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Emma : Evergreens - Jane Austen

Paperback Published: 1st May 2015
ISBN: 9781847494139
Number Of Pages: 416

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Includes pictures and an extensive section on Austen's life and works

Emma is considered by many readers to be Jane Austen's crowning achievement, a timeless comedy of manners that lays bare the limits on women's autonomy in Regency England. The disparity between Emma Woodhouse's self-confidence and self-knowledge, and her determination to arrange marriages for her friends while avoiding one for herself, leads to a painful series of misunderstandings for everyone who suffers from her well-meaning altruism - and with Mr Knightley being the only person of her acquaintance who has the good sense to challenge her, Emma must eventually recognize her match in every sense.

Review by John Purcell

I started the year by rereading Jane Austen's Emma. I felt the need to recalibrate my sensibilities after the horror year that was 2016. And nothing but the clear, sensible and wise voice of Jane Austen would do.

Why Emma, when I might have chosen Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and the truly sublime Persuasion?

Let's face it, 2017 already looks irredeemable. Soon Trump will be king of the world. In this climate it will be easy to give up all hope in the possibility for positive change.

Which is why I turned to Emma, over the other novels. Emma Woodhouse, whom Jane Austen said was 'a heroine whom no one but myself will much like', is young, beautiful, rich, headstrong, conceited and blind to many of her own faults. If alive today, Emma would be Insta-famous. But, and this is why I turned to Emma, she learns from her mistakes, eventually, and becomes a better person. This book offers hope.

Unlike other Austen heroines, Emma isn't perfect; she starts off with the great handicap of her own faults, and appears to be fixed in her ways. The world around her doesn't need to be changed, she needs to change. This is opposite to the difficulties faced by her other heroines.

And it is a good lesson in these dark days. We don't need to change the world. We need only change ourselves. Then the problems of the world will fix themselves.

Industry Reviews

It is the cleverest of books. I especially love the dialogue - every speech reveals the characters' obsessions and preoccupations, yet it remains perfectly natural. -- Susanna Clarke
I read all of Jane Austen's novels very early on and learnt to love her economy of style and precision. She still seems to me the finest writer in the English language. -- Philippa Gregory
A favourite from my school days, and it would always hold its place my heart. Austen's characters are always devastatingly good, and Emma is, for me, her best creation. -- Monica Ali

ISBN: 9781847494139
ISBN-10: 1847494137
Series: Evergreens
Audience: BAG
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 1st May 2015
Publisher: Alma Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.8  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.33
Edition Number: 1

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Jane Austen

About the Author

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 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 18 July 1817.

Jane Austen was extremely modest about her own genius, describing her work to her nephew, Edward, as 'the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory, on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour'.

As a girl she wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were published only 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 (1815). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1817 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.

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