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Emma

Jane Austen

Book Overview: 

Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, about the perils of misconstrued romance. The main character, Emma Woodhouse, is described in the opening paragraph as “handsome, clever, and rich” but is also rather spoiled. Prior to starting the novel, Austen wrote, “I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like.”

A cautionary tale about the evils of interference, matchmaking and good intentions turned awry, Emma is the study of a young woman raised without sufficient discipline or occupation. Handsome, clever and rich, Emma is the epitome of what a young woman should be in Regency England, except for the fact that her indulgent father and lack of a mother have left her spoiled and used to getting her own way. Emma’s only true critic and voice of reason is Mr. Knightley, a gentleman whose opinion she values greatly. She delights in meddling in the romantic affairs of everyone around her, thinking celibacy is a privilege she alone can enjoy by virtue of her social standing. In the end, Emma is forced to acknowledge both her own lack of insight into the motives of others, and admit her need for a companion who can challenge her to become a better woman.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Concession must be out of the question; but it was time to appear to forget that they had ever quarrelled; and she hoped it might rather assist the restoration of friendship, that when he came into the room she had one of the children with her—the youngest, a nice little girl about eight months old, who was now making her first visit to Hartfield, and very happy to be danced about in her aunt's arms. It did assist; for though he began with grave looks and short questions, he was soon led on to talk of them all in the usual way, and to take the child out of her arms with all the unceremoniousness of perfect amity. Emma felt they were friends again; and the conviction giving her at first great satisfaction, and then a little sauciness, she could not help saying, as he was admiring the baby,

"What a comfort it is, that we think alike about our nephews and nieces. As to men and women, our opinions are sometimes very different; but with regard to these childr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Jane Austen famously wrote: "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like."

My initial take: Truer words, Jane. Truer words. Emma is wealthy and beautiful, the queen bee of society in her town, and boss of her household (since her father is a hand-wringing worrywart, almost...more

Emma woodhouse changes from being vain and self satisfied, blind to her own feelings and dangerously insensitive to the feelings of others, in a slow, painful progress towards maturity.

Loved it!

Why don't I read more classics?! I'll definitely need to read her other books.

The BBC tv show was also adorable!

My dear Jane Austen,

I hope you don’t mind that I write to you, expressing my gratitude for your brilliant handling of words. And as the post office is an object of interest and admiration in your novel “Emma”, I thought a letter would be the adequate way of communicating my thoughts.

I must star...more

Okay, when I first started the book and was reading how Emma was taking happiness away from Harriet Smith by telling her that Mr. Martin wasn't good enough for her - I didn't like Emma at all.

Now I can understand how Emma only wanted to do good by Harriet and that was how it was back in those da...more

Austen paints a world of excess.

She’s just so fucking brilliant. That much so I found the need to swear. The sarcasm is just oozing out of her words. She doesn’t need to tell you her opinions of society: she shows them to you.

Simply put, Emma’s farther is a ridiculous prat. There’s no other wor...more

I must begin by stating that I may be utterly biased here. Emma is the novel that introduced me to the treasure that are Jane Austen's masterpieces. I read it when I was fourteen, and fell in love with it right there and then.

People often tend to mention that Emma Woodhouse is the least likeable...more

This is a book about math, mirrors and crystal balls, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Village life? Sorta. The lives of the idle rich? I mean, sure, but only partially and incidentally. Romance? Barely. A morality tale of the Education of Young Lady? The young lady stands for and does ma...more

“I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control.”

Personally, I may have lost my self-control, but not my heart.
My motivation to read this book stemmed from J.K. Rowling stating that this was one of her favourite books. A few years ago I read my first Jane Austen, which was Pride and Prejudice,...more

936. Emma, Jane Austen
Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The story takes place in the fictional village of High-bury and the surrounding estates of Hart-field, Randalls, and Donwell Abbey and involves the relationships among individuals...more

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