Emma by Jane Austen

I had not read Emma by Jane Austen for many years, but some books, albeit only a few, are worth revisiting. Although the novel was first published in 1816 it is still reflective of people, their attitudes and actions.

Emma is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. The story takes place in the fictional village of Highbury and the surrounding estates of Hartfield, Randalls, and Donwell Abbey and involves the relationships among individuals in those locations.

Emma Woodhouse is “handsome, clever and rich.” Addicted to meddling in the lives of her friends, Emma insists on playing matchmaker, even when it causes great harm to those involved. As Emma’s machinations cause greater and greater disturbances in her social circle, she is forced to examine the results of her actions. With help from a dear and honest friend, Emma is able to step back and allow romance to take its own way in the lives of her friends and within her own heart.

The novel was first published in December 1815, with its title page listing a publication date of 1816. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian–Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters and depicts issues of marriage, gender, age, and social status.

Emma is a truly classic novel and one of my all time favourite books. The way Jane Austen writes and her use of language is beautiful. It would be a perfect book group book. I am enchanted by the relationship between Emma and her beau. This is a sweet story that flows well. Austen is a profound observer of people and I her books provide a fine back drop for those scenes.

The Author

Few English novelists have commanded such popular affection and critical respect as the author of works including Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816). Austen was a writer of refinement and charm, whose honesty and sense of irony helped shape some of the supreme masterpieces of nineteenth-century fiction. The daughter of a clergyman, she never married, and lived quietly with her family in Hampshire and later Bath. Her six main novels made ordinary domestic life a compelling subject for fiction, drawing on her own observations of genteel social relations, courtship, and the position of women during the Regency. Austen compared her writing to painting literary miniatures on ivory.


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