Monday, 8 September 2014

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma (1815) (Penguin Classics)
Jane Austen
Grade: A+
Genre: fiction
Source: own
Fiction RBC 2014: A book with a one-word title

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich” is the belle of Highbury. Mistress of her father’s house, Hartfield, since her sister Isabella married, Miss Woodhouse is not in want of company. Nevertheless, when her governess and closest friend Miss Taylor becomes Mrs Weston and leaves Hartfield, Emma finds herself in need of a companion and project. The young Miss Harriet Smith becomes her new protégée, much to the despair of long-time family friend Mr Knightley who always professes to know best for Miss Woodhouse.

Emma follows the life of Emma Woodhouse and her adventures in Highbury as she tries to marry Miss Smith to the new vicar, Mr Elton, handles her father’s hypochondriac nature with expertise, as Mr Weston’s vivacious son Mr Frank Churchill visits his newly married father and step-mother, when the accomplished Miss Jane Fairfax who returns to Highbury to live with her lively aunt Miss Bates and her grandmother, and Mr Knightley who oversees all of Emma’s meddlesome comings and goings with a watchful eye.

I first started reading Emma on the announcement that Pemberley Digital’s next big project post-The Lizzie Bennet Diaries would be an adaption of Emma called Emma Approved. That was last summer (August, maybe?). It has shamefully taken me a thirteen months to read Emma cover-to-cover, which includes starting over from page one several times, but I’ve done it. This has definitely been my year for classics, and I absolutely cannot wait for the release of Alexander McCall-Smith’s modern book-version of Emma in November, as part of HarperCollins’ The Austen Project initiative in their Borough Press imprint. There’s just too many Emma-related things recently!

Jane Austen recognised that Emma as a heroine might possibly only be liked by herself. Emma is meddlesome, nosy and thinks she knows best. Believing herself responsible for the match between Mr and Mrs Weston, she’s keen to reproduce her success and has her eye on Harriet as her next success-story. It doesn’t quite work out to plan and both the novel and Pemberley Digital’s take on it were both fantastic.

One thing that does bug me is Mrs Weston’s pregnancy. I completely missed all the clues and references to her pregnancy and the next thing I knew, she’d had her baby and was recovering from the birth. A quick Google search pointed me in the right direction of said clues, but they were really so few and far between that it was perfectly understandable that I missed them.

Otherwise, I loved Emma. I might love it more than Pride and Prejudice and I know for sure that Emma Approved wins over The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in my books. For once, this is one circumstance where I'm glad I saw an adaptation before I read the book and if anything, it helped me make sense of what was going on without having to read each paragraph a dozen times. I'll definitely be getting my hands on every Emma screen adaptation I can find and cannot wait to see how I fare with the next Austen on my TBR pile: Persuasion.

Image courtesy of Book Depository

No comments:

Post a Comment