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Emma - Jane Austen

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Author: Jane Austen / Genre: Classic Literature

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      10.11.2011 23:29
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      One of my favourite Jane Austen novels.

      I admit I occasionally read classics such as this because I feel that I ought to, not because I actually want to. Reading this novel though I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how attached I had become to some of the characters, and I found myself telling my boyfriend about what had been happening in the village of Highbury like I was gossiping about old acquaintances of my own.

      A couple of chapters in, I could easily imagine myself being a part of their world - wondering when Frank Churchill would come back (being completely shocked at his secret engagement with Jane Fairfax), increasingly disliking the Eltons, finding Mr and Mrs Weston a wonderful couple, and hoping that Mr Knightley was actually in love with Emma Woodhouse and not Harriet Smith. Not that I didn't like Harriet, but she was much better suited for Robert Martin; therefore the ending of the book left me perfectly happy with the way things worked out.

      I would highly recommend this book (even though I've just spoiled it, but I can't be blamed for that - it has been out for over 195 years), however it is not an easy read if, like me you are used the modern novels which once your attention has been grabbed, you can read in one sitting. I found myself reading a few chapters at a time but nonetheless once I picked it up, I was transported to a wholly different world and I couldn't wait to find out what Austen had in store next.

      (Also on my Tumblr)

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        04.01.2010 15:20
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        One of Austen's best

        One of my Christmas presents was a complete set of Jane Austen novels, so I've been refreshing my memory of them. Inspired by the recent BBC adaptation, I chose to reread Emma first.

        Synopsis

        Emma, first published in 1815, is the story of a young, rich, and attractive girl of whom Austen said "no one but myself will much like". The book opens with the marriage of Emma's governess - a match Emma is sure she helped to make. Buoyed by her perceived success, she sets out to manage and influence the love lives of many of the people around her - with varied results. Along the way she realises that she has been so busy prying into other peoples' romances that she cannot recognise her own feelings...

        This is one of Austen's most accomplished stories, told with her usual wit and observation. It is a mark of Austen's skill that Emma, who with all her wealth, beauty and advantages, isn't irritating or dislikeable but is actually very appealing, despite Austen's claims to the contrary. Her constant misinterpretations of the other characters' motivations provides much of the narrative force of the book, starting with her new friend Harriet Smith and Mr Elton and finishing with the shock surrounding Frank Churchill.

        Comic relief is provided throughout the novel by the poor, good-natured but talkative Miss Bates and Emma's hypochondriac father. Austen is fantastic at creating memorable characters with traits you recognise in people you know. This is all the more remarkable considering the novel was written nearly 200 years ago. There might not be very many gentlewomen of leisure these days, but in terms of story and characterisation there is a freshness still surrounding the book.

        During the course of the story it is Mr Knightley, an old friend of the family, who acts rather like Emma's conscience, a stable, plain-speaking influence in her life. He is the only character who really sees her faults and has the guts to tell her when he feels she has made mistakes. I must admit he is not my favourite Austen hero, there is a little too much of the father and rather too little of Darcy or Willoughby-esque passion in him, but I know plenty of people who think differently.

        This is one of my favourite Austen novels for it's excellent characterisation and strong insights. If you haven't read any of her work before I think this is a good place to start. I suspect most people will start with Pride and Prejudice so in that case, this would be a good second choice!

        As an aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the recent BBC adaptation starring the excellent Romola Garai as Emma, in fact it's my favourite adaptation of the novel yet and I recommend it too.

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          11.09.2009 17:44

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          Beautiful novel

          EMMA by JANE AUSTEN 1815.
          ------------------------------------
          This novel is written by female novelist Jane Austen during the English Romantic movement in Georgian-Regency England.

          Context: Austen lived from 1775-1817. She was an English novelist who was part of a close knit family in the Home Counties. She never married and spent a lot of her life living with her family. Her father was part of landed gentry, though the family were well off, they were not the richest in the community by any means. She was educated mostly by her father and brothers and the family library which spurred her love for literature. A lot of her novels focus around satires of the marriage market of the time, troubles of females living in small middle class communities in her time. We can see a lot of links between the heroines of her novels and the author herself. Austen has become something of a cult icon in terms of literary success, and although she wasn't so well known in her time, today she is internationally read and appreciated.

          The novel
          ------------
          Emma is intended to be a comic novel, exploring the difficulties of upper class women in a small community. The famous line 'Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich' sums up the main character rather well, and we are directed to her character in the first line. She is also spoilt as she is used to the luxury of being the queen bee in society and overestimates her abilities in reading, music, drawing, and particularly: matchmaking, which sees her get into a few spots of trouble. She is very self indulged and does not think of the feelings of others as she meddles with their lives as she pleases.

          However, as the novel progresses we see her blunders; forging a friendship with a plain parlour boarding girl Harriet Smith whom she decides must be the natural daughter of a gentleman, when later we see the obvious truth that in fact she is daughter to a plain ungenteel merchant. She attempts to set poor overinfluenced Harriet up with unsuspecting Mr Elton, a gentleman and the parish vicar and only results in offending him and making him fall in love with herself instead.
          The audience can half see these mistakes happening as Emma in a character whom we are not meant to like to begin with.

          Through the book though, we see her learn and grow. She becomes aware of her mistakes and learns from them under the watchful eye of the very eligible Mr Knightley, who is her guiding light throughout the novel. The loose strings of the novel are tied up in more marriages and the story is complete.

          Generally, Jane Austen is making a comment on the marriage market of the time. How they married for money and status; not love. The small claustrophobic town makes the novel a satire of small communities, not dissimilar to the one Austen herself grew up in.

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          03.06.2009 12:00

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          It's more than worth the effort, and must on everyone's bookshelf.

          For anyone in love with Jane Austen's works, 'Emma' does not disappoint! Throughout the novel, Austen writes in her typically witty style. Although at times her humour requires concentration and thorough reading, the result is highly rewarding. As expected of Austen her characters are created to the finest degree and with her detailed descriptions, as a reader you feel a great sense of familiarity with them all.

          This book is suitable for anyone who wishes to escape to the romanticised portrayal of the Regency with spledid estates, beautiful outfits and classy social events. Anybody who failes to be gripped by the beautiful love story between Emma and the gallant Mr Knightley is definitely cold hearted! If nothing else, this book is worth reading for the warmth in the closing chapter!

          All in all, this book is worth the time and effort for the immense beauty and gorgeousness of the plot.

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          18.02.2008 11:02
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          Well worth a read if you are into romantic fiction

          This book was first published back in 1816, i read this book after my mother was raving about how good it was but it didnt have the same effect on me, i found it long winded and boring at points.

          Ok so the story goes, Emma is a young woman living in an upper class society in england who gets pleasure from matchmaking.

          Emma trys her hand at matchmaking with her friends Harriet and mr elton. Firstly Emma has to convince Harriet to refuse a marriage proposal from a local farmer which doesnt take too much work as Harriet isnt too bright, this done Emma now needs to get Harriet and mr Elton together but this poses a bit more of a chalenge as Mr Elton decides he wants to marry Emma not Harriot as he sees Harriet as being beneith him in sociey.

          After Emma refuses his proposal of marriage Mr Elton goes away on holliday for a while and returns with his new bride leaving Harriet heartbroken and Emma to pick up the pieces.

          Emma tries to make herself fall in love with frank as everyone thinks they would make a great couple but Emma decides frank would be better suited to Harriet.

          Will Harriet marry frank and live happily ever after and will Emma find true love of her own?
          You will have to read the book to find out.

          There are some very good pieces in this book and some very boring sections to the book aswell, if you like soppy romances as my mother does then this is definatley the book for you.

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            20.11.2004 13:36
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            The novel opens with Emma's father Mr Woodhouse complaining gently about their recent change in circumstances: Emma's best friend, who was once her governess, has recently married and moved about a mile away. Mr Woodhouse is a comic character who wants everything to stay exactly the same as it always has been, although he's sympathetically drawn. He's clearly devoted to his daughter, and frequently worries aloud about illnesses, draughts, and people being inconvenienced. As his idea of inconvenience doesn't necessarily make sense, there's some humour throughout the book whenever he appears.

            The enter novel covers daily walks, visits and conversations between Emma and her neighbours, with a few diversions such as parties or balls. It's a pleasant enough social commentary on life in an upper-class English village two hundred years ago, and written with close observation and the thread of irony that made me keep reading. But having said that, it felt like quite a chore at times. The style of language didn't particularly worry me; within a few pages I had no problem with that, but it was quite an effort reading through some of the long-winded conversations, particularly those with the elderly ladies whose lives revolved around a series of tangential thoughts.

            The plot, such as it is, is based on Emma's continual mis-reading of other people's intentions. She befriends an orphan about her own age called Harriet, convinced that Harriet must have come from a gentleman's home, and tries several times to find a husband for her. Harriet's first love is a worthy farmer, but Emma does not consider him good enough for her friend, and points her first in the direction of the local minister, and then of someone else. Harriet is rather pathetically grateful for her high-born friend's suggestions and takes on board whatever she is told; since Emma has a good opinion of herself, she considers Harriet intelligent and sensible, only gradually realising that her friend has few original thoughts in her mind and is too easily led.

            I do like historical novels, in general, particularly gentle romances without a great deal of action. Indeed I think of myself as quite a fan of Jane Austen; admittedly her style is dated and rather long-winded, but there's some enjoyable ironic humour and cleverly drawn characters in her novels.

            But despite all that, I'm not very keen on this book. I first read it about twenty years ago when I was reading my way through all Jane Austen's works, and I found it a bit tedious; however I put that down to an excess of the style. It's generally not a good idea to read several books by the same author without a break!

            So recently I decided to give it another try. According to the introductory notes, Emma was the pinnacle of Jane Austen's novels, where she finally reached her ideal of a truly domestic novel revolving around a small community with no outsiders involved. I suppose she was the forerunner of the 1980s village stories and 'aga sagas', although 200 years ago anything kitchen-related was done by the servants rather than the main characters of the books!

            Emma is certainly an intriguing character as the main protagonist. At twenty-one she is in charge of her father's household, and has been pampered her entire life. Nobody ever dares to go against her, other than an old family friend Mr Kingsley whose younger brother is married to Emma's older sister. She is mostly good-hearted and cares deeply for those around her, but she is not intended to be a nice character. She is basically a snob, spending a great deal of time aware of 'class' and 'quality', and doing her best to match-make amongst those she considers equals.

            A heroine with faults was perhaps rather a risky undertaking in Jane Austen's day, and it's a tribute to her writing skills that this book is still popular today. But despite seeing its good points, I didn't really enjoy reading it. Give it a try if you like Jane Austen, or if you're interested in social history, but be prepared to skim in places. If you're unfamiliar with this author, I'd recommend trying one of her other books first. And if you want fast action or excitement, don't bother with this at all!

            Oh, I suppose I give it three stars and a low-key recommendation. Maybe I'll even read it again in another twenty years or so. I gather it's available on DVD - and while in general I don't like movies made from books, this is the kind of novel that could well improve with a visual aspect.

            Your library probably has this book, and it's frequently found in charity shops for a few pence, but if you want a new edition then Amazon.co.uk have a Penguin Popular Classic paperback edition at £1.50 as well as several more expensive versions, and Play.com have it for £1.99, postage included.


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              05.10.2001 19:04
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              "Emma" is an interesting novel that offers its readers something of a lecture on the importance of reading closely and reading well. it is a tale of misinterpretation, alrgely on the par of the young heroine who cannot read the intentions of those around her, and who is prone to all sorts of mistkaes based on misinterpretation. The plot carries this theme through - anyone who does not readd closely will be repeatedly surprised by the events as they unfold, but attention will make it easy enough to work out who is actually in love with whom. Emma as a character tends to get something of a bad press, so I would like to spend a few moments speaking in her defence. At 21, Emma considers it unlikely that she wil amrry and devotes herself to pairing off her friends. She is a woman with a significant fortune, and involveed with a sizeable social circle. Having sucessfully married her governess off to one Mr Weston (and, in Emma's defence, it must be said that this works very well.) she then adopts a young lass called harriet. harriet is of unspecified origins - someone's illegitimate child, but frm a good enough background to be sent to a school. She is pretty, but not especialy clever. Emma sets about trying to pair her young friend off with the local vicar. Emma's intentions are good - she means to be helpful. Marriage, at the time of writing, was not an easy game, and was of great improtance to women - it was the only carreer option they had. Emma is a romantic (perhaps like many of usten's readers) She is sure that Harriet must have some noble parentage (and in much pulp fiction, she would have turned out to be an heiress.) Emma fails to notice who is actually interested in her (The vicar) and places her own interest in unsuitable areas. She is misled by one young man , and in all rpobability, said young man will do a good job of misleading the reader as well. Before you are too harsh on poor old Emma, think about yo
              ur own reactions - the odds are that you too want Harrriet to be a Duke's daughter, want her to marry the vicar, want Emma to marry Mr Churchill - it all seems so obvious if you aren't reading closely. There are repeated hints about representation and accuracy - Emma has a habit of using artistic lisence when painting portraits, to represent people as she would like them to be. She does this in life as well as in art, and this is a good clue. There are a few word games in which correct interpretation is everything - again there are clues that both Emma and the reader may well miss. Emma is a touch over sure of herself, a touch vain perhaps, and possesed of a somewhat inflated ego, but she's not all bad really. To be honest, I was quite saddened by the end of the novel, and the rpesentation of a husband who means to 'teach' her - which will mean supressing her spirit, encouraging her not to try and weave romances for other people and the like. Emma may be a little daft, but it is people like her who make life interesting - after all, if she wasn't a little myopic where people are concerned, it wouldn't be much of a story at all. I've read several Austen's now, and I got along with this one quite well, although it is a bit frustrating in places (especially if you are reading carefully enought to have worked out more than the characters have.) Well worth a go if you like period romance and subtle irony. (Back when I was studying this text, a tutor asked the group to explain our understanding of the word irony. After a long pause one bright spark said "It's like rain on your wedding day" then someone else said "Yes,. it's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife." - nothing like a bit of Alanis Morissette to unhinge a seminar.)

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                11.09.2001 02:00
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                Let me introduce you to Emma Woodhouse, a "handsome, clever, and rich" young woman, who lives in the small town of Highbury with her nervous old father. Emma firmly believes she has no intention of marrying anyone but she's quite happy to engage in match-making schemes for her friends. She's lively and charming and quite used to getting her own way but when it comes to love, she is utterly clueless. The novel opens with a brief introduction to Emma, her father, Mr Knightley and the Westons. Mrs Weston nee Taylor was Emma's governess and friend for many years before securing a happy, comfortable home with Mr Weston. Despite "losing" Miss Taylor to Mr Weston, Emma is quite happy with the "match" and is determined to indulge in some more match-making. As she's lately taken an interest in Harriet Smith, a naive and harmless young woman, she decides that Harriet will be the object of affection and Mr Elton, the vicar, will be the lucky man. If only love were as simple as wishing. Mr Knightley, Emma's brother-in-law who is both 16 years her senior and twice as perceptive, immediately tells her It Just Won't Work. Emma, being Emma, ignores him and presses on with her disastrous schemes. She persuades Harriet, "the natural daughter of somebody" and heiress to nothing, that she is quite equal to marrying a gentleman and that she ought to fall in love with Mr Elton as he's the only eligible man in town. Furthermore, Emma persuades Harriet to turn down Mr Brown's marriage proposals as being beneath her status. Mr Elton, as he has a "living" (a sort of salaried employment) from the Church, is certainly both a gentleman and a man of, at least, moderate income. Mr Brown is a gentleman farmer, which marks him as having a modest income and a small amount of property. Both gentlemen are entitled to think well of themselves but Mr Elton has undoubtedly the advantage of a better educati
                on and more money. In Jane Austen's era, a dowry was something of a necessity for women hoping to marry "well" and marriage was pretty much the only respectable occupation for women. Harriet should, therefore, consider herself to be extremely lucky in marrying either Mr Elton or Mr Brown as both men are of considerably higher rank than herself and ought to be aware of the disadvantages in pursuing a women with neither money nor connections. Mr Elton is horrified by Emma's match-making schemes; he feels quite worthy of pursuing Emma rather than Harriet and, if Miss Woodhouse won't oblige, is quite willing to seek a rich bride outside of Highbury. This pretty much establishes Emma's character as clueless and Mr Knightley's character as clued-up. The errors of judgement, illustrated by Mr Elton and Harriet, continue throughout the novel as Mr Knightley spots the problems and Emma falls straight into them. Emma merrily pairs off her friends in her mind and is continually surprised when a match just doesn't happen. From Mr Elton and Miss Smith, we jump to Emma and Mr Churchill, Miss Smith and Mr Churchill, Miss Fairfax and Mr Knightley, and, Miss Smith and Mr Knightley. Poor Mr Knightley does his best to nudge Emma in the right direction but she has too good an opinion of her own understanding to listen to him - until it's too late. We all know what happens when two people spend all their time together and disagree on everything, so I'll hardly be spoiling the story by hinting that Emma and Mr Knightley may end up having a lot more in common that hitherto suspected. Austen is a wonderful author, who manages to capture the absurdities of society that are prevelent yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I suspect a lot of people who saw the film "Clueless" (starring Alicia Silverstone) didn't realise that it was a modern version of "Emma". If you've ever been crossed in love or know
                how to laugh at life, then you're bound to enjoy this novel. Although some of the concepts of Austen's era may seem strange (e.g. dowries, accomplishments) and some of the language is quaint (e.g. "gay", "acquaintance", "attachment"), the story itself is as true today as it was then. While single young men and women exist, they must always be fancying themselves in and out of love and there must always be ample room for errors of judgement. "Emma" may be a bit of a "girly" love story but the plot has enough humour to keep an open-minded reader interested. When was the last time you got this much enjoyment for less than a pound?

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                  21.04.2001 04:33
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                  Jane Austen starts 'Emma' as if she's spitting plumstones into a bowl. Listen: "Emma Woodhouse, Handsome (ping), clever(ping), and rich (ping), with a comfortable home and happy disposition (ping, ping), seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence (ping), and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her (ping, ping)". She carries on 'pinging' for much of the front page. We are given a rather tight-lipped list of pro's and con's. Emma, we are told has: "a disposition to think a little too well of herself" (bong - plumstone hits edge of dish), and she has: "the power of having rather too much her own way". Actually, Emma is a pretty unlikeable character, and also an amazing one for Regency standards. She isn't 'emancipated', she can't be, since emancipation just doesn't exist, but she is strong-willed, relatively independent, and intelligent. If she was 'now' then she'd probably be editing a woman's magazine or something, but she isn't 'now' and I need to to keep reminding myself of this when reading Austen. If I forget how different the social situation was when the books were written, then I just don't enjoy them so much. I like the humour in Austen, you see, and her humour is primarily derived from social satire, so if I don't remember, I don't 'get' them, and she seems prissy, romantic, and pretty colourless. Emma, although she is portrayed as a strong female, knows that the world expects her to marry, and marry well, even if she has decided to stay with her father. Why Not? She runs his household with ease, enjoys some freedom, and doesn't realise that her father's silly whims make her situation an unenviable one if one looks beneath the surface of all those 'Pings'. So back to the plumstones. They
                  describe Emma pretty well, really. They certainly describe her social perceptions. Emma, to put it bluntly, is a selfish little Madam in many respects. She isn't, however, as selfish or as silly as her father, who is so selfish and silly he's hilarious. Rather, she's a strong willed young lady, who has never had to really think about the consequences of her actions, or pay regard to anyone's feelings but her own. She's Queen of her local social circles, which are small, but perfectly formed, and she's bored. Her beloved governess has married - and due respect to Emma, she doesn't actually come out and say that she shouldn't have done so, but you can tell that she feels sorry for herself. She's looking around for a distraction when she meets the pretty, but dim, Harriet, a boarder in a local school. Harriet, bless her, has been placed there by an anonymous benefactor, being his bastard child, and Emma assumes that she therefore must be the daughter of an Earl or Duke, and thus a fitting choice as a bosom companion. Harriet, as silly as a lamb, is tremendously flattered, and, at Emma's request, breaks off relations with a suitor ( a local farmer, nice, kind and sensible, but not fitted to consort with the bastard daughter of a Duke, in Emma's eyes, at least). I told you she wasn't very nice. At this point, Emma starts to get her come-uppance, and the books veers wildly between hilarious social farce, and almost a morality lesson. It is never preachy, though. The lessons Emma learns are basic ones, of kindness, of thoughtfulness. She isn't actually nasty at the start, just silly, and whereas silly is forgivable in the dim and poorly placed Harriet, it isn't really in the well-educated and well-placed Emma. However, the complete and utter pickle that she gets herself into would make you feel sorry for the awfullest heroine, even if you're laughing at the same time. S
                  he does everything wrong. She almost convinces herself that she's harbouring a secret flame for a dashing young blade. Dashing young blade flirts with her, but only because he's got other fish to fry ( I can't tell you all the details because it would spoil the book). Competition arrives for the 'most socially skilled in a very small environment' award in the form of Jane, who plays piano better than her, even if she is meek to the point of disappearing. What else? She, in a stray moment of forgetting her manners is rude to some lovely ( but again rather silly) women, thus incurring the disaproval of her dearest friend, Mr Knightly. Oh, but it gets better. She unwittingly encourages the advances of a very pompous clergyman ( she was trying to matchmake him with the terminally dim Harriet), and when his advances were spurned, he promtly goes off and brings back a rich, silly, pretentious and, oh, just awful wife, who queens it over Emma mercilessly. Fun and Games. It all sounds a little more like a Restoration Comedy than a novel. It isn't though, it's pure Jane Austen. It's all a bit detatched, and it's all quite satirical, even at its close. Here's a quote: "It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months succesively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made - when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt - it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more". Oh, those 'felicities of rapid motion'. Plumstones. Pinging all over the place. You either like Jane Austen's style of writing this book, or you don't. I like the humour, but I don't find it either as readable as 'Pride and Predjudice', or as 'meaningful' as 'Persuasion'. As a sty
                  le of writing it works in this context, pulling open the predjudices and snobbery of characters in a small society, and hinting at the overall faults of the society itself. I'm making her sound like Alan Aykbourne, I know, but, in a vague way there are similarities. There's no real fairytale at the end of 'Emma', although there's a deep happiness, rooted in reason as well as emotion. Limitations abound. People are limited, either by their social situation, their upbringing, their income, or their flaws. The least two limited people end up together, and we are happy for them. Limitation on the one hand, and the flaws of a society deftly dissected, but at least one character changes for the better during the course of the book. That makes it quite warm and cosy, and I like that, sometimes. I'm not always keen on Austen's style, but it is, at the very least, readable and beautifully written, and it isn't a fairytale, either. I like it's cosy ending because beyond the cosiness lies other people's silliness, and sometimes, unhappiness. For all her wit, Jane Austen's literary world ends with the goodies getting the prize, and the baddies getting their just come-uppance ( in that they have to live with each other, and they aren't going to be very happy, really). It's funny, and has a happy ending, but I also come out of it thinking how glad I am that I don't live in this particular era. When I read 'Pride and Predjudice' I just want to meet Mr Darcy, although I like Elinor, too. I like Emma, as well. She's feisty, and not too blinkered to admit her own faults, at the end of the novel at least, but, in a weird sort of way, she's almost a modern heroine. She could be, anyway. I can see her in a power suit, learning all those lessons in London, or Paris. Timeless? No. It's too much a social comedy of a world long gone for that. The social stereotypes are still here, but i
                  n weakened form, since the world has ( thank goodness) grown so much larger. So, what do I like about it? "Emma" isn't the most readable book in the world, but I love the way that it, oh so nearly, descends into high farce. If it wasn't for those plumstones - oh, well, but it wouldn't be Austen without them, I suppose.

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                    28.02.2001 16:02
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                    OK - you're a bit worried. You'd like to read some "classics" but think they might be boring or difficult. Let's sort that out straight away. The language in "Emma" is not too dissimilar to today's. It's at its most stilted when you read the direct speech of the characters, but even then, it's easy peasy. So chill. And Emma is funny. I promise you. I first picked up the book when given it to read over a holiday as a 6th former studying English. I dutifully read x pages a day and finished it. It wasn't till the 3rd lesson of the new term that I realised it was supposed to be funny. That night, I read it from cover to cover and laughed. Hard. I didn't go to sleep till the early hours, but I treasure the memory. Since then, I've read all of Austen's published work. "Emma" is not as funny as "Pride and Prejudice", but it's more subtle. I prefer it. The genius of "Emma" is that despite being set so long ago, there is much to recognise about ourselves in the characters. Emma's father is a foolish superstitious man, afraid of his own shadow. Emma's own nature is essentially kind-hearted and caring, but for too long overwhelmed by insane pride, snobbery and a patronising desire to control the world (i.e. the people) around her. Austen wrote that in Emma she had created a heroine that only she (Austen) could love. Emma is a complex character, but she is so much more real for it. She is presented to us with all her flaws and her defects of character are ones to which we are all prone. Another element of "Emma"'s humour comes from the heroine's inability to see the bleeding obvious. And the character of the curate, Mr Elton, is quite the funniest in the whole of Austen in my oh-so-humble opinion. (Actually, that's an ironic sentence. Read the book a
                    nd come back and laugh at me.) The romance of Mr Knightley comes in part from his perfection - to have rounded him too would have killed the novel I believe. He is there for us to see as a mirror of Emma and her potential. Emma is a wonderful journey through the life of a priveleged person, who is nonetheless unhappy despite outward appearances. It is one of the most beautiful and perfect novels ever written. It would be one of my Desert Island choices. Get to a bookshop today!!!

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                      14.02.2001 17:34

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                      I have read many of Jane Austens books and i found that 'Emma' is a well written book. Like Emma, Jane tells all the detail we need to know i feel that i could fall in love with the character and the surroundings. Quick-witted, beautiful, headstrong and rich, Emma Woodhouse is inordinately fond of match-making select inhabitants of the village of Highbury, yet aloof and oblivious as to the question of whom she herself might marry. This paradox multiplies the intrigues and sparkling ironies of Jane Austen's masterpiece, her comedy of a sentimental education through which Emma discovers a capacity for love and marriage. I like to see Emma in love, and in some doubt of return; it would do her good," Jane Austen has developed Emma's character well. When i read this book it makes me feel that i know Emma quite well. If you have read this book its a must for any Jane Austen fan.

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                      11.09.2000 18:57

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                      Jane Austen feared that nobody would like "Emma," a rather spoiled character with a tendency to be a bit of a know-it-all. Perhaps the reason we don't like Emma is because she reminds us too much of ourselves. Nevertheless, Emma has become one of my favorite characters, and if you enjoy classic romance stories, she'll probably become one of yours. A word to first-time readers of Austen: if you're expecting a quick pace, think again! The beauty of Austen lies in her wit and the extraordinary plot twists -- keep reading, they'll come!

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                      31.08.2000 17:43
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                      Though Persuasion is my sentimental favorite, I regard Emma as Austen's finest novel overall. She is at the top of her game and everything works: the dialogue, character development and, did I mention, the humor? While teaching Emma in my AP English class this year, I realized that many less talented readers read right over the irony and scathing remarks. Jane Austen is so very funny that she makes better readers out of those who take the time to read her carefully. I have to admit that the movie version of Emma with Emma Thompson is quite good and does the novel some justice. It also helps a first time Austen reader get a flavor for how things looked and sounded in this time period. If you haven't yet started to enjoy Austen, pick up Emma and you won't be disappointed.

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                      31.07.2000 02:32
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                      I first read Emma as a teenager and found it difficult. It was also the first serious novel that I read twice - reading good novels twice is, of course, a thoroughly worthwhile activity, as Emma taught me. The second time I read it, I found it enthralling. Jane Austen is, I think, largely preoccupied with manners in most of her novels - manners in the older, richer sense of the word, encompassing custom and moral behaviour. The genius of Austen is to be found in her extremely acute sense of moral distinctions. When you read her, you are given a wonderful glimpse of what it is like to have an extremely acute social eye - all within the narrowest of narrow circles within the compass of English Regency middle class life. Emma is an astonishing creation. Jane Austen front loads Emma's palpable defects of character thus making her a tremendously powerful vehicle for social criticism. A lesser author would have only succeeded in making Emma catty. Jane Austen also delights in something that still has great appeal (viz Faulty Towers, One Foot in the Grave) namely the comedy of embarrassment. Her description of Mr. Elton, the clergyman, produced in me the most extraordinary mixture of loathing, rage, embarrassment, and an almost morbid fascination.

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                      29.07.2000 07:58
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                      Not for Austen, the social commentaries for Dickens, but that is no bad thing when one is looking to be entertained. Emma is, in my opinion, a girl's novel. It is about Emma Woodhouse, a rather spoilt girl, with a doting father, with a penchant for arranging other people's lives. This doesn't make her unlikeable, as her intentions are invariably good.. sometimes with amusing results, but sometimes trampling over the feelings and sensitivities of others. She does, of course, learn her lesson, as is the case in a lot of nineteenth century novels (gosh, that was a rather sweeping statement, wasn't it??). Through learning her lesson she finds that true love was really never very far away... 'there's no place like home' a hundred years before Dorothy, perhaps. Seriously though, Emma is not a 'heavy' novel. It is entertaining, and easy to read with a plot which isn't lost in language. Although it isn't necessarily easy to relate to Emma, she certainly isn't the classic heroine, which, in some ways, makes her all the more endearing. She certainly has her faults, and displays quite a lot of petulant qualities that might make her easier to identify with (or maybe that was just me..). Generally, I think most people would finish the novel with a smile on their face, which is the best recommendation really. Don't expect great philosophy, or deep, meaningful, beautifully poetic language but it is enjoyable and Emma, though at times utterly annoying, is more human for it.

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                  • Product Details

                    Considered to be Austin's most accomplished work. Set around the daughter of Mr Woodhouse,Emma is left to entertain herself after her governess leaves and involves herself in the lives of Harriet Smith and all those around her.