Emma: An Annotated Edition

Emma: An Annotated Edition


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Emma, perhaps the most technically accomplished of all of Austen’s novels, is also, after Pride and Prejudice, her most popular one. Its numerous film and television adaptations testify to the world’s enduring affection for the headstrong, often misguided Emma Woodhouse and her many romantic schemes. Like the previous volumes in Harvard’s celebrated annotated Austen series, Emma: An Annotated Edition is a beautiful and illuminating gift edition that will be treasured by readers.

Stimulating and helpful annotations appear in the book’s margins, offering information, definitions, and commentary. In his Introduction, Bharat Tandon suggests several ways to approach the novel, enabling a larger appreciation of its central concerns and accomplishments. Appearing throughout the book are many illustrations, often in color, which help the reader to better picture the Regency-era world that serves as the stage for Emma’s matchmaking adventures.

Whether explaining the intricacies of early nineteenth-century dinner etiquette or speculating on Highbury’s deliberately imprecise geographical location, Tandon serves as a delightful and entertaining guide. For those coming to the novel for the first time or those returning to it, Emma: An Annotated Edition offers a valuable portal to Austen’s world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674048843
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/17/2012
Edition description: Annotated
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 604,042
Product dimensions: 9.98(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.66(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Bharat Tandon is Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and the author of Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England


Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt


In the summer of 1816, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori spent a night telling each other scary stories at the Villa Diodati in Switzerland - a famous night in Romantic literary history, as it was eventually to result in the publication of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (as she was by then), in 1818. However, Jane Austen beat them all to it by a year. For Emma is one of the most searching treatments in nineteenth-century fiction of ‘artificial people’ – both the simplified creatures which our wishful imaginations so often conjure up in everyday encounters, and their stylized literary relatives, fictional characters. Having mastered the narrative techniques that she had been bringing to creative fruition in Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1814), Austen found in Emma the ideal style for a story about the world, individuals’ interpretations of it, and the perpetual difficulty of distinguishing between them. Navigating with startling fluency between psychological interiority and the social bustle of provincial life, Austen’s most technically masterful work manages to be at once an exercise in romantic wish-fulfillment and a critical study of romantic wishes, a supremely accomplished early nineteenth-century novel and a sceptical exploration of just how much novels themselves can and cannot accomplish.

Following the publication of her first three novels, Austen was by 1815 at least beginning to carve out something of a niche for herself, even if the world at large still knew her only as the anonymous ‘AUTHOR OF “SENSE AND SENSIBILITY” AND “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” (as she was billed on the title page of Mansfield Park’s first edition). As a result, by the time she had finished Emma in the spring of that year, she had decided that she was not being best served by Thomas Egerton, who had published her fiction thus far. The immediate cause of the problem was Egerton’s reluctance to publish the second edition of Mansfield Park: ‘Thank you—’ she wrote to her niece Fanny Knight on 30 November 1814, ‘but it is not settled yet whether I do hazard a 2d Edition. We are to see Egerton today, when it will probably be determined.—People are more ready to borrow & praise, than to buy—which I cannot wonder at;—but tho’ I like praise as well as anybody, I like what Edward calls Pewter too’. Therefore, by the time her brother Henry had started negotiating with the London publishing house of John Murray, she was clearly not going to be done out of that ‘Pewter’, as witnessed by the letter she wrote to her sister Cassandra on 17 October 1815: ‘Mr Murray’s Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one. He offers £450— but wants to have the Copyright of MP. & S&S included. It will end in my publishing for myself I dare say’. Despite Austen’s suspicions of Murray as a person, she could have hardly been unaware that to have her new novel appear under the Murray imprimatur would link together ‘THE AUTHOR OF “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE,” &c. &.c.’ with the publisher of Walter Scott and Lord Byron, and Murray duly published the first edition of Emma, after a few annoying delays, just before Christmas.

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Emma 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 630 reviews.
Jakabooboo More than 1 year ago
I'm deleting from my nook and re-purchasing the B&N Classics edition. This one has tons and tons of mistakes. Boooo!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not finish reading the book so many mistakes!!!! GET ANOTHER VERSION!!!!! For instance, instead of s in house there was A making houae instead of house!!! GET ANOTHER VERSION
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really hard to read random symbols and spaces fill this book, it really disappointed me :(
Alison Roane More than 1 year ago
Do not download!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many misprints! Whats the point of a free book if you cant read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only first volume with many misprints
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow at first but in the middle it gets good. Emma is such a funny character. And mr knightley is charming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The text of this free book is decent-definitely better than a lot of other free nook books! A few missing words and random symbols for letters, but I could usually make it out. I'd read it before though. The book itself is excellent. The copy is alright
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a ton of romance but this edition is not good just on one page there are a ton of mistakes for instance it says sxteen instead of sixteen and another word I can't even tell what it is but I love Jane Austen
V_LynnTX More than 1 year ago
Another masterpiece by Harvard University Press!! If you love Jane Austen's works, you're going to LOVE this as well! The story is wonderful all in itself, but the addition of the notations & illustrations along the margins gives the reader more detail & understanding of the times when this was written. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I knew I would - I also own the previous two annotated editions done by HPU in this format, Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion. Can't wait for the rest of them to done so that I can add them to my collection!!
ragwaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Couldn't finish. Chick book, writing not great.
jayne_charles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The marriage game again, but done in a more playful style. I liked the way the story was structured - you could see what was going to happen, but it was fun watching it unfold.
foomy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though it was a must-read during my English literature class, I would read it over and over again because each character reminds me of someone I know!
Hoperin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm kind of torn on this one. On one hand, I found huge chunks of this book dry, I think largely caused by its formality between the characters. Not necessarily a fault, by any means, I just found the exchanges tedious. On the other hand, I was reacting strongly to Emma and many other characters the whole time; an initial strong dislike of Emma and pity for Harriet, always strongly agreeing with Mr. Knightley in my head, ect. The characters (and my need to finish any book I start) are what kept me turning pages, and I'm glad I stuck with it because I found the third 'book' delightfully twisty and unexpected. Much to my surprise I found myself hurt, on Emma's behalf, to find that Jane had been snubbing her, and hoping she would end up with Mr. So and so, as well as fearful for poor Harriet's heart breaking once again.I feel like I would read the second half of this book over and over, but I just can not imagine myself attempting the whole length of it cover to cover, so I can really only rate it as a three (or maybe a four...).
Clif on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen wrote about everyday life among the lower English gentry of the early 19th Century. Thus, the book's characters are concerned about social class in ways that seem a bit strange to a 21st Century American reader. A modern reader is likely to find that the book consists of much 19th Century dialog about trifles. It is that, but Austen's skill as a writer is apparent in the way she portrays character traits and personalities through their spoken words. It seems as though half the words in the book are contained within quotation marks. But at truly climatic moments the story's narration slips inside the minds of the story's characters to describe their feelings.Emma, in the book, is preoccupied with social class and match making while at the same time claiming no interest in marriage for herself. The story shows Emma's busy-body approach failing to achieve her desired goals in most cases. Her self perceived ability to understand the feelings of others is repeatedly found to be leading her to incorrect conclusions. But never fear, this is 19th Century writing so things will be OK in the end.Some reviewers note that the book shows how women of that era were dependent on men for their security. That may be true, but this is a story about English gentry who have a quite pleasant life. (The servants hover in the background and are given about as much attention as we give to our kitchen appliances.) The women in this story may not be liberated in the modern feminist sense, but they appear comfortable with their environment. The historical context within which Jane Austen wrote is what makes her books interesting to me. She predates the Bronte sisters, George Eliot and Mary Shelley. So I guess that makes Jane Austen the mother of the English novel. Jane Austen also predates Dickens and Hardy. Unfortunately, her being female had little impact on her contemporaries because all her novels were published anonymously during her lifetime. Jane Austen was a natural born writer starting at a young age. However, it can be argued that her books may never have been published had her family not been experiencing financial difficulties. (I need to acknowledge here that Ann Radcliffe was a published female author prior to Jane Austen. So it may be a bit too generous to call Jane Austen the mother of the English novel.)
MsNikki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sigh I've read Emma, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, and loved them all. I need to read the rest but Austen has already secured her place as one of my favourite authors.
coolcat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Took me about a year to finish reading it due to other more easy reading books. But towards 2/3 of the book, I was hooked proper. I laughed at every other delightful sentence that graced its pages. How marvellous it must be not read to books written in terse, choppy sentences that are lining up our bookshelves these days. This is the first Jane Austen novel I've finished reading and I'm starting on my next. Hopefully, it'll take less than a year to complete reading the second one.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Emma Woodhouse is a rich young lady living in a small community. She is practically the head of her household, independent and lively, and a little spoiled. She becomes friends with another young woman, Harriet, the illegitimate daughter of no one knows who, but Emma is certain that no gentleman farmer is good enough for Harriet. She is determined to make a better match for her friend. At the same time, the stepson of her old governess, Mrs. Weston, comes for a visit and starts to show Emma every attention. I always find it hardest to convey what I think and feel about books that are so beloved they have become old friends. Emma is one such book that I have read and reread it since I was a teenager. When I was younger, it was my favorite of the three (now four) Austen novels I had read. My relationship to the characters and the story has changed with time, however, and having shortly reread Pride and Prejudice (my current favorite, in case you were wondering), I couldn't help but compare the two in my mind's eye. Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet are nearly the same age, but Emma seems to me much the younger of the two. Indeed, I think one of the reasons I loved Emma as a teenager was because I could related to her youth and naivete when it came to individuals and their relationships to one another. Elizabeth is in some ways much more a woman of the world, while Emma is a little insulated from such things as class. In fact, the treatment of class in Emma struck me more than ever before, as one distinction between characters that governs how much intimacy one can have with another, something that cannot be ignored in terms of Harriet Smith especially, but other characters as well. While still present in Pride and Prejudice, class distinctions are not quite the same hurdle, or at least not so clearly affecting the heroines in their choice of friends. But one of the greatest joys of rereading is rediscovering elements of an old favorite to which I had paid little attention. Though no longer my favorite Austen, Emma still evokes a great deal of affection from me, and I'm sure I will reread it again with pleasure.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was perusing a library booksale when a book sporting a familiar title and author caught my eye. Only, the combination of the title and author perplexed me. I'm a big fan of Jane Austen's Emma, but had no idea that Charlotte Brontë wrote a book with the same title! Upon studying the back cover, I learned that this was one of those unfinished works completed by that coy nom de plume, "Another Lady." What the back cover didn't tell me, however, was that Brontë only wrote two rough chapters of Emma before she died. "Another Lady" ¿ whom Google has revealed to be one Constance Savery ¿ concocted the rest of the tale from the hints of those two chapters. I'm torn between admiration for the magnitude of such an undertaking and disappointment in the lackluster result.By all rights, I should have liked this book. It's a Gothic-y mystery with moors (well, a little), abductions, secrets, and coincidences worthy of a true 19th-century novel. But the plot is rather predictable... even I guessed what would happen, and that's never a good sign. The characters are fairly flat, and the whole thing just feels forced. I didn't hate the book, but I was glad that it was slim. I'd be done with it quickly.Like Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, the story bears the name of its villainess, who overshadows everything with her malice despite having very little "screen time." But Emma is an infinitely weaker book. Emma is evil, sure, but why? How did she get that way? Rebecca's natural bent for evil is intensified by Danvers' indulgent, worshipful upbringing. No such explanation is given for Emma's personality. Even that would be all right if Emma just had a believable motive for hating her stepmother, Mrs. Chalfont. Emma never meets Mrs. Chalfont at all ¿ in fact, she runs off with her brothers the day of the wedding and they move in with their grandparents so as to never meet their stepmother, out of apparent hatred. But why? It wasn't as if Emma was devoted to her father and was jealous of the new wife... It just doesn't make sense.There are other weak characterizations; Guy and Laurence Chalfont come to mind especially. Martina, whose parentage is the mystery of the tale, is rather too precious at times. I found Mr. Ellin too nice, too convenient to be really three-dimensional. Only Mrs. Chalfont, who (true to Brontë's style) narrates the story, is marginally more interesting and believable than the others. The chapters with Mrs. Chalfont observing Martina are very reminiscent of Lucy Snowe with Paulina in Villette.No doubt Emma suffers from being compared to Brontë's other works, but even without that comparison I don't think I would have liked it. I'm glad I read the book to know about it for myself, but I don't think I will ever reread. I would recommend this to Brontë completists only ¿ and maybe not even you, as this is much more Savery than Brontë.
Arctic-Stranger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of Jane Austin's most fun books. Emma is one of Austin's typical Can't-see-the-nose-on-her-face heroine, and her misadventures are quite entertaining.
arteehazari on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book true reflections of Jane Austen's work. Loved it for the classiness of it but then Jane is one of my favorite authors. A story woven around the matchmaker's mind.
Schmerguls on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
1190. Emma, by Jane Austen (20 Oct 1972) This is an enthralling book. It was the fifth work I read by Jane Austen, and everyone I found a most enjoyable read. (My comment made immediately after reading the book is mostly a summary of the story line.)
athene1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Smart, enjoyable read. Not much exuberant passion is displayed by Austen, but it lays beneath the words.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago