Author: Jane Austen
Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: John Murray II
Publication Date: 23 December 1815
Genre: Novel of manners
Cost: Rs. 333 (Paperback), Rs. 166 (Hardcover)
'Jane Austen's Emma is her masterpiece, mixing the sparkle of her early books with a deep sensibility'
Emma is young, rich and independent. She has decided not to get married and instead spends her time organising her acquaintances' love affairs. Her plans for the matrimonial success of her new friend Harriet, however, lead her into complications that ultimately test her own detachment from the world of romance.
Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the first sentence, she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and a happy disposition... and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and romantic misunderstandings. It is set in the fictional country village of Highbury and the surrounding estates of Hartfield, Randalls, and Donwell Abbey and involves the relationships among people from a small number of families. 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. Emma is a comedy of manners, and depicts issues of marriage, sex, age, and social status.
Like every Jane Austen novel, this too explores various themes. Gendered space, Wealth, Romance, Nationhood, Female empowerment, Parenting, Class, Masculinity are some of the pre dominant themes.
Her viewpoint is so dominant that it takes several readings before you realise how subtly we are invited to imagine how Emma looks to some of the other characters. How Mr Elton imagines that she is egging him on to propose to her (“I think your manners to him encouraging”, warns Mr John Knightley, to no avail).
- 1995: Clueless, a loose American modern adaptation of the novel, set in Beverly Hills and starring Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz (Emma)
- 1996: Emma, an American comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma
- 2010: Aisha, an Indian modern adaptation of the novel, starring Sonam Kapoor as Aisha (Emma).
- 2020: Emma.,[a] directed by Autumn de Wilde, starring Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse and Johnny Flynn as Mr Knightley
About the Author:
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics. Though she published her works anonymously, Austen was so successful that she enjoyed personal and professional independence uncommon to women in Georgian middle-class society.
She published four novels during her lifetime: Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815). In these and in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (published together posthumously, 1817), she vividly depicted English middle-class life during the early 19th century. Her novels defined the era’s novel of manners, but they also became timeless classics that remained critical and popular successes two centuries after her death.