Read Emma by Jane Austen Online


With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Austen's most flawless work. The Penguin Classics Deluxe series has been celebrated for its unique packaging and innovative design. The books of the Penguin Threads series will make truly special gifts....

Title : Emma
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781908533067
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 512 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Emma Reviews

  • Kelly
    2019-04-18 14:14

    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 many more important things than that. These things provide the base of the novel, the initial bolt of fabric, the first few lines of a drawing that set the limits of the author to writing about these thousand things rather than the other million things that lie outside those lines. They are the melody to which the symphony will return again and again, but with variations so you’ll never quite hear it again with perfect simplicity. You just have to recognize them to be able to understand the rest of the piece. And that is all. The melody is never the point- the point is everything that comes in between each time it repeats, which then dictates why the repetition is different the next time it all plays out. You can’t just tune out everything that comes in between. Because then you’ll miss the story about math, mirrors and crystal balls. I missed it the first time around, and I’m sort of upset that I did, because this part of the story is way more engaging. Let’s talk math first. First time I ever wanted to do that without moaning with boredom, so already, points, JA! Austen’s work sets up fascinating equations that keep building and building on top of each other until you get one of those fantastically scary creations that cover the entire wall of a room where the genius who wrote it all out is leaping up and down, exhausted, all, “Eureka! I’ve done it!” only in this case, the genius can actually explain it to you in a way that makes her efforts seem worth it. Once you understand the first couple operations of the equation, then it’s easy to see where the next ones come from. But to bring it down out of the world of the abstract what I mean is that I think Austen is absolutely brilliant at decoding every little minute detail of the duties, privileges, guilts, obligations, and routines that go into human relationships. Just like how in math if you add instead of multiply in one part of an equation it screws the whole thing, Austen shows us why one simple infraction of this delicate balance in relationships is such a major drama and can screw the whole thing for you. Yes, it’s one simple action, and no matter how justified it is that you forgot one thing amongst the fifty things you’re supposed to do, your answer is wrong and all the other correct work you did is completely invalidated. Red mark. Final. You’re wrong, and you know it and everyone knows it and to put this in Sorkinese you just have to stand there in your wrongness and be wrong. She reveals the little town of Highbury- or even really just the upper echelons of its ruling class- to be a labyrinth of constant choices where there are fifteen steps that one has to go through to narrow down your options. This is where its sort of about village life in that you can’t just do a straight cost-benefit analysis in any direct way because you will have to deal with the consequences of that action every day and it will materially affect your life in way that you can’t avoid like you could with a more anonymous society, or one in which people moved around more. Of course there isn’t as much action as other novels. It takes so much time to get through the lead up and the aftermath of every decision, and every time you skimp on any of it, it comes back to bite you in the ass. When Emma tries to go out to dinner, depending on the situation she’s got a different set of a million questions to answer and/or tasks to complete. When it’s the one where she goes over to a couple’s house who are “in trade” and therefore her social inferiors, she’s got to come up with formulas that a) make it okay for her to want to be invited in the first place, b) make it okay for her to want to refuse it, then simultaneously c) make it okay for her to want to accept it, then d) figure out a way to see to her invalid father’s comfort (she has to ask him to go, go through a whole thing where she tries to persuade him even though she knows he won’t and shouldn’t come, then she arranges a dinner party for him while she’s out, then she has to arrange that those coming will be comfortable because her father has a tendency to starve people at dinner because he thinks he’s helping them be healthy) then e) make sure that she’ll be received in a style that befits her (she is invited to dinner while “the lesser females”- the term Austen uses- are only invited later in the evening), then f) finally practically arrange for herself to get there and get home which you would think would really be the only thing to worry about the first place. Even when she’s going out to dinner with her best friends down the street, she’s still got to worry about her father’s comfort, the harmony of her difficult family relationships, and who is conveying who by what carriage and why. She has a confrontational thing with Mr. Knightley outside when he comes on his horse rather than in his carriage, which is made worse in that it follows up the reveal that he only used his carriage to go to the other party to convey the “lesser females”, which is actually a big plot point that the whole thing turns on. Mrs. Weston thinks that for Knightley to be so thoughtful he must be in love with Jane, but no, Mr. Knightley just understands math better than anyone and comes up with the right answer more times than anyone as well.I think it’s interesting that its brought up several times that Emma is always “meaning to read more” or improve herself to live up to the model of Jane that is always before her (the character who is perhaps only second to Mr. Knightley in coming up with the right answer, and even then she’s more impressive about it since she’s doing it with the handicap of having made a conventionally bad decision before the opening of the action), but doesn’t. I entirely understand it because I think she does meticulous enough work every day to make her household and relationships function in the way that they do. I mean, think about it. How many of these people are really suited to be living in such close quarters, where they are forced into repeated contact? Almost none of them. I think this really helps to explain one of the reasons why she befriends Harriet- she’s outside the equation, an X factor that Emma can throw in that might open up new possibilities, which might allow for different and more exciting things than seem currently possible with the options open to her. Her whole arc with Frank Churchill is sort of the same thing in that it represents another kind of escape from how hemmed in she is. He represents really the only person to whom she can really interact as an equal- someone to whom she doesn’t really have any obligations other than to enjoy herself and speak in a way that is not controlled by what she should be saying or should be doing. He’s not a total X factor in that he’s been mapped into the social hierarchy of the village even in his absence, but the way he’s been mapped means he’s been marked out for Emma. The way in which he’s thought of sort of gives her permission to think of him as belonging to her in a way that allows her to think and act selfishly in a manner that she mostly recognizes as wrong (hence why she almost immediately realizes that she’s not in love with him and would never marry him) but which is also a sweet relief. But that’s why the two golden children can’t be together. If they were, the math of obligations and ties and duties and privileges would be upset in a way that would rend asunder the balance of life in a way that could never be repaired. When Emma and Frank Churchill end up together, you end up with the 2008 banking crisis and Occupy Wall Street. Their choice to be together might have represented a choice that would have set them “free” in many ways, but free to be lesser than they could be or should be. It’s interesting to me that Austen had Knightley and Jane (her models of what it means to make correct choices, remember) step back to let Frank and Emma make that choice, and then we see how violently both characters freak out about having the higher, better models of humanity removed from them. Those two characters don’t want each other, because honestly at the base of it all, math motivates us- math gives us reasons to get up and move and do it again. Frank and Emma know they can’t do anything for each other- they could only live in self satisfied ease, beauty and comfort, and that’s not enough.Mirrors and crystal balls are the complement of this math. They’re always haunting the background of all the choices that are made in the novel. Austen is pretty methodical and amazing in how she’s able to make the whole novel a Hall of Mirrors that justifies the title of Emma even better than the fact that she is the main character. Most of the people in the town represent what Emma is and what she is not, and even more importantly, who she could be and who she is afraid she’ll be. Austen brings this out most consciously in the comparison to Miss Bates- who is not coincidentally Emma’s mortal enemy and bête noire. Emma has a conversation with Harriet where the scary specter of her turning into Miss Bates is discussed, and she outlines everything she feels makes her different from Miss Bates. For someone who turns up her nose at people in trade and prosperous farmers, she must have surprised herself by making her main point that she is rich and Miss Bates is poor and then having all other differences proceed from that. I don’t think its coincidental that Miss Bates is perhaps the most memorable character from the whole novel-she’s allowed to ramble on in conversations to the point where it almost seems like we’re experiencing Emma’s nightmare, not an actual person. Nor is it surprising that its Miss Bates she finally acts out on when she loses her shit- of all the equations and all the math she’s done in sorting out her life, Miss Bates is the one constant, loud, obnoxious reminder of the fact that not only is it possible that she’s added instead of multiplied, its possible that just like Miss Bates, math rather than affection will be all she has to rely on. Her second nightmare mirror is Jane Fairfax, and I think it’s definitely not an accident that Jane is essentially the creation of Miss Bates for most of the novel, who seems to (at least from Emma’s perspective) be actively trying to create the creature most designed to make Emma feel insecure, a person who exists to annoy her and slap her down at every turn, and all in such a sweet guise that there’s no way for Emma to slay the dragon- she just has to let it come at her again and again for her entire life. Emma spends most of the book reacting against, too, and around the mirror of Jane- and by whom she thinks that other people judge her, although this doesn’t seem to be the case.Much like with Frank, Jane is the natural person to be classed with Emma, by mathematical equation (age, sex, education, social class), but unlike Frank, Jane doesn’t have the potential to set Emma free. Instead Emma feels further hemmed in by her, almost until the point of suffocation, because it seems like people are telling her that she should be the incarnation of the math, which Emma hates. I think that’s what the whole “one cannot love a reserved person,” thing that repeats the whole novel was about. Yes, you should strive after the right answer as much as possible, and it always has to be there in your head, but you can’t let it rule you. You have to be brave enough to be a person sometimes, too, which is all Emma’s about and all she keeps saying the whole novel. Jane is the total opposite of that. Mrs. Elton is another mirror, with an exaggerated version of Emma’s pride and classism (which Emma usually ends up setting aside, but its always there). Harriet is some fascinatingly complex thing in her psyche where she’s simultaneously this self-hating symbol of what she thinks other people think of her (in that Harriet is the opposite of that) and perhaps also some twisted martyr like version of what she thinks of herself. Mrs. Weston is an idol, which could make her the same sort of suffocating symbol as Jane, but she escapes from that by being in another class and age that cannot be compared to Emma, and through her unconditional love. Other characters also reflect to each other and therefore back onto Emma again as well. The two Knightley brothers, to each other and to the other men of the village, Mr. Weston to Mr. Woodhouse and Mr. Woodhouse to Mr. Knightley and back again, and so on in a round, but it all comes back to Emma.The book actually reminded me of the feeling that I had towards the end of Madame Bovary, which was odd. That was also a book about living in tight spaces, which seemed to get smaller and smaller whenever you turned, and where the escapes offered to you seemed to have something lacking from them. I was gasping for air by the time that they got to Box Hill, which is I think exactly what Austen intends. But this Emma is not like that Emma. That Emma ignored the math more and more. She wasn’t breaking the rules so much as she was proposing an entirely different game. Austen’s Emma commits an infraction, but still recognizes the rules and the game and the players and has no desire to change them. Ultimately, I think the turning point is Emma realizing that she isn’t locked in the closet at all and she never was. I think there’s so much deception and hidden secrets because and misunderstandings because Emma needs to realize, again and again, that the labyrinth she’s built for herself is of her own making, and bears little to no relation to reality, and it’s damn good thing that it doesn’t. She has to get out of her own head and the crazy garden of fears, paranoias and dreams she’s created there and realize that it doesn’t matter whether she’s the fairest of them all or not. What matters is keeping intact the equation that’s lead to the right answer so often that she’s gotten careless about remembering that it still matters that she does it right, even when she’s moved on to calculus and imaginary equations.I’ve always related to Emma Woodhouse more than any of Austen’s other heroines, and this reading did not change that feeling. I still think she changes and grows in incredible amounts, in ways that make sense to me and seem genuine. I still want to hang out with her, and I’d still love to be a fly on the wall in her therapy sessions (you know if that weren’t a terrible thing to do) because I feel like she would help me to express a lot of things I feel myself- which she does every time I read this novel. Every once in awhile I come back to the question of why Austen thought others wouldn’t like her. I’ve decided at this point its because I think that her other heroines represent a type or statement of some kind that Austen was reacting to or working through, whereas Emma I think isn’t evocative of anything so sympathetic or recognizable in the symbolic universe. She seems like the most messy, true to life, screwed up, actual person that Austen wrote about. That’s not to say that the other heroines aren’t realistic, they are, but just that they’re tied up with these other languages and ideas and conversations in a way that Emma isn’t. She’s just sort of… this girl who’s trying to be a person and that’s all. She’s maybe the most modern in that respect. I don’t think I am expressing this well. Whatever, she’s still my Austen bestie. That is the important point here.Anyway, this is unbelievably long at this point so I’ll just offer an executive summary of my above points here: Whatevs, haters. JA, FTW! <} 4EVA!!* * *Original Review:This is one of the Holy Trinity of Austen (yes, I just made that up). And in my opinion, deservedly so. Emma is far and away the heroine that I identify the most with of all the Austen women. Jane Austen thought that nobody would like her when she wrote Emma... except maybe she underestimated how many people have things in common with her. She has so many deep flaws that are so easy to completely hate, but she means so very well, and is really a deeply caring person. She just has absolutely no self awareness yet, and has not matured enough to change her opinions when faced with opposition. Here is where she learns how. It reminded me so much of myself at a certain age, and even on some level right now. She's a snob, she's rather a bitch at times, she's condescending, and not all that perceptive. But I just love her anyway. Perhaps because I used to or still have those characteristics and want to believe that even those people will learn and deserve love in the end, even from a Mr. Knightley. But also, I think, because Austen creates her so sympathetically, that it's hard not to love her. This book explains motivations a lot more than in the others, and one gets a few sides of the story of errors towards the end of the book, as everything is set completely right again. I liked that, that she didn't let it go, but tied up all her threads to her readers' satisfaction. Or at least mine.PS- The Gwen Paltrow/Jeremy Northam movie? My first Austen movie. Got me into the genre, really. I think it's fantastic, and very sweet, and Jeremy Northam is perfectly well cast. Also: you'll see Ewan McGregor with an awful haircut, looking completely unattractive. It's kind of funny.

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-03-23 14:11

    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 word for it. He spends his day lounging around eating rich and expensive food and doesn’t bother to exercise his body or mental faculties. The thought of visiting his recently departed governess, a long-time family friend, is utterly deplorable. I mean, he can’t travel that far. She lives the great distance of half a mile away; thus, the only possibility is to hire a carriage. This isclearlythe only feasible solution to the problem. He is self-indulgent and spoilt, and in this Austen ushers in the origins of her heroine.Thankfully, Emma has a degree of sense. She is still a little spoilt; she still has a great deal to learn but she isn’t her farther. In addition, the departure of her governess is an agreeable experience. She has empathy. Whilst she misses her friend and her teacher, she is genuinely happy for her. Unlike her farther, seeing her friend enter a love filled marriage is an occasion for joy and celebration even if she dearly misses her company. So from very early on, Austen’s heroine is characterised as spoilt, her upbringing demands it so, but she is not without sense or a full awakening: she clearly has the capabilities of leading a successful life rather than one that resembles the useless vegetable state of her farther. She is a strong woman. She spends her days helping her new friend Harriet; she endeavours to find her the perfect husband, and sets about trying to improve her character. But through this, and her own naivety, Emma never considers her own youth, and that she, too, is in need of some degree of improvement. Thus sweeps in the straight shooter, the frank speaking, Mr Knightley. Emma has many reading lists (who doesn’t?) but she never bothers to complete them; she never finishes her own schedule: her own plans. She considers herself a true authority on marriage, on matchmaking, but her experience, her credentials, come from one fluke partnership. Her young age breeds arrogant ignorance. Because she has created one healthy marriage, she immediately thinks she knows what love is about: she thinks she will succeed again. And as a result she makes a series of terrible mistakes. Ones Mr Knightley is only too generous to point out. And this is Emma’s learning curve. Such irony!“Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing; but I have never been in love ; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.” Through the course of the plot she truly discovers herself. Austen’s heroines are frequently deluded, and Emma is deluded by her own will. She has no idea what love is, and in her well-meant advice, she frequently mistakes simple things such as gratitude and simple kindness as romantic interest. Austen being the wonderfully comic writer that she is, exploits this silly little misconception for the entire plot. Emma does finally get over herself. By the end she understands the feelings that are ready to burst forth from her own chest. Emma’s excess is her indulgence in her own opinion; she naively believes herself experienced when in reality she is juvenile, arrogant, self-absorbed, but full of real potential as a human being: she can do some good in this world and live for others. What she needed to do, and what Mr Knightly so desperately wanted to see, was for her to grow up. And she does: happiness reigns supreme.“Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.”I gave this five stars, but is it as enjoyable as other Austen’s? Simply put, it’s not. This lacked a plot driver. This wasn’t heading towards a clear and well defined fulfilment or resolution. I would certainly, and whole-heartedly, only recommend reading this one if you already enjoy Austen’s style. Whilst this does display Austen’s rapier wit in full force, the lack of narrative progress will scare most readers away. This has a great deal going for it, though it is terribly slow at points. If you’re not already an Austen lover, you should go read something else. For me though, I’m going to finally being readingPride and Prejudice soon. It will be very interesting to compare it toPersuasion and see which is the best.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-28 10:17

    My interpretation of the first 60+ pages of Emma:"Oh, my dear, you musn't think of falling for him. He's too crude and crass.""Oh, my dear Emma, you are perfectly correct. I shan't give him another thought.""Oh, my dear, that's good because I would have to knock you flat on your arse if you were considering someone of such low birth."Yawn. I tried, but life's too short. Plus, I like 'em crude and crass.Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder

  • Kai
    2019-04-07 11:01

    “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, and I really enjoyed it.I thought Emma couldn't be that bad, it's a popular classic and its rating is good. To be honest, it's not bad, exactly, but the fact that it took me one whole month to get through it says a lot. I had lots and lots of problems with this novel.1. EmmaSuch a vain and arrogant main character. I mean, I know she is supposed to be an unlikeable character for literary reasons. But that doesn't make it any easier.2. Miss BatesWhy bother wasting so much ink and paper on nonsense. Numerous pages of nonsense.3. They way people areWait. Let me guess. That character is - wait for it - pleasant? The nicest person in the world? Of such sweet disposition? So generous, exceptional, kind, satisfactory and pleasant. Please save me.4. The way people talkHours could go by and Emma and her father could talk about nothing but the pig they owned and had slaughtered, and what they'll make of it for dinner, and how nice it was that they gave some of it to the Bates, and if it was the right part of the pig they gave away, or if they should have given something else, but no it is all fine and pleasant, and that was very generous of them, and they will sure be very gratious, since they gave away such fine piece of pork, and won't dinner be nice and kick me on the shin pleasant.5. The plotScratch 300 pages of nonsense and nervewracking pleasantness and this could have been a book I enjoyed.Find more of my books on Instagram

  • Lisa
    2019-04-01 16:00

    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 start by confessing that I don’t like your heroine at all. Obviously, this sounds like a harsh judgment on a classic character like Emma Woodhouse, and I wouldn’t have dared to be as honest with you as I am, had I not been convinced that you dislike her even more than I do. For I can at least accept some of her conceited ignorance as a direct effect of the prejudice of her era, whereas you had to deal with her as a contemporary. It hardly helped at all that you gave her an antagonist in Mrs Elton who exceeded Emma’s vanity and narcissism.I struggle to find anything justifiable in the lifestyle displayed in “Emma”, and if I needed any proof that English class society was as parasitic as it was idiotic, your description of the idle life of the whole set of characters is perfectly enough to make me feel happy that I have not been born a “lady” with “prospects” in England in the early 19th century. If Jane Fairfax’ worst fate is to use her education to teach young children, and her best luck is to be married to a character like Frank Churchill, I personally see no big difference between her heaven and my hell.As for Emma’s clueless and spoiled behaviour - she is the strongest case against the reasonableness of Mr Knightley.My dear Jane Austen, as you can see, I didn’t care for any of your characters, which I found to be dull, arrogant, deceitful and just plain stupid. I didn’t care for the idea that bliss is marrying into a situation that gives you the right to bully others and look down on people whose family tree isn’t fashionable enough. I certainly didn’t care about Emma’s meddling in her friends’ lives, to the point of telling one of her friends that she would not be able to see her anymore if she married a certain man, considered “low”. I didn’t care for the “happy end” with all those marriages - magically matching the couples according to their social status.Why, do you ask, dear Jane Austen, and rightly so, did you devour the novel then, if it has so little merit?I did it because it had the same effect as a well-scripted soap opera: I wanted to know who ended up with whom despite my shudders, and I continued to follow Emma from misconception to misconception in paralysed fascination with the vulgarity of her mind. It had one extremely important advantage compared to a soap opera though, and that is where you may take credit, my dear Jane Austen! It had funny, sarcastic moments, and it was a delightful tribute to the beauty of the English language. That is more than any soap opera can achieve. So thank you for that!As I am quite a fan of your other novels’ titles, combining two main ideas in alliterations, I have been thinking about how to create an ABC of “Emma” using the same literary device. First, I thought the title must unmistakably be “Art and Arrogance”, being an adequate description of Emma’s schemes. Then I thought about the awkwardness of the characters. As they are constantly mistaken about each other’s intentions and feelings, I settled for “Blush and Blunders”. In the end, though, my dislike of the general worldview on display in the novel made me go for the C option:CLASS AND CLOWNERY!In my mind, that is what “Emma” should be rightly called, and I hope you don’t mind my being so honest with you, my dear Jane Austen, for just like your lovely character Mrs Elton, I claim that “I am no flatterer, and I will make up my own mind about things”. As you know, that is highly unusual and very brave (but not very modest!), especially in a society which deals in classic literature, where your novels are part of the aristocracy.I will be closing my letter by expressing my infinite gratitude. Without “Emma”, I wouldn’t have realised how incredibly lucky I am to be able to call people from all walks of life my friends, how blessed I am to have a family in which equality is the major basis for attachment, in which my profession is a source of pride and happiness and steady income!Without Emma, I might have forgotten how dull it is to be spoiled and privileged and superior!Yours truly,The devoted reader, whose family tree will probably prevent you from reading the letter

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    2019-04-16 11:09

    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 days. But, as Mr. Knightely pointed out, Harriet was not from some wealthy family and Emma was doing the wrong thing in trying to find her a great husband. Mr. Knightley went to the trouble to help Mr. Martin in how to go about asking for Harriet's hand in marriage and Emma shut that down. But lets just say it all worked out in the end. Emma went on a journey of trying to get people together. She wanted to bring people together and have them all married off. It seemed that it always back fired. Bless her heart for trying. She really was just trying to do good even though some of her thoughts and actions were not that kind. Emma's father, Mr. Woodhouse was a peculiar character. I can't say too much because it seemed that what they called "his nerves" back then, sounds just like some forms of my panic disorder and agoraphobia. So I'm not going to go on about him not wanting to leave the house or him hating for anyone leaving him, he had issues, so just leave him alone. It was such fun reading about the story line and all of the descriptions in the book. Some things reminded me of Pride & Prejudice in that way but of course I love that book better. But Emma was a little enchantment all on it's own. Then Emma tries to set Harriet up with Mr. Elton and that backfired as well as he had a crush on Emma. Poor Emma once again made a mistake. "Here have I," said she, "actually talked poor Harriet into being very much attached to this man. She might never have thought of him but for me; and certainly never would have thought of him with hope, if I had not assured her of his attachment, for she is as modest and humble as I used to think him. Oh! that I had been satisfied with persuading her not to accept young Martin. There I was quite right. That was well done of me; but there I should have stopped, and left the rest to time and chance. I was introducing her into good company, and giving her the opportunity of pleasing someone worth having; I ought not to have attempted more. But now, poor girl, her peace is cut up for some time. I have been but half a friend to her; and if she were not to feel this disappointment so very much, I am sure I have not an idea of anybody else who would be at all desirable for her--William Coxe--oh! no, I could not endure William Coxe--a pert young lawyerI did not like Frank Churchill from the start. There was just something devious about him. Emma didn't like certain things he did but she was a friend to him anyway. But getting to read about the love slowly unfolding between Mr. Knightly and Emma was so sweet. You could tell there was something there and they were both hiding it. Until the bitter end when Mr. Knightly finally confesses his love and Emma to him. And they had their wedding. How sweet is that, Emma finally finding her own love instead of trying to find it for others. I thought the book was really good and enjoyed it a great deal. ♥MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

  • Henry Avila
    2019-04-18 12:20

    Emma , a young woman in Regency England lives with her rich, but eccentric widowed father Henry Woodhouse, in the rural village of Highbury, always concerned about his health (hypochondriac, in the extreme), and anybody else's , Mr. Woodhouse, constantly giving unwanted advise to his amused friends and relatives, they tolerate the kindly old man. Miss Woodhouse ( they're very formal, in those days), is very class conscious a bit of a snob ( but lovable), and will not be friends with people below her perceived rank, the Woodhouse family, is the most prominent in the area, she likes matchmaking... her friend and governess Miss Taylor, with a little help from Emma, married Mr.Weston, a close friend of their family, later regretted by both father and daughter, as her presence is greatly missed. And older sister Isabella, earlier had left to be the wife of John Knightley and moved away, she is ... in a lonely place. Then Emma surprisingly chooses a protege, Harriet Smith, a seventeen year old girl with an unknown background, ( illegitimate? ) lives in Mrs.Goddard's boarding school for girls, hoping to groom the unfortunate young lady and raise her to a higher position in society. Besides the slightly spoiled Miss Woodhouse , even her friends call her by that name, will have a companion to talk to. Mr.Woodhouse's company, lacks stimulation understandably, how much talk about illness the devoted daughter, or anyone else take? Emma believes she can discover people's emotions by watching them, know who they love, not true but that fact doesn't stop the lady from trying to marry off Harriet, thinking her own beaus, really want to marry Miss Smith instead of her, big mistakes follow, hurt feelings, embarrassing situations, ironically the clueless Emma encouraged Harriet to turn down Robert Martin, a farmer with an excellent reputation, but a lowly position in the world. George Knightley a nearby neighbor, the older brother of John, rents the farm to Mr.Martin, he thinks very well of the young man ...Another neighbor , good Miss Bates a spinster, never lacks words ...too much so, for many, but her friends allow it, ( most of the time) her niece, the pretty Jane Fairfax, her late sister's daughter, comes to visit her and her mother, the grandmother is happy also to see their beautiful relative. She plays the piano quite well and sings delightfully too, better than Emma and the envious girl, becomes a rival, Miss Woodhouse has long been the local leader of society here, what there is of it...The prodigal son of Mr. Weston and his late first wife, returns, mysteriously (some secrets are hidden), Frank Weston Churchill, adopted by his rich aunt and uncle. Emma and Jane are attractive to the charming gentleman , but the wise George Knightley doesn't feel he is a serious man, a bit of a fop, more interested in his appearance than anything more. A wonderful book about manners, class rank and country society of the landed gentry, in old England, that doesn't exist anymore...

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-04-01 13:04

    Done! and you know, Emma is a better character than I previously gave her credit for. Of course, Mrs Elton makes any other woman look like a saint.Full review to come.Initial comments: Would it be bad to say I like Mr Knightley better than Emma herself? Jane Austen famously wrote: "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." Truer words, Jane. Truer words.April 2017 group read with Catching Up on the Classics. Emma gets another shot with me.

  • Lora
    2019-04-10 16:25

    Although using this trite doesn't mean that the fact is any less true, it is still at the risk of sounding cliché when I say that Jane Austen's classic, Emma, is like a breath of fresh air when juxtaposed to the miasmal novels in the publishing market today; especially for someone who has been on a YA binge of late.You see, the reason why I went for Emma as my first Austen read is because my mother has seen the latest movie adaptation, and she claims it to be her very favorite. Mind you, she hasn't read any thing of Austen's—but she loves the movie so very much that she kept pestering me to watch it (I suppose I'll have to pester her to read the book now, won't I?). To which I continually said that, no, no, I will not watch the movie until I've read the book; I positively hate to watch the movie adaptation before reading the book; it virtually cancels out any chance of me ever finding enough interest in reading the actual book to its completion.So, after picking up Emma at least ten times in the past year, reading the first few chapters, only to sit it back down again, I finally—the other day—decided I wanted to read something of quality and something that is truly written well. Well, that is definitely Emma.Emma, herself, is, for me, just as stunning as she is flawed; I started out thinking her a walking vexation, but somewhere in the 400+ pages I began to warm to her like you would with any inevitably lovable—albeit, at times, antagonising—character. Emma's devotion to her father is also very admirable. And by the end, Emma seemed so much more humble and less meddling that I couldn't help but be very pleased with her character.My thoughts on Mr. Knightley are not as easily expressed; in the beginning I found him merely interesting, but somewhere in the middle he began to hold my interest as much as a mother would hold her infant (if that isn't too much of an odd metaphor); by the end he managed to surpass virtually all of the other male characters of which I've been exposed to. Granted, Mr. Knightley isn't in Emma nearly enough for my satisfaction—but when he is, the aforesaid is all too true. I can't quite place my finger on what it is, exactly, about him that made such an impression on me—other than that I've always had a strong fascination with a true gentleman, being as that sort of thing is practically extinct in this day and age; also, I've grown very jaded with the often monotonous male characters of today. And I do believe that my reaction to Mr. Knightley has left me at a wonder as to just want my reaction will be upon meeting the famous Mr. Darcy. I'll doubtlessly swoon just as countless other lasses have since P&P debuted in 1813.I really think that my hesitation in reading this—as well as Austen's other works—has nothing to do with the writing, or the story, or the pacing; because, and I know this will sound strange, but, I've always loved a book that is just about people going about their daily lives and doing things—little trivial things, even—and simply living; people say that Emma doesn't have much story and is really just people planning balls and Emma interfering in peoples' lives—but I loved all of that! I'll take everyday living over complex plots any day. No, I think the reason for my waiting so long is that I psyched myself out of reading something like this; I kept thinking that it would be too long or too boring or too archaic or too something or another, but in reality this is the very type of thing that I love to read about. Regency, Victorian, etc. . . . I love to read about all of the historical periods, and I'm so very glad that I stopped procrastinating.So, I enjoyed this a great deal and I've set a goal for myself to read all of Austen's works by this time next year (although I kindly ask you not you hold me to it ;)). I plan to continue with her other slightly lesser known titles, and finish with what appears to me to be the most well known and highly esteemed, Pride and Prejudice. In a summary, I plan to save the best—or what is often said to be the best—for last.FAVORITE QUOTE: "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other."Although I have many favorite quotes from this (the rest can be read below), that particular quote stood out the most because it is so very true. Expect to see it in my future reviews.I highly recommend Emma to everyone; both lovers and reluctant readers of classics.

  • Mandy
    2019-03-23 12:57

    I can't do it! I can't finish it! I keep trying to get into Jane Austen's stuff and I just can't make it further than 150 pages or so. Everything seems so predictable and sooooo long-winded. I feel like she is the 19th century John Grisham. You know there's a good story line in there somewhere, and if you could edit out 60% of the words it would be fantastic. Sorry to all the Jane Austen fans-you inspired me to try one more time and I failed!

  • Amy
    2019-04-11 12:58

    Of all of Austen's books - and I've read them all several times - I learn the most from Emma. I believe that one of Austen's goals in writing is to teach us to view the rude and ridiculous with amusement rather than disdain. And in Emma we have the clearest and most powerful picture of what happens when we don't do this: when Emma speaks out against Miss Bates. Though rude on Emma's part, we can't help but love her for her mistake and feel her shame because we've all been there. When I feel I can't take [for example] one more family situation, one more draining phone call, one more person unloading on me, I read Emma and remind myself how to behave.

  • Renato Magalhães Rocha
    2019-03-29 09:22

    "With insufferable vanity had she believed herself in the secret of everybody's feelings; with unpardonable arrogance proposed everybody's destiny. She was proved to have been universally mistaken. She had brought evil on Harriet, on herself, and she too much feared, on Mr. Knightley."Regarded as one of Jane Austen's most important works, Emma is a novel about a handsome, clever and rich young woman - Miss Woodhouse - who lives on the fictional estate of Hartfield, in the Surrey village of Highbury with her hypochondriac father. The story begins when Miss Taylor, her former governess and the mother figure who raised her (Emma's real mother is dead) marries a neighbor - Mr. Weston - and leaves Hartfield. Emma is now left alone with her father, whom she adores and is devoted to.Seen as society's best, Emma seems to have everything she needs to be happy and satisfied: beauty, money, intelligence, class and talent. Everyone admires her and it seems she can do no wrong: except for Mr. Knightley, the brother of her sister Isabel's husband, and who also lives near Hartfield. He's known Emma since she was a little girl and is the only one who feels free to tell her the truth, sincerely give her his opinions and advise her against her selfishness and arrogance.Austen was bold to write and name a book after a character that's not really likable - which happens in Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (see my review) as well, who coincidentally was also named Emma - or at least is not instantly likable. We're presented to an immature and spoiled person who takes on intents of pairing up couples - perhaps even with good intentions - but ultimately playing with other people's lives.Harriet Smith, a "project" she chooses for herself is her biggest victim. Led to believe by Emma that she's better than suitor Robert Martin, Harriet turns down his marriage proposal that she was initially inclined to accept. This is the first of a series of disservices that Emma does to Miss Smith. Believing the clergyman Mr. Elton was more suited as a husband for her friend, Miss Woodhouse embarks on schemes and manipulations to play the role of a matchmaker. Blindsided by her snobbery, she never realizes that Mr. Elton has his eyes set on her instead of her good and willing pupil.Decided to never get married herself, Emma is appalled when Mr. Elton declares his love to her and turns him down. Here, it's important to note that Austen never uses narration as means to indisputably lay out all of her character's inner feelings. Instead, she wonders about their reasons and has us trying to guess what lies beneath their actions. Why would the most prominent household in Highbury wish to never get married? Does she believe she's too good for every man she knows or is there a fear of rejection in the mix somewhere? Could it be a fear of change?Things are shaken up and change does seem to be on its way to the village's trite life when Frank Churchill - Mr. Weston's son by his first marriage who was raised by his aunt - comes to visit his father and is introduced to Emma. Instantly drawn to each other, they bond and it seems a marriage between the two is all the Westons can hope for the near future. Intimately confabulating at all social events, Emma and Frank seem to have no scruples on conjecturing about Jane Fairfax – Jane, the young niece of Miss Bates, is seen by everyone to be Emma’s equal and Emma has some rivalry feelings towards her –, who is believed to be involved in a love triangle back at London, where she was brought up and raised by the Campbells.We learn later, however, that this union the Westons longed for was never among Frank's designs and that he has been playing everyone all along. Austen masterfully uses Frank's duplicity and actions as a parallel to Emma's schemes and manipulations as her own intentions were never completely out in the open as well. But it isn't with satisfaction we become aware that Emma's been toyed with for we're already warming up to her ways and witnessing the beginning of her redemption at this point: it all starts with a strong reprimand from Mr. Knightley after a malicious remark she makes to and about Miss Bates; this brings Emma to tears and she realizes not only that her line was unpleasant, but that she's been unfair to Jane Fairfax and to her good friend Harriet as well.In the end, Emma played with fire. Fortunately for her, consequences weren't as harmful as they could have been and she ended up actually growing as a person and learning from her faults. Could she have avoided mostly everything she and her friends went through? Probably yes. Would she be the person she is by the end of the book? Probably not. Would she be mature enough to realize what was right in front of her and to make the right decision she did that ultimately changed her life? Definitely not.Rating: for Austen's ever present wit and irony and for her magistral account of Emma's inner development, 4 stars.

  • Lizzy
    2019-04-09 09:04

    I hope not to raise any of my friends’ sensibilities when I tell you that although I liked Emma, I did not love it. Emma simply did not move me. "With insufferable vanity had she believed herself in the secret of everybody's feelings; with unpardonable arrogance proposed everybody's destiny. She was proved to have been universally mistaken. She had brought evil on Harriet, on herself, and she too much feared, on Mr. Knightley."I liked the hilarity of her well-meaning but misdirected attempts at match making, I liked the satire of Jane Austen’s prose and the well developed characters. I enjoyed reading about the intentionally annoying Miss Bates and Mrs. Elton, the first incessantly chatty, the second bossy and interfering. I suffered along with Mr. Woodhouse for all his maladies, and I really liked Mr. Knightley, and how he relates to Emma. However, I kept waiting for more. I thought the love stories lacked romance, they seemed an after thought or simply lacked deeper feelings, and I am a romantic at heart. Maybe I am being too strict in granting Emma only 3 stars, but I think it appropriate compared with my ratings of 4 stars for Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility, and 5 stars for Pride and Prejudice. Nevertheless, recommended.

  • mark monday
    2019-04-09 14:00

    Jane Austen seems to be a rather divisive figure as of late. You love her for her wit, her irony, her gentle but pointed depictions of manners and love. Or you hate her because she seems to be harking back to an age of prescribed gender roles and stultifying drawing room conversation. I am of the former camp.Emma may be one of her more divisive novels and the title character one of her more controversial creations. Or perhaps that should be – one of her more irritating creations. She exasperates readers: people are annoyed by her as they are annoyed by people like Emma in real life. She is a snob, she is a busybody, she is high-handed and she puts her great intellect in service of manipulating the people around her; and all through this, she is utterly convinced of her strong ideals and her noble aims. But this is exactly why I love her. I don’t yearn for perfection in heroes and heroines. I like them real, imperfect, deluded, flawed. It is important to recognize that Austen somewhat stacks the deck by surrounding her heroine with a loveable (and sometimes not so loveable) gallery of soft-headed nitwits and ne’er-do-wells. How can a person of such superior intellect, such depth of spirit, do else but try to improve their lot? She is only trying to be of service to them, to all of the imperfect humans who cross her path! I can’t help but empathize with her clearly Virgoan tendencies to reform and to improve – and to serve, in her own way. When reading about Emma’s zany hijinks, part of me stood back in awe at her ability to fool herself so utterly. And another part of me wanted to kiss those foolish, snobby little comments off of her no-doubt lovely face. But yet I don’t think I have a crush on Emma, it is more of a brotherly feeling. She’s like the ideal bossy older sister – frustrating, annoying, convinced of her superiority - yet kind beyond measure, golden of heart. Wonderfully flawed.

  • s.p
    2019-03-23 10:57

    ‘Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.’Emma Woodhouse, the heroine and namesake of Jane Austen’s last novel to be published within her lifetime, spends her days of leisure playing matchmaker and offering the reader her keen eye for the character of the locals of Highbury. However, this keen eye may not be as accurate as she would wish it to be. Through her inaccurate impressions of those around her, and of her own feelings, the reader is able to construct a strikingly accurate and detailed portrait of the events and players at hand. Emma is a comedy of social errors that displays Austen as an expert novelist exercising her careful control over the ironies and implications of ambiguous observations.Austen has a charming method of careful show and tell at work in Emma, and stands back from any authorial instruction to allow the reader to piece the evidence together through the deductions revealed by Emma. She is able to place events out in the open, yet lead the reader astray down a path of thinking that will turn out to be hilariously false and embarrassing for all those involved. Emma, who fancies herself quick witted and wise – which she truly is, although prone to a gross misdiagnosis of events – sets many of her friends and family up for failure and blunder by trying to position their hearts in the direction she sees best. However, these goals of hers rarely work out and, as usually explained by Mr. Knightly, are wholly unrealistic. Take her first blunder for instance, when she tries to place a match between Harriet, a pretty yet dim girl of unknown parentage, with Mr. Elton, a handsome and handsomely wealthy bachelor with an eye for business. Emma, living a life in high society with no concern with finances or needs, is blind to the notion that matches of the time must be ‘smart’ and that a man of his stature couldn’t fathom marrying a girl such as Harriet. Austen uses these mistaken beliefs and faults to highlight the truths of her society, truths that are never fully expressed or detailed other than as the negation of these misdirected observations.Throughout the course of the novel, Austen paints a portrait of perfection strictly through brushstrokes of imperfection. Characters are revealed primarily through their annoying faults, and often come across as exceptionally irritating at first. There is Mr. Woodhouse and his painfully narrow-minded opinions, who sees marriage as ‘dreadful business’ because it affects a change in the fabric of his society (the governess at Hartfield is married in the novels opening, which causes her to move from Mr. Woodhouse’s home to live with her husband. Although this is a happy match, he only speaks of her as ‘poor Ms. Taylor’ through the entire novel as if his burden of being left behind should blanket over anyone’s happiness and that she should be looked at as being a victim for having to leave his side), and views any aberration from spending a quiet night before his fire as an inconceivable offense. We also have Ms. Bates, who cannot stop talking to save her life, John Knightly who finds pretty much everything in poor taste, Harriet and her lovesick ways, the list goes on. Yet, despite the annoying habits of virtually every character in the book (Emma must also be included, as she is quite grating and arrogant) the reader will learn to love them, especially when juxtaposed with characters whose faults are truly unbecoming and unforgivable. Mrs. Elton, who arrives in the second half of the novel, is pompous, arrogant, conceited and, worst of all, passive aggressive. All the faults of characters that initially aggravate the reader will melt away under the brute force of the truly annoying characters. Plus, as Emma learns, the reader will begin to see these characters as real people, who bleed when cut and grieve when offended. Much like the real people around us, we must learn to accept people for their good qualities, which added up, outweigh the bad ones, i.e. Ms. Bates may not be able to shut her mouth, but she has a good heart and cares for all those around her. Through only seeing faults, we are able to understand the goodness of others: ‘“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!’ When Mr. Knightly scolds Emma for her insult to Ms. Bates, Austen is using him to directly scold the reader for their ill-feelings of such a kind hearted women. We are asked to check ourselves and behave with proper respect that we expect from the characters. There is a very positive message about treating one another right that underlines this novel. Initially, I was annoyed by Emma and took joy in watching Emma falter and fall, but eventually the real satisfaction came from watching her get back up and carry on with dignity.We are presented with a very unique vision of perfection with this novel. Even the eventual happy wedding which closes this novel is described primarily by its shortcomings, and the ways it failed to meet any quality of standards in Mrs. Elton's eyes. This conclusion offers a perfect summation of the novel in two ways. First, that perfection is attainable despite flaws, and that if in the end we are left with a happy instance, or a character who's positive qualities outweigh their flaws, then we have achieved the sense of perfection allotted to humans beings, a flawed species by nature. Secondly, we see that this wedding was a failure based on Mrs. Elton's opinion, a character depicted as always insisting upon their opinions, style of dress, manners, acquaintances, vacation places, former homes, etc. as superior to anyone else's. This insistance of 'being perfect' of hers is her ultimate flaw, and for something to not meet her expectations makes it seem all the more amiable simply for irritating her (as she is sure to be a source of constant irritation to the reader as well as Emma). Austen shows us that we should aim for what makes us happy and is fitting with our character than for what is truly perfect, a utopian notion that if actually aimed to meet, as in the case of Mrs. Elton, will only appear as snobbery and faulty. All in all, Austen shows us to embrace our flaws as what makes us unique and endearing.Misdirection is the name of the game in Emma, and it is quite funny to watch how so many different inferences can be deduced from the same set of observations. Austen exploits the double entendre quite masterfully here. The reader must be wary when setting foot out in Highbury, as things are not always what they seem (they must also have pockets full of gold as there is a bit of disdain for anyone not wealthy enough. The characters show, as is fitting with the times, a bit of snobbery. There is a scene when Harriet and a friend come across Gypsies and it can more or less be understood as ‘oh no! Poor people! They will infect us with their poorness and filth! Oh what a dreadful world that I should have to have my eyes insulted by poor people!’. And also Emma often puts forth the belief – which is eventually overturned – that farmers are trashy illiterates.) This is quite the novel to laugh along with, and I found it to be more satisfying than Austen’s other commonly read work, Pride and Prejudice. Here, while still being centered on the idea of smart matches, there is a lot less emphasis on enduring love and such which had turned me off when I had P&P forced upon me as a 15yr old boy. Also, this book seems to still feel relevant and translate well to modern events. Check out the movie Clueless (well okay, 90's events), and you will find the plot cleverly satirized. One would do well to keep in mind that Austen meant much of this novel as satire, so when characters become too irritating or too high and mighty, it helps to realize Austen is poking for at these cliches in the world around her. It is quite fun to laugh at these events along with Austen. I would highly recommend this to anyone, and it would make a great introduction to this wonderful author.4/5'One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other'

  • Diane
    2019-04-07 12:05

    This was the perfect book to reread during my Christmas break. I am a devoted fan of Jane Austen's work, but even so, I find "Emma" to be particularly charming and insightful. The story of the "handsome, clever and rich" Emma Woodhouse, who is determined to be a matchmaker among her friends but is constantly making blunders, is one that always makes me smile when I read it. I especially like the descriptions of Emma's neighbors and of Highbury. Indeed, the novel is so vivid I feel as if I could walk to the village and buy some fabric at Ford's, then call on Miss Bates and Miss Jane Fairfax — perhaps I will see Mrs. Elton there — and I shall return to Hartfield for a visit with Mrs. Weston and Mr. Knightley, which will be the first time I will have heard any sense spoken all day. I admit I get irritated when people write off Austen's novels as mere romances, when there is so much social commentary going on. What struck me anew as I read this book (I think for my fourth time) is how well the idiosyncrasies of each character are observed. So many traits remind me of people I actually know! This novel was published in 1815, but the egos, presumptions, shrewdness and foibles of each person are just as real today. The endless, silly chatter of Miss Bates, the duplicitous dealings of Mr. Frank Churchill and the snobby arrogance of Mr. Elton are so authentic that I frequently paused to laugh at who I was reminded of. And every time Mrs. Elton spoke, I was terrified of ever seeming like her: "self-important, presuming, familiar, ignorant and ill-bred. She had a little beauty and a little accomplishment, but so little judgment that she thought herself coming with superior knowledge of the world, to enliven and improve a country neighborhood."Luckily the story also has the wisdom of Mr. Knightley and the friendly counsel of Mrs. Weston to keep us grounded. Some of my favorite lines in the book are from Mr. Knightley: "Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief." "Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives." "A man would always wish to give a woman a better home than the one he takes her from; and he who can do it, where there is no doubt of her regard, must, I think, be the happiest of mortals.""If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.""My Emma, does not everything serve to prove more and more the beauty of truth and sincerity in all our dealings with each other?"I give this novel 5 stars for its keenness, beauty and delightfulness. UpdateI want to address some of the comments from GR friends. I think it's true that a fair number of readers do not enjoy "Emma" as much as Jane Austen's other novels because of frustrations with the main character. Emma thinks she knows better than everyone else, she makes some foolish decisions, she is filled with self-importance and she can be vain. All true, and yes, those are unlikable qualities. But I like Emma in spite of that, because I enjoy laughing at the situations. Emma reminds me of so many young people who do think they know everything and who refuse to take the advice of their elders. It also helps knowing that Emma does learn from her mistakes and that she is making wiser decisions by the end of the book. Some character growth and a happy ending make me like her more.Jane Austen anticipated that Emma would be a "character whom no one but me will much like.” Well, I like her. I do understand why Emma is not be considered a favorite of the Austen heroines, but I will continue to find her amusing.

  • Amalia Gavea
    2019-04-09 16:24

    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 heroine Jane Austen has created. It may be so, since she is rather headstrong, spoiled and with a strong tendency to plan other people's lives, without giving a second thought to all possible consequences, secluded in the protection of Hartfield, her house, her bubble. It may be so but we should not forget that she has no siblings, and an onlychild, more often than not, believes that the world probably revolves around him/her. And I am an onlychild, so don't judge me... :)I recently revisited Emma's world for a group discussion, and I once again found myself utterly charmed by Jane Austen's creation. In this novel, she presents all the vices of the aristocracy, all the possible ways the high and mighty use to look down on those who are less fortunate, and she does so with style and elegance, and her unique satire. Yes, Emma is a difficult character, but I think we must regard her the way we do with a younger sister or a younger cousin who has yet to experience the difficulties of the ''real'' world ''out there''. Emma is a charming character, for all her faults. Frankly, I find her a bit more realistic than the other iconic heroines, the ever - perfect Elizabeth, the always - sensible and cautious Eleanor, or the ever - waiting, passive Anne. Emma makes many mistakes and regrets, but her heart is kind. After all, don't we become a little stupid when we fall in love? (view spoiler)[And I am not ashamed to admit that I fully sided with Emma in the infamous picnic scene. In my opinion, she gave voice to what everyone was thinking. (hide spoiler)]The rest of the characters are all iconic as well. Mr .Knightley is sensible, gentle, gallant, the true voice of reason. I highly prefer him compared to Mr. Darcy. Frank Churchill joins Sense and Sensibility's John Willoughby as the two most unsympathetic young suitors in Jane Austen's works, Harriet is well...Harriet, and Miss Taylor is a lady that I believe all of us would want as a close friend and adviser.Emma is a wonderful journey, full of satire, lively, realistic characters and the beautiful descriptions of a tiny English town. It is small wonder that there have been so many adaptations in all media, the big screen, TV and in theatre. The best adaptation, in my opinion, is the 2009 BBC TV series, with Romola Garai as Emma and Jonny Lee Miller as a dreamy Mr. Knightley.

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-03-28 10:16

    Second revived review to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. Sorry Jane, this is rather a feeble review.*****The only thing I can remember about this beloved novel is that I read it on the bus to work. That's it. On the bus. Sorry. The three stars is because I like reading on buses.

  • Apatt
    2019-04-05 09:12

    Upon my word! After reading a couple of chapters of Emma I do declare—with all due respect—that Miss Emma Woodhouse is one silly cow. I have sought assurance from my dear friend—the very learned Mrs. Roberts from a nearby vicarage—regarding correct usage of the term “silly cow”, and she has given me her approbation with the greatest felicity.Yes, Emma Woodhouse is clueless, so much so that the wonderful 1995 movie Clueless is entirely based on her story. Emma likes to make matches, and I don’t mean her hobby is to make short, thin pieces of wood with a bit of phosphorus that ignites. No, indeed, Miss Woodhouse fancies herself as some kind of cupid and does the job disastrously.The first thing she does upon meeting young naïve 17 year old Harriet Smith is to make a project out of her:“She would notice her; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her into good society; she would form her opinions and her manners. It would be an interesting, and certainly a very kind undertaking; highly becoming her own situation in life, her leisure, and powers.”I was thinking “What the hell? You silly cow!”. Anyway, in the process, she dissuades poor Harriet from accepting a desirable marriage proposal and pursues the snobbish Mr. Elton instead. Possibly the funniest scene in the book is when “Mr. Elton actually making violent love to her”—to Emma that is—without anybody taking their clothes off. It’s more in the Eltonesque tradition of “Don’t go breaking my heart”.Jane Austen was well aware of the flaw in Emma’s character, she even described the character as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”. Of course she is not quite correct, lots of people like Emma Woodhouse, even I warmed up to her toward the end of the book (as Austen undoubtedly intended). UnlikeMansfield Park andSense and Sensibility which I enjoyed from the first chapter it took me more than half the book to appreciate Emma’s appeal. Her conceitedness and snobbery is almost unbearable in the early chapters. It is only when consecutive events start to confound her that I started to really enjoy the novel.As usual Austen’s characters are very well drawn, from Emma herself, to the twittering Miss Bates, the ridiculous Mr. Elton and his even more ridiculous wife who appears later in the book. The novel’s love interest for Emma can be spotted a mile off. He is another Darcy clone: taciturn, with good looks, sensibility, kindness and wisdom to spare. He is called Mr. Knightley on this occasion. By the end of the book I was quite sold on Emma the novel and the character. In all fairness to the poor eponymous character I was of a similarly bovine intellect at her age, and I am not sure to be able to claim to have improved significantly since.As with most of her books—on the surface—the novel seems to depict the small world and small concerns of her characters, but Austen has deeper observations to makes about the social mores and class system of her times. I believe she is also cautioning her readers against overconfidence in one’s abilities in spite of inexperience and lack of accomplishment.It took a while but I eventually succumbed to Emma’s charms. Let’s see how long you can resist._________________NotesFor better or for worse I have reviewed five out of six Jane Austen novels now. OnlyPride and Prejudice left to reread and review. I think I quite like her stuff.I "read" this (mostly) on audiobook, thank you Ms. Elizabeth Klett for her reliably pleasant and melodious narration. If you are looking for free audiobooks with beautiful, professional level narration look for titles narrated by her at few quotes from Clueless, just because I can't even:Cher Horowitz: “So okay, I don't want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don't get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair - ew - and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we're expected to swoon? I don't think so.”"Do you prefer "fashion victim" or "ensembly challenged"?"Travis: “I would like to say this. Tardiness is not something you can do on your own. Many, many people contributed to my tardiness. I would like to thank my parents for never giving me a ride to school, the LA city bus driver who took a chance on an unknown kid and last but not least, the wonderful crew from McDonalds who spend hours making those egg McMuffins without which I might never be tardy.”Murray: Your man Christian is a cake boy!Cher, Dionne: A what?Murray: He's a disco-dancing, Oscar Wilde-reading, Streisand ticket-holding friend of Dorothy, know what I'm saying?Cher: Uh-uh, no way, not even!Murray: Yes, even; he's gay!Dionne: He does like to shop, Cher. And the boy can dress.Tai: Do you think she's pretty?Cher: No, she's a full-on Monet.Tai: What's a monet?Cher: It's like a painting, see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess. Let's ask a guy. Christian, what do you think of Amber?Christian: Hagsville.Cher: See?

  • Simona Bartolotta
    2019-04-11 14:23

    All these beautiful rereads I'm forced to do because of university are going to mess with my avg rating of this year, but I DON'T CARE.Sometimes I think I like Emma even better than I like Pride and Prejudice. It's so fresh, so sparkly, so linguistically nimble, I would deem it impossible if I hadn't read it twice, bought three copies of it, and watched the movie far too many times to count.“I cannot make speeches, Emma:” -he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. -“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”Well said, my love. Well said.And it seems that these rereads of Jane Austen that I'm doing are meant to make me notice things that I hadn't noticed or not really focused on in my first readings, because this time around I hopelessly fell in love with (view spoiler)[Frank Churchill's and Jane Fairfax's (hide spoiler)] subplot. I adored them. He is such an idiot, but his love for her is unmistakable; and once again, though their "secret" is mostly seen as a semi-scandal of the acceptable type, the way Austen developed it (I'm also referring to the interactions between the two characters) feels so modern, it's impossible not to empathize. I think I wouldn't mind reading a paraquel about them, and if any of you knows of any please let me know.

  • Bradley
    2019-03-29 14:08

    I'm pretty impressed with this busybody know-it-all. :) As a character novel, the entire thing is extremely dense and interesting and oh-so-convoluted. As a plot novel, it's not so much of anything. :)Fortunately, I was in the mood for something that would lift individual silly characters from the realm of the opinionated and silly and and arrogant to the level of real humanity with eyes flying open.Honestly, Austen is great at this kind of zinger. It's all about the self-realizations and the growth as a person. Sometimes there's marriages, too. Um. Wait. There's always marriages. :) This silly little girl is entirely about being a matchmaker, but doesn't have enough self-knowledge to make anything but a lucky shot work. :)So now we have an entire novel about her misadventures and misunderstandings and her amazing talent at making a hash out of everything... but wait! Emma is very, very good at putting the blinders on, too, so she's pretty much a master at ignoring the facts and making all of her mess-ups feel perfectly rational and reasonable.This is comedic gold for a certain type of reader. :)Of course, if you're like me, you might get seriously annoyed at all the reaffirmations of gender roles, the horribly snide and prejudicial stratification of Regency England, and the general blindness of the self-satisfied and selfish people everywhere.Even so, this novel is pretty fantastic. :)

  • Yaz *The Reading Girl*
    2019-04-07 11:15

    Warning: If you are a fan of Jane Austen and her "amazing" work, then don't read this. This will be a very negative review. And I am going to be pretty mean. And have been confirmed that I am the only who will never like Jane Austen!October 27th, 2013 editDon't know what to rate THIS stars!! (Maybe I will be nice and give it 1 star) Ugggggggggggghhhh!!!!!!!! So you might ask yourself why did I even read a book by Jane Austen after I had a pretty bad experience with Pride and Prejudice, but I am a good human and I wanted to give Jane Austen a chance, as a good reader. But PLEEASSEEE!! Jane Austen you and me are DONE. OVER with a capital O! Emma sounded pretty good...much better than Pride and Prejudice...but after 100 pages and blah blah of nonsense conversation between rich people I was crying myself to death and was actually running around like a crazy maniac screaming "Please! Let this be over!!." Well I finally decided to do a smart thing and that was to just stop reading the book and never ever read it again( it took me almost three weeks to read this!) All I can say is that after making that decision I felt a weight off my shoulders. I really don't understand what people LOVE about Jane Austen...I find it difficult to comprehend. I mean I don't even know what's so interesting about rich people feeling bad for their sorry ass and deciding who to marry and who not to marry...And really Emma is just a bitch. A mean, selfish, bitccchhh!!! If people like a main heroine who is: selfish, stupid, judges people by their levels of society and looks, clueless, and plain old spoiled and mean...well I really don't know what to say,Other than...Good luck with your life.Emma was just a book that in my opinion made you want to throw the book across the room and yell "WHAT IN THE HELL??" From the reviews I read everybody liked Emma because she was mean and selfish... REALLY People? REALLY?? Well unfourtunately I didn't find it as amusing or awesome or excellent as everybody else did. I did not find Emma "awesome" or loved her. In fact I fucking hated her. I just couldn't believe some of the things she said! And after reading a page about judging people by their looks I gave up and found myself just saying "WOW."I think this is the worst classic I have ever read... and I love classics such as: Peter Pan, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables and so on. But this book and I don't mean to disrespect Jane Austen's fan or her, put the the name "classics" in shame :/. As of right now I really should have listened to my guts and that awesome thing called a conscience...because then I wouldn't have had to suffer through this. Maybe I should try to finish it or re-read it but...what am I writing?!?!?! Sorry Jane Austen. I think the movie version of your books are WAY better than your actual books.See it at THE READING GIRL

  • *eKa*
    2019-04-13 14:03

    Not gonna lie, I am soooo happy that I can eventually close this book. And by that means I have read it all from the very beginning to the end / every single page of it / not a cowardly DNF. I'm so proud of my self. Thank you.The main problems of this book, that it took me so long to finish it, in my opinion, are:1. The thickness of this book (no wonder Lol)2. The mind-numbing life of high class society that makes the reading felt so repetitious. And also the minority of conflict that leads to a flat emotion of mine. 3. The limited romance of the couples, especially between Emma and.... (I can't say it). Well, I don't really mind for this reason. But to be honest, this is where the story got my whole attention. Seriously, why so late and so short? Apart from my objection, with the thickness of the book, I got a much deeper description of the characters as well as the setting. How people interacted at that time and how high class people lived their lives. They liked to hold a party and spent time caring/interfering life of others (it could end up good or bad). And of course, this book gave me a bunch of life lessons and types of people's personalities. It's good. I like Emma Woodhouse and Jane Fairfax, for most part of their personalities. They're both thoughtful women. And of course Mr. Knightley. He's my most favorite character here. So, since I need to relax after gaining my victory over this book, I won't talk about the short story of this book. You can read the blurb on your own. Have fun for you all who plan to read this book or currently reading it. You can do it!

  • Yani
    2019-03-25 09:02

    Gracias, Jane Austen, por no decepcionarme aún. Se nota que este libro lo escribió durante la madurez, porque ni Sentido y sensibilidad ni Orgullo y prejuicio tienen una trama que parece muy sencilla y que logra construir algo más complejo. Uno de los motivos puede llegar a ser una protagonista que no lleva un cartel pidiendo que el lector la quiera (salvo en ocasiones puntuales) y muchos personajes que dan falsas impresiones. No pueden faltar las descripciones de los entretenimientos de zonas rurales y la fina ironía que utiliza Austen para quejarse de la sociedad. Podría haber sido perfecto pero, sobre el final (y trataré de justificarlo sin spoilers más adelante), se cortan hilos sin ninguna delicadeza y los acontecimientos se precipitan mucho. Contrastando esto con la lentitud del principio, no puedo pasarlo por alto. Como siempre, la corrección de la sinopsis de la edición que leí (la que marqué): Emma no se muda a Hartfield porque ellaya vive allí.No está aburrida y Knightley no debería aparecer de golpe en el párrafo. En resumidas cuentas, Emma Woodhouse es una señorita de veintiún años, vive con su padre y ambos pertenecen a la buena sociedad de Highbury. La que se muda es la institutriz, Anne Weston, porque se casa. El matrimonio estuvo casi arreglado por Emma, ya que tiene como pasatiempo armar parejas y la boda correspondiente. Esto le va a traer problemas cuando intente hacer lo mismo con Harriet Smith, una amiga de condición social inferior. Después del insoportable párrafo que cuenta el argumento, los elogios: me encanta Emma como protagonista y creo que es una de las mejores de las novelas de Jane Austen (me falta leerMansfield Park , para tener una idea acabada). Es egoísta, juzga a los demás por su clase social, cree que es la titiritera de la gente que la rodea y sólo tiene a George Knightley para que la enderece un poco en sus acciones. No quiere casarse y analiza punto por punto las situaciones que vive. No se la puede apreciar apenas empieza el libro porque la actitud molesta, es cierto, pero no se puede sacar a Emma de su contexto. Vive en una época en donde las personas eran definidas por sus posesiones y su renta anual, así que ella hace lo mismo porque, en realidad, no es tan inteligente como la pintan. Su poder de observación no es infalible y, por supuesto, no hay párrafos en donde filosofe sobre la vida o la economía de Gran Bretaña. Su inteligencia está basada en lo que se consideraba asíen ese siglopara las mujeres. Obviamente, a los hombres se los medía con otros parámetros y tal vez por eso Emma toca una fibra sensible y Frank Churchill o Elton, que son más insoportables que ella (view spoiler)[ (y no, para mí el final no lo redime)(hide spoiler)], no lo hacen. Así que no hemos cambiado. Lo importante es que Emma va suavizando las opiniones y las actitudes a medida que se mete en problemas porque, a fin de cuentas, tiene capacidad de autocrítica. Me hubiera gustado que predijera las consecuencias de sus actos antes de ejecutarlos, ya que era tan lista. Hay otros que merecen que se los mencione porque completan el universo Austen. Knightley, Harriet y Augusta son tres muestras de distintos tipos de personas que se encuentran a menudo en estas novelas, pero tienen características que los diferencian del resto. Knightley tiene todo y no presume, Harriet no tiene nada y no le importa y Augusta tiene todo y lo refriega en cualquier rostro que se le cruce. Creo que Austen trabaja muy bien con estos tres y los desarrolla para que queden como ejemplo de esa sociedad que ella tanto miraba de reojo (el tratamiento era mutuo, me atrevo a decir). Luego está el padre de Emma, siempre listo para aportar la cuota de humor con su excesiva preocupación médica y climática. Todos son muy sinceros y algunas frases son difíciles de digerir desde la perspectiva de un siglo más benevolente, aunque sobrevivan los hipócritas. El puntapié inicial de la historia se da cuando Emma desea que Harriet, en detrimento de un hombre humilde que ama, se case con el señor Elton, quien la haría ascender socialmente. Harriet es una especie de proyecto de Emma y, a pesar de la manipulación a la que la pobre chica se somete sin ofrecer resistencia, la amistad entre ellas llega a ser importante en la trama. A partir de allí, se suceden los equívocos que no pueden faltar en las novelas de Austen, las palabras mal interpretadas, los temperamentos poco sondeados. Hay bailes, visitas y excursiones (otra cosa no se puede hacer, ya que no están en Londres) que sirven de marco para estos sucesos. Están bien armados y no detecté muchas conversaciones innecesarias, salvo las de la señorita Bates porque lo requería su personaje. Siempre está la sensación de que dan demasiadas vueltas para decir algo simple, pero se puede superar. La narración es afilada y se me hizo más llevadera y sensible que la de otras novelas de Austen (comoSensatez y sentimientos,por ejemplo). Básicamente, todo está bien. Sin embargo, porque nada existe sin un “sin embargo”, la resolución del final me pareció precipitada. Creo que es uno de los pequeños defectos de la escritora: en las últimas treinta páginas se revelan cosas que se pueden sospechar desde el principio y, aunque causan enternecimiento, producen efecto de choque. O de incomodidad, al menos. (view spoiler)[ De repente, Harriet desaparece de la vida de Emma después de la confesión y hay un corte brusco en las relaciones, a pesar de que pase el tiempo. Me decepcionó que Emma se casara y que tirara por la borda sus convicciones, esas que justo no perjudicaban a nadie. (hide spoiler)] Los cabos sueltos se dejan así como están y no pude atisbar un esfuerzo por terminarlos de buena manera. ConEmmaqueda reforzada la idea de que hay elementos que no se pueden juntar sólo porque se le ocurre a una sola persona sin tener en cuenta los sentimientos de la otra. Aun así, predomina (guste o no guste) la conveniencia por sobre los sentimientos. Austen no ofrece muchas salidas a esto: si alguien ama a una persona de baja condición, entonces las amistades y el trato hacia ella cambiarán de acuerdo a cuántos escalones baje. Si los sube, obviamente, tendrá más beneficios. Y esta novela lo aclara y lo explica con lujos de detalles, además de cierta insistencia. Allí está la habilidad de Austen. Puede llegar a ser muy instructiva… y muy convincente.Emmase toma o se deja. A pesar de que el inicio no tiene un brillo que invite a seguir leyendo, lo bueno empieza a surgir a los pocos capítulos. Ya no se vuelve tan largo y los personajes adquieren forma junto con la trama. Reconozco que Emma no es la protagonista más simpática del mundo y le falta mucho para ser Lizzie Bennet, pero tampoco encuentro razones para odiarla fervorosamente. El libro en sí mismo me pareció muy bueno y lo recomendaría para lectores pacientes que no le temen a personajes no muy heroicos. Reseña en Clásico desorden

  • Mike
    2019-04-18 10:12

    Continuing our trip down Jane Austen Blvd! Emma has much the same style that Persuasion does, but with a much, MUCH lighter tone. It can afford it; while Anne spends pretty much all of Persuasion pining for lost love, Emma is far too busy meddling in everyone else's love lives to get too weepy about her own. Where they ever to meet, Emma would role her eyes, tell Anne to get over herself and then arrange some meeting with a local gentry that would probably involve a chapter-long scene where everyone farcically talks past each other and ends with said gentleman proposing - to Emma. For her part, Anne would probably have enough sense to politely avoid Emma altogether, but admitting as much would ruin the allegory. Work with me here, people.Emma also manages to have what may be one of literature's first unreliable narrators. True, Emma and the narrator are generally distinct, only occasionally bleeding together, and even when her internal monologue manages to hijack the story it never comes even vaguely close to what Humbert does in Lolita. Still, I was shocked when I discovered in retrospect that the book had lied to me. I look for that kind of thing in modern writing, but I frankly wasn't expecting it from Austen. The whole joke of Emma is that she imagines herself to be a matchmaker without equal while simultaneously managing to have an astonishingly poor understanding of everyone's actual affections, including her own. She finally, FINALLY comes around in the end, but only after deluding herself (and maybe the reader too, if they're thick like I am) for most all of the story. Despite the rampage of unnecessary emotional destruction Emma leaves in her wake, you can't help but love her by the end of the book. Deep down, she does mean well after all. The other thing I have to give Austen kudos for here is, once again, excellent characterization. Emma has an unfortunate habit of deciding that other people are conceited, overbearing and annoying, not like her at all! Why, she'd never act like that! And when she inevitably does, she of course rationalizes it and swears, in any event, not to do it again. And then she goes and does it again. If you can read Emma and not find that you have a few character traits in common with her, chances are you're lying to yourself.Hey, just like Emma does!

  • Alex
    2019-03-28 15:03

    Emma is the last novel Jane Austen published before dying, and (along with Mansfield Park) one of her longest. For Emma, she upgraded publishers; this was published by the more prestigious John Murray, who also had Byron. She was treated as a respected writer by Murray, and Emma got more attention than her previous books, including a review from famous boring guy Walter Scott, who called her "a gifted creature." (Not to give the wrong impression: Austen wasn't widely recognized as a genius until much later. During her lifetime she was a mildly successful, mildly respected author whose pen name was "A Lady.")How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!Emma is a terrific protagonist: complicated, carefully drawn, fully human. Not everyone cares for her; I do.Where there is a wish to please, one ought to overlook, and one does overlook a great deal.I was struck by how utterly in command of her writing Austen is throughout the book; how carefully she's able to present information, making it clear who knows what and who's guessing incorrectly about what else and why everything is going down. Austen doesn't always tell you everything - she trusts you to pick up much of what's happening on your own - but it's all there for you. It's flawless, in that it does exactly what it sets out to do.And as always, she's endlessly quotable. Certainly silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly. - It depends upon the character of those who handle it.Message-wise, there are some squidgy moments. Unless I'm mistaken, there's a message about the dangers of trying to look above one's station that doesn't sit well with modern readers, right? Which isn't completely in line with the message of the time; Austen loved Samuel Richardson, who thought that class movement was entirely possible as long as there was a hot poor lady. But it is what it is, and it's just about perfect at being what it is.

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-04-07 10:58

    Wow, what a lot of effort Austen put into her annoying characters in this one! Just to make sure I'm clear, I'm not saying I didn't like Emma because of this. I mean there are two or three characters that are intentionally annoying and Austen spent a lot of time constructing each, offering up plenty of examples for the reader. Miss Bates is incessantly chatty, okay. Mrs. Elton is bossy, I get it. It's important to establish these traits, but there's a difference between planting seeds and burying them six feet under. The love stories and triangles are nearly as good as Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but she piles on so much patience-testing dialogue that the reader eventually becomes entombed in boredom. I did enjoy the love-triangle and the education of Emma herself. Those qualities, as well as Austen's exceptional writing ability, saved this one for me in the end.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-03-29 10:04

    I approached this book with some trepidation; my smart lady friend here in Goodreads advised me to bear in mind, while reading Emma, that this book is a satire. Oh well, I did. But the more I try hard to be interested on the Georgian (1714-1830) or even Victorian (1837-1901) period, the more I get to question myself what is the use? I still could not relate to the people and practices of those British eras and what they did in their lives. Single women oogling on single men hoping to get their attention, marry so they would not end up as miserable spinsters are just too pathetic for me. Ugh. Yes, that was their time and who am I to criticize classic and beloved works as those? And by the prolific Jane Austen? How dare me.In my opinion (and I am not an authority on this matter), what makes "Emma" different from Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice is Emma herself. In blunt terms, Emma is a brat: a spoiled 21-y/o brat who thinks that that she can tweak and twitch people around her. After declaring herself never to marry (who cares?) and she looks around matching single people. She thinks that those girls are like Barbie dolls that she can be positioned beside their Erics and each pair will live happily ever after because they have Emma's blessing and Emma is smart enough to know how they should feel and think. Emma is so annoying that I still wonder why Austen chose her to become the title of this book. I mean, had she entitled Pride and Prejudice after its heroine, "Elizabeth Bennet", I would not see a lot of difference, right? Afterall, Elizabeth is definitely more lovable than the clueless, manipulative Emma.However, Emma, the book, is well-written. Jane Austen (1775-1817) is a glorious writer and the fact that she was able to write about a disgusting (okay, she has a turnaround later when in the end she realizes that she is in love with Mr. Knightley) character is a sure feat. Supposed you open two books by let's say Nicholas Sparks and Mitch Albom and read them side-by-side without looking at their covers (so you do not know their titles and their authors, I bet you would not notice any difference. But if you do the same with any woman classic authors, say Virginia Woolf or Elizabeth Bowen, you can easily spot which is which. Austen's writing is classy, witty, smooth, almost spotless and easy. It does not try to push anything down your throat. She just tells you a story of men and women in her time and she's good at it.

  • Natalie Monroe
    2019-03-26 13:55

    Fine, I went "Awwww" at the end.In many ways, Emma is the forerunner of contemporary romances. A perky naive girl tries her hand at matchmaking, only to discover she's fallen in love with the man she's pairing up with her friend. It provides an interesting discourse on female friendship because Emma and Harriet's relationship is terribly unequal.The first half is really slow though. If I didn't have to read this for school, I would've given up at page 20.

  • Helle
    2019-03-19 10:25

    Emma is going to turn 200 this December, and I can confirm, with this latest reading of her, that she is as feisty, opinionated and full of herself as ever. For a bicentenarian, she’s in cracking good form and hasn’t aged a bit. I, too, have gotten older since I last met her (and am possibly in slightly less good shape since I first laid eyes on her), and I find that I’m ready to forgive her much more this time round. In fact, though Emma is the Austen heroine who has divided opinions most, I found her very good-hearted behind her veneer of upper-class arrogance and self-indulgent match-making. If you have never met Emma, prepare for an Elizabeth Bennett with Marianne Dashwood’s sense of romance (for others though; not herself), Catherine Morland’s over-active imagination, Anne Elliot’s dull home life and Jane Austen’s wit. The setting is Highbury, a small town somewhere in southern England, with the usual suspects of elderly spinsters, annoying vicar, interesting newcomer, handsome, wealthy neighbor etc. The scene is set for romance and mischief, though the chief interests of the villagers seem to be 1. avoiding draughts, 2. talking about avoiding draughts, 3. gossiping about each other, 4. ensuring that the outrageous rules of the English class system are strictly adhered to, 5. talking about the dangers of the weather when it comes to - draughts. Within this tiny world, plot twists abound, and misunderstandings thrive. It is a Regency comedy of manners if ever there was one. A small complaint might be that it is long-winded and slow going at times. Fifty pages could easily have been cut with no damage to the story whatsoever (and it is the longest of Austen’s novels), but it’s hard to complain convincingly about getting more of Austen. (I was tempted to deduct ½-1 star for this but have decided to trust my younger self and keep the five stars). Like Lizzy Bennett, Emma, too, must learn the lesson: Know thyself. If you don’t like irony, give Emma a wide berth. If you do, don’t miss it. But be prepared to be annoyed with not only Emma (whom we forgive) but also Miss Bates (ditto) and Mrs. Elton (no chance). (Some small observations that make me raise an eyebrow: Emma’s friend of low birth is called Miss Smith. So is Anne Elliot’s friend of similar small distinction in Persuasion; the pretty, clever girl in the village (apart from Emma) is called Jane, as is Elizabeth’s sister in P & P - as is the author herself. Is that not slightly unusual? Surely there were more names to pick from even back then…)