Emma

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Emma

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Fiona Stafford
Notes by Fiona Stafford

Penguin Publishing Group | May 6, 2003 | Trade Paperback

Emma is rated 3.75 out of 5 by 4.
The definitive text of Jane Austen''s penetrating and sparkling satire, Emma, this Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Fiona Stafford. Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, rich - and fiercely independent - is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the advice of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her pretty, naïve Harriet Smith, her well-laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine, and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen''s most flawless work. Edited with an introduction by Fiona Stafford, this edition includes a chronology, additional suggestions for further reading, and the original Penguin Classics introduction by Tony Tanner. Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature''s most famous women writers. Austen began writing at a young age, embarking on what is possibly her best-known work, Pride and Prejudice, at the age of 22. She was also the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. If you enjoyed Emma, you may like Charlotte Brontë''s Villette, also available in Penguin Classics. ''These modern editions are to be strongly recommended for their scrupulous texts, informative notes and helpful introductions'' Brian Southam, the Jane Austen Society ''The author of Emma ... has produced sketches of such spirit and originality that ... in this class she stands almost alone'' Sir Walter Scott

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 7.74 × 5.3 × 0.91 in

Published: May 6, 2003

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0141439580

ISBN - 13: 9780141439587

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Written in a lighter way, it should be taken lightly! The last of her novels published when she was alive, Jane Austen’s Emma depicts the life of this 21 year-old woman, who lives with her father assuming the role of mistress of the house. As one of the “belles” of Highbury she believes herself entitle to every of her fantasies, including matchmaking just about everyone. The long-time family friend Mr Knightley does not approve of all this, especially when it concerns the projects she has for the future of Harriet Smith or the fancy she takes to Mr Frank Churchill. But it seems that nothing is to stop her, except maybe love... I used to think this longest novel, the less of 2 evils when compared to Mansfield Park but I must admit that on the second reading, I like it less that I thought I originally did. Probably because of all the 6 novels, this one is the lightest of all in terms of its characters psyche. You do not need to as dig deep to understand the essence of Emma Woodhouse's character, as you would have with others. Everything is written on the surface, which is why I recommend you read it in a very light mood, a vacation mood. For more about this book and many more, visit my blog : ladybugandotherbookworms.blogspot.com
Date published: 2013-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This is a timeless classic. A girl who has it all gets put in her place even though she is trying to improve other people's lives. Instead of letting the cards fall she tries to intervene and find things out about her own life.
Date published: 2011-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I was hoping for a bit more. Emma has no intention of ever marrying and she considers herself a very good matchmaker amongst her friends. Of course, she is not nearly as good a matchmaker as she thinks she is and manages to mess up a few times and she misses seeing things between people. I was hoping for more. I liked parts of it, but my mind wandered throughout a lot of the book, too. It seemed if the focus was on particular characters (Harriet, Frank Churchill, sometimes Mr. Knightley), it kept my attention a bit more. I was interested at the start and at the end, and when the aforementioned characters were involved in the storyline, but otherwise, I got a bit bored at times and couldn't always pay attention to it.
Date published: 2011-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emma Emma Woodhouse is the main character of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. The novel concentrates mainly on Emma and her life. Throughout the novel, Emma exempts herself from marriage and romance in order to assert her independence. Of course by the end of the novel Emma herself decides to get married just like the other characters in this novel. Her reasons for not getting married are the fact that she is wealthy enough not to require a husband to support herself, and she is so attached to her father that she does not long to leave his house. Although convinced that she herself will never marry, she takes it upon herself to persuade Harriet Smith, a younger friend, into a potential gentleman's wife. She sets her sights on Mr. Elton, the vicar, one of Highbury's most eligible bachelors. She leads Harriet away from Robert Martin, a well-to-do farmer, who is infatuated by Harriet. Harriet rejects Martin's proposal and becomes infatuated with Mr. Elton under Emma's encouragement, but Emma's plans go wrong when Elton makes it clear that she herself is the true object of his affections. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading for lengthy period of times.
Date published: 2001-06-01

– More About This Product –

Emma

by Jane Austen
Introduction by Fiona Stafford
Notes by Fiona Stafford

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 7.74 × 5.3 × 0.91 in

Published: May 6, 2003

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0141439580

ISBN - 13: 9780141439587

About the Book

New chronology and further reading; Tony Tanner's original introduction reinstated
Edited with an introduction and notes by Flora Stafford.

Read from the Book

Chapter I Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable homeand happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessingsof existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the worldwith very little to distress or vex her. She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate,indulgent father; and had, in consequence of her sister''s marriage,been mistress of his house from a very early period. Her motherhad died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinctremembrance of her caresses; and her place had been suppliedby an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little shortof a mother in affection. Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse''s family,less as a governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters,but particularly of Emma. Between them it was more the intimacyof sisters. Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominaloffice of governess, the mildness of her temper had hardly allowedher to impose any restraint; and the shadow of authority beingnow long passed away, they had been living together as friend andfriend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked;highly esteeming Miss Taylor''s judgment, but directed chiefly byher own. The real evils, indeed, of Emma''s situation were the power of havingrather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a littletoo well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatenedalloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at pre
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Table of Contents

EmmaThe Penguin Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen

Chronology

Introduction

Further Reading

Note on the Text

Emma

Volume One

Volume Two

Volume Three

Emendations to the Text

Notes

From the Publisher

The definitive text of Jane Austen''s penetrating and sparkling satire, Emma, this Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Fiona Stafford. Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, rich - and fiercely independent - is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the advice of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her pretty, naïve Harriet Smith, her well-laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine, and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen''s most flawless work. Edited with an introduction by Fiona Stafford, this edition includes a chronology, additional suggestions for further reading, and the original Penguin Classics introduction by Tony Tanner. Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature''s most famous women writers. Austen began writing at a young age, embarking on what is possibly her best-known work, Pride and Prejudice, at the age of 22. She was also the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park. If you enjoyed Emma, you may like Charlotte Brontë''s Villette, also available in Penguin Classics. ''These modern editions are to be strongly recommended for their scrupulous texts, informative notes and helpful introductions'' Brian Southam, the Jane Austen Society ''The author of Emma ... has produced sketches of such spirit and originality that ... in this class she stands almost alone'' Sir Walter Scott

From the Jacket

Beautiful, clever, rich—and single—Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.

About the Author

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was extremely modest about her own genius but has become one of English literature''s most famous women writers. She is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. Fiona Stafford is a Fellow and Tutor in English at Somerville College, Oxford. Tony Tanner was a Fellow of King''s College, Cambridge, and Professor of English and American Literature at Cambridge.

Editorial Reviews

"Jane Austen is my favorite author! ... Shut up in measureless content, I greet her by the name of most kind hostess, while criticism slumbers." —EM Forster

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTION
(Excerpted from The Jane Austen Book Club)

Emma was written between January 1814 and March 1815, published in 1815. The title character, Emma Woodhouse, is queen of her little community. She is lovely and wealthy. Se has no mother; her fussy, fragile father imposes no curbs on either her behavior or her self-satisfaction. Everyone else in the village is deferentially lower in social standing. Only Mr. Knightley, an old family friend, ever suggests she needs improvement.

Emma has a taste for matchmaking. When she meets pretty Harriet Smith, "the natural daughter of somebody," Emma takes her up as both a friend and a cause. Under Emma''s direction, Harriet refuses a proposal from a local farmer, Robert Martin, so that Emma can engineer one from Mr. Elton, the vicar. Unluckily, Mr. Elton misunderstands the intrigues and believes Emma is interested in him for herself. He cannot be lowered to consider Harriet Smith.

Things are further shaken by the return to the village by Jane Fairfax, niece to the garrulous Miss Bates; and by a visit from Frank Churchill, stepson of Emma''s ex-governess. He and Jane are secretly engaged, but as no one knows this, it has no impact on the matchmaking frenzy.

The couples are eventually sorted out, if not according to Emma''s plan, at least to her satisfaction. Uninterested in marriage at the book''s beginning, she happily engages herself to Mr. Knightly before its end.


ABOUT JANE AUSTEN

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817. As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813),Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • About Emma, Jane Austen famously said, "I''m going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." Do you like Emma? Why or why not?
     
  • Austen makes an unusual choice by selecting as her main character the most privileged woman in the book, the woman with "little to distress or vex her." The Jane Fairfax story line (which W.J. Harvey has called the "shadow novel-within-the-novel") has more traditional elements of tension and drama than Emma''s story. Austen''s own publisher traitorously said of Emma, "it wants incident and romance." Do you agree? Would you have rather read about Jane?
     
  • Early in the book, Emma tells Harriet she doesn''t plan to marry. But the other women all embody, in one way or another, the serious economic consequences of staying single. The book is filled with women at risk. Discuss with reference to: Miss Bates, Jane Fairfax, Mrs. Elton, Harriet Smith, Miss Taylor.
     
  • Class issues run through every plot line in Emma. How would you describe Mr. Knightley''s views on class and privilege? Harriet Smith is "the natural daughter of nobody knows whom." Which fact—her illegitimacy or her undetermined class standing—is more important in effecting her marital prospects? How do you feel about Emma''s hopes to see Harriet married above her expectations? How does Emma''s relationship to Harriet change over the course of the book?
     
  • Two characters, Mrs. Elton and Frank Churchill, come into Highbury from the outside and threaten the little community with change. Mr. Knightley likes neither of them. How do you feel about them?
     
  • One effect of the hidden (Jane Fairfax/Frank Churchill) story is to undermine the omniscience of the narrator. Some critics have suggested that the narrator controls the reader less in Emma than in most Austen books. Because of this, Reginald Ferrar has suggested the book improves on rereading. "Only when the story has been thoroughly assimilated can the infinite delights and subtleties of its workmanship begin to be appreciated." He suggests that rereading Pride and Prejudice allows you to repeat the pleasure you had at the first reading, while rereading Emmaalways provides new pleasures. (He also says that "until you know the story, you are apt to find the movement dense and slow and obscure, difficult to follow, and not very obviously worth the following.") Do you agree with any of this? Do you like a book in which the writer''s intentions are not always clear and there is space for the reader to take charge or do you like to know what the writer wants you to be feeling and noticing? How do you feel about the idea of a book that has to be reread in order to be enjoyed? Is Emma such a book?