Emma

The most perfect of Jane Austen’s perfect novels begins with twenty-one-year-old Emma Woodhouse comfortably dominating the social order in the village of Highbury, convinced that she has both the understanding and the right to manage other people’s lives–for their own good, of course. Her well-meant interfering centers on the aloof Jane Fairfax, the dangerously attractive Frank Churchill, the foolish if appealing Harriet Smith, and the ambitious young vicar Mr. Elton–and ends with her complacency shattered, her mind awakened to some of life’s more intractable dilemmas, and her happiness assured.

Jane Austen’s comic imagination was so deft and beautifully fluent that she could use it to probe the deepest human ironies while setting before us a dazzling gallery of characters–some pretentious or ridiculous, some admirable and moving, all utterly true.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
 

Reviews

On the face of it, the concern with love is just what makes any Austen novel likeable, accessible, among the friendliest of classics. Where Emma is concerned, it’s also where the puzzles of this teasing novel begin … It is in Emma that Austen does most to release herself from the narrow preoccupation with romantic love that her plots seem to hold out to the reader. Emma is a very great novel, and a particularly intriguing one.”
–from the Introduction by Marilyn Butler