable birth" under her wing, Emma makes Harriet her "project," educating her in the social graces, convincing Harriet not to marry farmer Robert Martin, who has courted her, and ultimately persuading Harriet that the vicar, Mr. Elton, is falling in love with her.

    Bored and without a large circle of "suitable" friends, Emma is an incorrigible meddler, playing with the lives of those around her, snubbing those she considers inferior, gossiping about others in an attempt to divert attention to herself, and misreading intentions. Only Mr. Knightly, sixteen years older than Emma and a friend of her father, stands up to Emma and tells her what he thinks of her behavior, and it is through him that she eventually begins to grow.

    Love and the formal protocol of marriage are a major focus here, with marriage more often a merger of "appropriate" families than the result of romance or passion. Class distinctions, acknowledged by all levels of society, limit both personal friendships and romantic possibilities, and as Emma's matchmaking fails again and again, causing grief to many of her victims, Emma begins to recognize that her pride, willfulness, and love of power over others have made her oblivious to her own faults. Austen shines in her depiction of Emma and her upperclass friends, gently satirizing their weaknesses but leaving room for them to learn from their mistakes-if only they can learn to recognize the ironies in their lives. Though Emma may be, in some ways, Austen's least charming heroine, she is certainly vibrant and, with her annoying faults, a most realistic one. Mary Whipple

    Lady Susan, 1794
    Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics), 1811
    Pride and Prejudice, 1813
    Mansfield Park, 1814
    Northanger Abbey, 1817 (posthumously)
    Persuasion, 1817 (posthumously)

    ...more info
  • Love the novel, hate the introduction
    Please don't misunderstand me: I love Jane Austen's Emma. I love everything by Jane Austen. What I don't love about this edition of the book is the introduction. Margaret Drabble obviously doen't care for the book, especially the heroine Emma Woodhouse. I have no idea why they would publish such an unfavorable introduction with the novel. Also, if you read the intro but have never read the novel, you're getting the entire plot line, which is only good if you're still in and writting a book report.

    But, if you're just looking for a cheap copy of Emma, then by all means, buy this version. Just please don't dampen the wonderful experience of reading Jane Austen by reading the horrible introduction....more info
  • Another wonderful novel of a headstrong young woman.
    Ms. Austen wrote very well about headstrong, intelligent young women. All of her books are wonderfully warm, but they show a tendency to light irony as well. Ms. Austen describes her world of early nineteenth century England so very well. In this book her heroine is Emma Woodhouse. She is the younger daughter of a wealthy landowner. She has a good heart, but she is spoiled. She also sticks her nose into other people's love affairs with some disastrous results. Miss Austen does a wonderful job describing life in a busy English village. The village in this story is Highbury. The characters in the book are wonderful, but it is the spiritual development of Emma that carries this book. Somehow she manages to grow and learn while staying within the strictures placed on her by her father and by English village life. Your journey reading Jane Austen's work is not complete if you do not read this book....more info
  • My first Austen book
    I wanted to try a book by Austen and chose Emma simply because I have never heard of it. Be prepared for a long, tedious read that turns a millon corners. Sometimes you want to just hit Emma because of either her lack of insight or her arrogance. It was very long, and I admit I got bored with parts. The characters are great though and it is funny. ...more info
  • Enjoyable Read
    Emma Woodhouse is an atypical heroine for a Jane Austen novel. Usually, we see disadvantaged girls struggle to find happiness through marriage. In Emma's case, we see a girl who has everything in the world she could want. She is rich, pretty, and happy. She has no desire to be married, as it would interfere with the simple life she enjoys with her father and she knows it would break his heart to be parted from her. The story follows Emma's life beginning at 21 as she tries to help a young girl named Harriet Smith marry above her station. Emma also engages in a flirtation with a young man and generally makes a bit of a mess of things whenever she gets involved.

    I have read that Jane Austen felt that Emma was a character only her creator could like. I would have to disagree with that. Emma is certainly flawed, but her heart is almost always in the right place. Pride has blinded her to her own limitations but she is also one who does not shrink from the responsibility of her mistakes and tries very hard to learn from them. I found this admirable and grew to like her more and more as the book progressed.

    Aside from Emma, the rest of the cast was also very well written. Her father is a complete hypochondriac and often engages in behavior that would typically be considered highly rude. Yet, he is motivated so completely by a desire to be kind to others that his misguided application of that desire only endears him to the reader. Mr. Knightley, the no-nonsense friend of the family is admittedly not the most complex character in the world, but he is a very good one and his solidity is a great counterbalance to Emma's wishful thinking.

    In summary, Emma is a nice change of pace from Jane Austen's other novels. It starts off well and grows more engaging as it continues. The characters are interesting and Emma herself grows considerably during the course of the novel....more info
  • Comedy of Errors on a Georgian Stage
    A smug but goodhearted society girl learns her judgment isn't as incisive as she thinks it is. "Emma" is a fun, lighthearted version of Jane Austen, with enough misunderstandings and crossed signals to form the basis of a modern sitcom. For all its pleasant enjoyability, however, the novel is also a fascinating character study of one woman being elevated to a nobler level by being taken down several notches.

    In this respect, "Emma" is a prime example of the fact that although many see Jane Austen as something of a proto-feminist, she often gave her male characters the most admirable constitutions of her entire cast. Although the female Emma may be the heroine we hope will triumph, the male Mr. Knightley (like Colonel Brandon of "Sense and Sensibility") is the unimpeachably noble person, and the one who helps Emma ascend to a higher plane of virtue when she might otherwise have been left in despair at her failures. In the end, Austen's fourth novel (and the last published during her lifetime) is not a feminist manifesto. Rather, it transcends the gender wars and remains a touching comedy of errors with a profoundly subtle commentary on human pride and folly....more info
  • Wonderful!
    For some reason, I always think of Emma as my least favorite Austen, but I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it. Emma is a very imperfect heroine, but Jane Austen was wrong in supposing that no one but herself would like her. I find Emma to be refreshing as a heroine, and she stands is stark contrast to Fanny Price in Mansfield Park (my least favorite Austen heroine). There is none of Fanny's timidness or inability to stand up for herself. Emma is independent and strong, and much more modern than other female characters in classic literature. Her mistakes in pride and arrogance are such as we all make on a daily basis. She presumes to understand people's emotions and thoughts and thinks she has a right to order things as she would have them be...very type "A", in my opinion. But, as her intentions in every case are good, as she only wants those she loves to be happy and prosperous, one cannot really blame her.

    The other characters in this book are also very satisfying, particularly Jane Fairfax and Mr. Knightley. Jane is the poor orphan on whom everyone in Highbury, the village in which Emma lives, dotes upon. Emma, of course, can't stand her at first, but only because of the knowledge that Jane is superior to her in many ways. How many of us have declared that we don't like someone simply because they're better at something than we are? Mr. Knightley, Emma's neighbor and long-time family friend, is her conscience, calling attention to those errors in judgment that Emma constantly seems to make. He often lectures her, but only in an attempt to set her on a better course. When faced with the prospect of losing him, Emma must confront her own feelings and question her own situation in life.

    It's altogether an enjoyable read, with plenty of twists and blunders, and should appeal to any fan of Jane Austen...or just anyone who wants to read the real version of the movie "Clueless"....more info
  • Charming characters make Emma a classic!
    When I first tried to read this book (almost ten years ago, when I was around 13), I found it incredibly dull because there is little action. I finally decided to reread Emma and realized that the appeal of this book (in addition to Jane Austen's writing style) is in its characters. Emma's setting is a small town full of an assortment of delightful personalities.

    At the center of the story is Emma Woodhouse, an intelligent and wealthy young woman, who believes that she knows what is best for everyone around her. Emma takes the orphaned Harriet Smith, a pretty but simple-minded girl, under her wing. The consequences are disatrous for all. I found it pleasant to watch Emma grow throughout the book and learn about the way the world works.

    The other characters include the loquacious Miss Bates (and her silent, elderly mother), the constantly distraught Mr. Woodhouse, and the handsome and affluent Mr. Knightley. There are also Jane Fairfax (who the movie portrays a little bit more negatively than the book) and Frank Churchill who show up later on in the book to make life a little more interesting.

    These people and many others add to the richness of Austen's narrative. The best part about them is that all are real people who have both good and bad points, and make mistakes. I found that a lot of them are similar to people that I know today in the 21st century.

    The second time I read through this book, I found myself aching for more. I felt delighted every time I find one of Jane Austen's little witticisms (and there are a lot!). These little gems are enough to make her my all time favorite author....more info
  • Tough minded comedy of manners
    In a letter to a relative Austen once wrote "3 or 4 families in a country village is the very thing to work on "She knew this world intimately and well and it was the subject of her best novels of which Emma most assuredly is one .
    Emma Woodhouse is young,lively and thoroughly spolied .She is complacently sure she knows what is best for all her friends and acquaintances ,especially in matters of the heart .She is a self-appoinited matchmaker to all her friends and she particularly interests herself in the affairs of the young and naive Harriet Smith,an unassertive and timid young woman .Emma is convinced Harriet would be ideally matched with the local minister Mr Elton not knowing that he despises Harriet for her lack of social graces and standing and that he is set on wooing and winning Emma herself .Emma is idly contemplating a dalliance with a newcomer to the village ,Frank Churchill ,but her real feelings are for the local squire George Knightley .Knightley is an amused and exasperated spectator to the meddling which is second nature to Emma.
    The novel deals with the way Emma's plans for others collapse and she as a consequence comes to a new and painful degree of self-awareness.She knows less about herself and others than she fondly imagines .The book is a very tough-minded piece of work and has universal themes to do with human motivations and self-deception.It shows the manipulations and strategems of the marriage market as supremely important in society .Emma is essentially about growing into self awareness rather than a romantic comedy as so many other Austen novels are .It is why it still retains its impact so many years after its original publication .The support cast is well drawn -Elton,in particular being a great sketch of an odious snake who has somehow been born as human being .
    Any society in which people meddle in each others affairs is one in which Emma is still a valid book


    ...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.

    5/5

    Recommended: To all lovers of great literature.
    ...more info
  • Equal to Austen's Best
    Emma Woodhouse is an atypical heroine for a Jane Austen novel. Usually, we see disadvantaged girls struggle to find happiness through marriage. In Emma's case, we see a girl who has everything in the world she could want. She is rich, pretty, and happy. She has no desire to be married, as it would interfere with the simple life she enjoys with her father and she knows it would break his heart to be parted from her. The story follows Emma's life beginning at 21 as she tries to help a young girl named Harriet Smith marry above her station. Emma also engages in a flirtation with a young man and generally makes a bit of a mess of things whenever she gets involved.

    I have read that Jane Austen felt that Emma was a character only her creator could like. I would have to disagree with that. Emma is certainly flawed, but her heart is almost always in the right place. Pride has blinded her to her own limitations but she is also one who does not shrink from the responsibility of her mistakes and tries very hard to learn from them. I found this admirable and grew to like her more and more as the book progressed.

    Aside from Emma, the rest of the cast was also very well written. Her father is a complete hypochondriac and often engages in behavior that would typically be considered highly rude. Yet, he is motivated so completely by a desire to be kind to others that his misguided application of that desire only endears him to the reader. Mr. Knightley, the no-nonsense friend of the family is admittedly not the most complex character in the world, but he is a very good one and his solidity is a great counterbalance to Emma's wishful thinking.

    In summary, Emma is a nice change of pace from Jane Austen's other novels. It starts off well and grows more engaging as it continues. The characters are interesting and Emma herself grows considerably during the course of the novel. ...more info
  • Great Book.
    Emma is another one of Jane Austen's novels. It's a good book, however I don't believe it's as good as Pride and Prejudice. The protagonist, Emma, is a very bright and handsome young lady. It seems that the protagonists of Jane Austen are always female, intelligent, and pretty. The characters in this book are complex. For example, an elderly well-known bachelor suddenly falls in love and took a wife of about the same age as he. His reason for marrying is also strange, because he simply wanted to have a wife. And Emma was the person who started and encouraged their relationship. The plot was interesting too, a few surprises here and there.
    My problem with Emma is that it wasn't as engrossing a story as Pride and Prejudice. But this is a different style of book, so it's really unfair for me to say that Emma is not as good as Pride and Prejudice. Other than that, it's a wonderful book.
    I recommend it to readers who want dialogue-based novels.
    ...more info
  • Miss Woodhouse Explains It All
    Emma Woodhouse is easily Jane Austen's most annoying character. She's young, knows absolutely everything about everything, is the judge of everyone's good character and takes those around her for granted, despite frequently praising her friends and relations. She is, for all intents and purposes, the 18th century version of daddy's little rich girl.

    How can a book about such a person be so captivating? The short answer is simply: because Jane Austen wrote it. The long answer is several hundred printed pages and well worth the read.

    Much of the story is the typical Jane Austen framework, but the character of Emma is entirely different from many of the other main figures in Austen's works. While her other heroines have plenty of outstanding qualities and several flaws, Emma has plenty of flaws and several outstanding qualities. It's the central, exceptional qualities that make Emma a worthwhile character, but the flaws - and her growing consciousness of them - that make her loveable.

    Countering Emma is the younger, and more gullible, Harriet Smith. She becomes Emma's project when Emma learns of her situation in life and is determined to improve it by befriending her. Emma's increasing awareness of her own flaws footnote their friendship, as she is forced to admit to being something of a snob, and a meddler.

    There are all sorts of loud and obnoxious people in "Emma", and Austen's orchestration of the interaction among them is, as always, brilliant. The character of Mrs. Elton alone is one of my favorite "bad examples" of all times. This is perhaps the downright funniest of Austen's books, but in ways it is also the happies and the saddest. Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith are in the throws of adolescence, where everything is either tragic or blissful.

    I typically say that "Pride & Prejudice" and "Northanger Abbey" are my favorite Austen works, but secretly it might be truer to say that "Emma" is. It's not as clever as "Pride" or as satirical as "Northanger", but the way in which Emma is forced to open her eyes to the world - and the way it continues to revolve, and evidently not around herself - is really something most of us can relate to all too well.

    Incidentally, the movie version of "Emma", starring Gwyneth Paltrow, isn't bad, but if you haven't seen it yet, please do yourself the favor of reading the book first. As always, there is so much in the pages that is ignored on the screen. Then, when you're done reading, watch "Clueless" again, which isn't nearly as true an adaptation, but is a funnier movie....more info
  • A Good Start To My Austen Book Craze
    I have always loved Emma the movie, the one with Gwyneth Paltrow in it. Her Emma is so clueless, so innocent, yet somehow loveable. I finally decided to pick up the classic novel to see if the movie missed anything and to get the full story straight from the author. The book delighted me just as much as the movie did, as I am pleased to say.
    Emma Woodhouse is a young, rich woman living with her germaphobe father in the town of Highbury. Bored and eager for some sort of excitement, she decides to matchmake her new friend Harriet Smith with the local vicar Mr.Elton. Emma is convinced that her matchmaking skills are among the best, wrongly taking credit for pairing her governess Miss Taylor with their neighbor Mr.Weston. Many mishaps occur, and many hearts broken and confused, but in the end all is well, with all three of the main couples finding happiness.
    It took me a little while to get in the vocabulary of the time, but once I did the book breezed by. Emma is so flawed like all of us; that is why we love her. Just because this book was written almost 200 years ago doesn't make it bad: it makes it better....more info
  • It's Clueless
    And I mean that in a good way. When the movie Clueless came out, I must have watched it a thousand times. Then, I read Emma and was delighted to find that my Clueless was actually based off of this book. The whole story is great and I am once again reminded that sometimes I am also not a good judge of a person's character!

    It's a light, fun, Jane Austen read. I recommend it....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
  • 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
  • Dollops of Clotted Cream
    I confess: I often read Jane Austen as an exercise in self-discipline. However, caution should be exercised in reading her books. Little surprises turn up which force a certain circumspection of all characters and events. In "Emma", we meet with the practice of "giving up" children, illegitimacy and the concomitant existence of, and suspicion of, extra-marital sex, flirting clergymen who, naturally, view courtship as a Machiavellian enterprise, egotism, snobbery, hypochondria and maybe even a little attention deficit disorder--heroes, heroines, villains alike. It is a great tour de force. Austen draws her characters well--who hasn't met a Miss Bates or a Mrs. Elton in their lifetime? Finally, also watch out for those little dollops of wisdom interspersed throughout--they pop up, wake you up and then are gone, leaving you in the midst of the question of just what is the best way to prepare a piglet's leg....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 Amazon.com again....more info
  • A wonderfully witty and endearing novel
    I actually saw the film (with Paltrow as Emma) before reading the book and I must say, that I am glad that the movie was very true to the novel because I adore the movie. I was actually surprised that the book was so similar. It features one of my favorite Jane Austen characters, Emma of course. She is a joy to read about. The dialogue was easy to follow and it was a quick but fun read. ...more info
  • slow, but worth it

    Be warned: this book is slow. very slow. i loved pride and prejudice, but i would have quit partway through this one if it hadn't been a gift.

    However, if you have the patience and fortitude to get through it, you will be rewarded. Though i could have done without so much detail about the planning of a party, or full chapters of Emma and Mr. Knightley talking things to death, it was an overall good book. Emma is very fully developed. She starts out, not as a good girl with some faults, but as a vain, selfish, silly young woman, and comes out by the end of the book deeply and believably changed.

    one thing I particularly enjoyed is that since Emma was always so wrong in her guesses, it was up to the reader to figure out what was really going on, and who was in love with whom. Especially towards the end, I had a lot of fun picking out hints and speculating, and seeing my guesses come out right.

    The book isn't so amazing that i would urge everyone to struggle through the whole length of it, but it's a worthwhile and enjoyable read. it just could have been much shortened....more info
  • Wonderful!
    For some reason, I always think of Emma as my least favorite Austen, but I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading it. Emma is a very imperfect heroine, but Jane Austen was wrong in supposing that no one but herself would like her. I find Emma to be refreshing as a heroine, and she stands is stark contrast to Fanny Price in Mansfield Park (my least favorite Austen heroine). There is none of Fanny's timidness or inability to stand up for herself. Emma is independent and strong, and much more modern than other female characters in classic literature. Her mistakes in pride and arrogance are such as we all make on a daily basis. She presumes to understand people's emotions and thoughts and thinks she has a right to order things as she would have them be...very type "A", in my opinion. But, as her intentions in every case are good, as she only wants those she loves to be happy and prosperous, one cannot really blame her.

    The other characters in this book are also very satisfying, particularly Jane Fairfax and Mr. Knightley. Jane is the poor orphan on whom everyone in Highbury, the village in which Emma lives, dotes upon. Emma, of course, can't stand her at first, but only because of the knowledge that Jane is superior to her in many ways. How many of us have declared that we don't like someone simply because they're better at something than we are? Mr. Knightley, Emma's neighbor and long-time family friend, is her conscience, calling attention to those errors in judgment that Emma constantly seems to make. He often lectures her, but only in an attempt to set her on a better course. When faced with the prospect of losing him, Emma must confront her own feelings and question her own situation in life.

    It's altogether an enjoyable read, with plenty of twists and blunders, and should appeal to any fan of Jane Austen...or just anyone who wants to read the real version of the movie "Clueless"....more info
  • A True Classic
    I read this book in college and I reread it every so often. Emma is a funny, light story that is more than a little touching. Emma is so busy arranging other people's lives that she neglects her own wants and needs. Emma is wealthy and a godd person, but she's not a saint and she doean't come off as one....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
  • Very Cute
    Jane Austen is the most amazing author. The Plot is good and the writting brillant. This goes on my list of top ten best book ever written. Emma is nothing but entertaining, adorable, romantic ,and everything wonderful. I have read a lot of books so I know what I'm talking about. I highly recommend this book. Like in all of jane austen's other books i almost cried(except for the history of England and her unfinished works). Read it. That's good advice...more info
  • A comedy treating human follies in an intellectual manner
    Emma by Jane Austen is truly a very enjoyable novel dealing with the upper-middle class women of the Victorian Era, and it gives us an illuminating insight on the way of life of the people of that time. Emma is a comedy in the sense that the novel ends on a happy note with three marriages and also in the sense that it gives themes such as marriage an exaggerated importance. Also, the novel as a whole in conceived in a spirit of irony - irony in incidents and irony in characterisation. In the novel, Jane Austen depicts her view of people as social animals who live by a social code based on a set of moral values. Thus, in Emma, Jane Austen shows, in a good-natured way, the disastrous consequences caused by human follies and stupidities, leading to the violation of the social code.
    The very fact that Emma is looking for `would-be' grooms for girls she takes a fancy to is undoubtedly a trespass of the social norms existing at that time - a clear example of a folly. Emma's other folly may be said to be her excessive pride. Her pride leads her to dominate, and to see the lives of others as extensions of her own ego, and therefore deny the other characters their human autonomy. Ironically, we see that she, who delights in using others, discovers that she, in turn, has been used, or more correctly, duped.
    Emma also deals with the follies of arrogance and self-deception. While reading the novel, we find Emma adopting what may be called a `know-all' attitude. She is utterly self-important and presuming. She pays no heed to Mr. Knightley's advice either with regard to Mr. Elton or with regard to Frank Churchill. She thinks that she can successfully handle the affairs of others, and the high regard the Highbury society has for her only makes matters worse. Hence, through the character of Emma, Austen warns against the dangers of influence and interference. Emma, through her actions of meddling in everybody's affairs, finally achieves nothing good, and even causes harm to her own self.
    Also, Austen gives marriage such an undue importance that the title character, in her pursuit of husbands for others, overlooks social norms existing at that time and gives more value to marriage rather than crucial human relationships. Thus, in a comic way, Austen depicts Emma's greatest fault in breaking social norms and overlooking crucial human considerations in pursuit of petty things such as marriage.
    Comedy also emanates from the narrator's treatment of Mr. Woodhouse and Miss Bates as "comic characters". But through these characters, Austen explores another facet of human follies. Through the character of Mr. Woodhouse, we are brought to see the negative aspects of indulgence - indulgence of the same kind that has caused harm to Emma. And the character of Miss Bates, while depicting the pitiable state of unmarried women, acts as a kind of test for Emma's power of responding to `socially inferior' people. Mrs. Elton is another comic character, amusing us greatly by her airs of self-importance and her social snobbery. She has too high an opinion of her own elegance, accomplishments, and social charm that she thrusts herself upon everybody without inhibition or hesitation. She also breaks the established social rules by calling Mr. Knightley "Knightley", not giving him his gentleman's worth. In fact, we may say that Mrs. Elton is used to portray the very evils of Emma's character in a somewhat extreme way.
    Hence, as we have seen, Austen deals in an intellectual way the follies and stupidities of humans. We learn particularly through our understanding of Emma's faults, and by learning above all, how significant and fundamental these values are. For Emma's aloof relation to others, her willingness to treat other characters as toys - these become significant betrayals of human considerations. The social and moral universe of the novel takes a greater significance because it provides a context in which Emma's faults are not minor ones to be treated lightly, but total violations of a whole established system. The agents of retribution in this world are Mr. Knightley and Austen herself as the narrator.
    Thus, Austen condemns certain human foolishness such as snobbery, excessive pride and a disrespect for established moral and social values. These are the human stupidities which are purged, through Emma's process of self-analysis and redemption. It is only at that time that Austen makes her heroine rise above such human foolishness and stupidities to become a more moral and less petty human being. Hence, it may be said that the novel persuades us, through a very entertaining and comic plot, the importance of self-knowledge, a true regard for self and others, and also to consider every human action as a crucial, committing act of self-definition....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Confusion and Intrigue in Jane Austen's Emma
    Very much like Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Emma, a novel by Jane Austen, is a tale of confusion and intrigue over the universal topic of love. The reader's feelings of befuddlement and captivation, while nonexistent at the beginning of the novel, will grow exponentially until the climax. At the end of the novel, everything finally makes sense and the characters live on happily ever after. This is a very satisfying ending, clearing up all earlier confusion, although it leaves little room for wonder and thought after the reader has finished the book. Though I found this novel very confusing, and therefore unenjoyable at times, the intrigue and vivid setting and characterization overpowered my initial dislike. I would recommend Emma, to seventh through ninth grade students who are capable of deciphering meaning from complicated words and are able to pick out the essential subject matter of passages that do not state the meaning strait out. Readers will enjoy the frenzied, almost comical, characters in all their confusion over who loves whom, as well as all the wonderful descriptions, and the satisfying ending. ...more info
  • Romantic Mystery
    Like most of Jane Austen's novels, the theme is around young women and how to obtain marriages with suitable men and be in love with them at the same time. In Emma, we have a heroine who not just sits around and speculates on who would pair up with who, but actively strives to influence and guide the matchmaking. She takes on a protege, Harriet Smith, a young woman of unknown parentage and sees into every interaction with the various gentlemen, more than is actually there. Unfortunately for poor Harriet, whose emotions get tangled around various men "who are all above her socially", Emma learns that manipulation and scheming is doing more to hurt her dear friend than to have left things alone.

    The reason I read this book as a mystery, is that the reader is left to speculate (without peeking) which man would pair up with which lady. There are red herrings, where the characters other than Emma, misspeculate, to lead the reader into examining the clues to see if it were the case. Also, one of the male characters purposely set out to mislead where his affections are placed, and there is also a misunderstanding between Emma and Harriet on which gentleman she admires, with Emma giving encouragement because of mistaken identity.

    The scheming finally crashes to a sequence of revelations brought about by a sequence of events. One after another, the couples pair off with a sequence of marriages, assuring the reader that the correct matches were made and happiness for the future guaranteed. Even though the middle of the book is very slow, the reader can go back and look at the clues and events after knowing the ending to see where inclinations rested and secrets lay buried....more info
  • Emma is the story of a young matchmaker who learns her lesson
    Emma is Jane Austen's penultimate novel. It is a long but engaging story of Emma Woodhouse who lives in the fictional village of Highbury 16 miles from London. The novel is in many ways a "bildungsroman" as Emma changes and matures to win her man and a place in literary lovers' hearts.
    The major players in this Jane Austen classic are:
    Emma Woodhouse-Emma is the spoiled daughter of widower Woodhouse. She loves playing matchmaker to young couples resulting in disastrous results!
    Emma is flawed but lovable and good hearted.
    Mr. Woodhouse-One of Austen's most hilarious characters. Mr. Woodhouse is a foolish nincimpoop always worried about the temperature and catching a cold. He does not want Emma to marry since he prefers she stay home and take care of his fussbudget needs. He reminds this reviewer of a character who could have fit in well in a Dickens novel.
    Mr. Knightley. This wealthy landowner has been in love with Emma since she was 13. One of the charms of this comedy of manners is the conversation he engages in with Emma. He is a wise man and good judge of moral character. Emma foolishly thinks the merchant's daughter Harriet is in love with him. His name says it all for he is a knight in shining armor!
    Harriet Smith-Emma seeks to mate her with the odious Rev. Mr. Elton but her plans go awry with he weds the foolish Mrs. Augusta Elton. Harriet is an innocent young lady who wrongly allows Emma to advice her on matters of the heart. She will later wed the mundane farmer Robert Martin.
    Frank Churchill; He is the son of Mr. Weston a local landowner. Weston had married Ms. Taylor who had been the maid at Emma's home for 18 years.
    Frank is a charmer with a weak character. Emma is briefly infatuated by him but learns his true nature from the faithful Mr. Knightley. He is anything but frank in explaining his past amours to Emma and Harriet.
    Jane Fairfax is a lovely lass who has been secretly engaged to Frank Churchill. As the novel ends this pair wed. Jane is lovely but strikes this reviewer has lacking mental strength!
    Miss Bates-A minor character who has the gift of gab! She rattles on with
    little thought in several of the novel's chapters. I see her as an early form in English fiction of stream of consciousness monologue later mastered by such masters as James Joyce and William Faulkner.
    Emma is usually rated alongside "Pride and Prejudice" as one of the two best novels written by Jane Austen. I enjoyed it immensely but note that there is a lot of talking and not much action. Austen liked to take a few country families and discuss a love affair or two in her narrowly focused works. She is the indisputed queen of romance fiction and is as popular today as she was when the book was published in 1816. This fall Masterpiece Theatre will be airing dramatizations of all six novels. We Janeites are a growing army of devoted fans. Jane only wrote 6 books but each is a masterpiece!...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
  • Humor in Classical Literature
    All through high school I stayed as far from the British female authors (of classical literature) as I could...and now I have to wonder why. I figured them to be drab, sappy, overly sentimental and trite. How wrong I was! Upon urging of friends, I picked up "Pride and Prejudice" and enjoyed it immensely (though I disagree with another poster that it was faster paced than Emma). I immediately purchased "Emma" and was delighted. The character, as is mentioned, is flawed...but charming BECAUSE of these flaws. Emma is a wonderful character and the book is a joy to read. I will continue my journey through the books of Jane Austen--and I can't wait to continue!...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
  • classic
    It was a good book, but older writing styles are hard for me to get used to. I liked the characters, but the movie ruined it for me. ALWAYS read the book before you see the movie....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
  • Tiresome
    I guess I am an exception. I found the book, Emma, to be overly long and tiresome. The book focuses mostly on social calls between Emma and her neighbors and their dialogue. Emma is just so snobbish and aware of her high status that it was hard to find her likeable at first. I found myself liking her more towards the end of the book as she saw the error of her ways. I loved Pride and Prejudice...but this book just didn't really click with me....more info
  • Another excellent book from Austen
    Emma Woodhouse is an atypical heroine for a Jane Austen novel. Usually, we see disadvantaged girls struggle to find happiness through marriage. In Emma's case, we see a girl who has everything in the world she could want. She is rich, pretty, and happy. She has no desire to be married, as it would interfere with the simple life she enjoys with her father and she knows it would break his heart to be parted from her. The story follows Emma's life beginning at 21 as she tries to help a young girl named Harriet Smith marry above her station. Emma also engages in a flirtation with a young man and generally makes a a mess of things as she tries to manage the affairs of others.

    I have read that Jane Austen felt that Emma was a character only her creator could like. I would have to disagree with that. Emma is certainly flawed, but her heart is almost always in the right place. Pride has blinded her to her own limitations but she is also one who does not shrink from the responsibility of her mistakes and tries very hard to learn from them. I found this admirable and grew to like her more and more as the book progressed.

    Aside from Emma, the rest of the cast was also very well written. Her father is a complete hypochondriac and often engages in behavior that would typically be considered highly rude. Yet, he is motivated so completely by a desire to be kind to others that his misguided application of that desire only endears him to the reader. Mr. Knightley, the no-nonsense friend of the family is admittedly not the most complex character in the world, but he is a very good one and his solidity is a great counterbalance to Emma's wishful thinking.

    In summary, Emma is a nice change of pace from Jane Austen's other novels. It starts off well and grows more engaging as it continues. The characters are interesting and Emma herself grows considerably during the course of the novel....more info

 

 
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