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Emma (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – December 23, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

When her former governess finds happiness as the bride of a local widower, the brilliant and beautiful Emma Woodhouse—one of Jane Austen's immortal creations—flatters herself that she alone has secured the marriage and that she possesses a special talent for bringing lovers together. The young heiress next busies herself with finding a suitable husband for her friend and protégé, Harriet Smith, setting off an entertaining sequence of comic mishaps and misunderstanding in this sparkling comedy of English-village romance. Beneath its considerable wit, the novel is also the story of a young woman's progress toward self-understanding.
Emma abounds in the droll character sketches at which Jane Austen excelled. In addition to the well-intentional heroine and her hypochondriacal father, the village of Highbury during the Regency period is populated by an amusing circle of friends and family—kindhearted but tedious Miss Bates, a chatterbox spinster; ambitious Mr. Elton, a social-climbing parson; Frank Churchill, an enigmatic Romeo; Mr. Knightley, Emma's brother-in-law and the voice of her better nature; and a cluster of other finely drawn, unforgettable personalities.
The author's skill at depicting the follies of human nature in a manner both realistic and affectionate elevates this tale of provincial matchmaking to the heights of scintillating satire. A classic of English literature that has delighted readers since its 1816 publication, the novel is now available in this high-quality, inexpensive edition sure to charm a new generation.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486406482
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486406480
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RenKyo on February 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Emma" is the first Jane Austen novel I read and since then I have read most of Jane Austen's novels. The story takes you back to old Enland (I guess 1800s)..the main character Emma, is a smart young woman from a well to do family in England. The story pretty much revolves around our heroine in her attempts at matchmaking, the social norms of England in those times etc. Though it borders on romance, I would say it is more of drama. Of course, Knightley (though old) is an adorable character in the story. Though Emma might seem a little...spoiled to some readers, I would say she is a sensible, likeable heroine. This book is one of the classics and is a wonderful read...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ornery, Swaggering, Piece of work on April 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Emma I believe, is Austen's longest novel, and may be considered the most complex, indepth one.

The plot in short goes as follows: Emma Woodhouse, a wealthy, well-meaning but immature heir to Hartfield, in the village of Highbury, takes up the hobby of match-making. Emma attempts to bring together her friend Harriet Smith and Mr. Elton, with unsatisfying results. When Frank Churchill comes to visit his father, Mr. Weston, Emma and he make fast friends, much to the dismay of Mr. George Knightley, and sceme about Ms. Jane Fairfax. The story ends when Emma discovers her own true match, after many trials and tribulations.

The book starts out a touch slowly; don't give up too soon! This novel is well written (most Jane Austen stories are) and very funny, Emma Woodhouse is nearly impossible to dislike, even if you don't approve of what she's doing. There are many different characters, so you may have trouble remembering them all at first, after the first read it gets easier. You may find it helpful to see it as a movie first, Emma with Kate Beckinsale in the lead role is the best in my opinion.

This book is definately worth a read, it is most enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pam on November 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Jane Austen was a great author who without using too complex words made simple stories, with characters you can't forget. She had insights into human nature that make her story meaningful today just as it was in the early 1800's.
Emma is a beautiful and fortunate woman who has had only good luck. She thinks she knows it all. But really it's just she hasn't experienced the world. But this belief makes her get involved in the problems of others and disrupts her peaceful life. However it's not that serious, the results are comical and teaches you the important lesson to mind your own business!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DBesim@excite.com on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I first opened the novel, I realised that the book was split into three volumes, which comprised of eighteen chapters apiece. I wondered how long it would take me to get through the read. As it worked out, the organisation of the novel, and the clarity of the language makes the novel a very legible read, and one can flow through the chapters in each of the volumes with much ease. It could take less than three to four days to complete one volume, in nine by nine chapters, with active concentration.

Volume one makes for a very interesting read, as we're already introduced to Harriet and Emma's relationship, within only a few chapters in. We see that Emma's designs to interfere in Harriet's relationships is centred on her presumption that it was she who matchmade Miss Taylor's matrimony to Mr Weston. Emma wants to matchmake Harriet with Mr Elton, not Mr Martin, of Harriet's own choice. She tries to put Harriet off Mr Martin by calling him 'a gross, and vulgar farmer.' Her input breaks up Harriet's relationship with Mr Martin, and we find ourselves sympathising with Harriet, but not with Emma. Our opinion of her schemes makes readers feel critical of Emma for interfering.

In volume two, we continue to be critical of Emma. On first read, volume two can get extremely tedious, because the themes run on, and have a lot less in common with volume one. It gets particularly tedious when Austen devotes pages of the novel to Miss Bate's blabbing on and on. The themes eventually begin to link in volume three. We get a better understanding of volume two, and we can see there is something more conclusive.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jiang Xueqin on August 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this timeless Jane Austen classic, Emma Woodhouse is young, rich, and beautiful. She is happy and comfortable, without any complaint in the worry, doted on by everyone around her, especially her pleasant father. A tragedy in the Woodhouse household is when someone departs -- first the eldest daughter Isabella and then the beloved governess -- but both Emma and her father are assured and comforted by the strongest belief that the two could never leave each other.

The departure of her governess has vexed Emma though, and bored and feeling mischievous Emma decides to take on a new plaything -- a young impressionable Harriet Smith -- and play match-maker. In the rustic bubble that is the lower British aristocracy, there is no crime, poverty, and disease, and everyone ends up marrying their rich, well-to-do, and articulate cousin or neighbor anyway. Marriage then is a very low-stakes game, but because it is a game people -- especially Emma -- take it far too seriously, and seek to marry for the greatest advantage possible (marriage is for "security, stability, and improvement" in her words). In her silly game-playing Emma mischievously plays with the feelings of all those around her, and in her silly mischief ends up marrying herself to the perfect man.

I did not enjoy "Emma" as much as I thought I would. Sometimes, the writing is beautiful and musical, as per Austen's intention. But sometimes it can be clunky and overwrought as well. The plot -- if what happens can be called a plot -- is low-stakes and meaningless, empty and silly gossip and chatter in people's parlour-rooms. And insight into the priorities of high-born women intent on marriage -- especially the evasiveness and trickiness of their emotions -- is better handled by Iris Murdoch and Edith Wharton.
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