"Emma" is said to be Jane Austens best novel. I think I agree. The characters are just perfectly designed, and all of them could play a main role in his or her own story. Emma herself is smart, perfectly good hearted and very cheerful. It is impossible not to like her. There are a couple of very funny characters in this book which made me laugh repeatedly: Mrs Elton in her smuggy stupidity, Mr Elton who is sulky after being rejected by Emma, Mr Woodhouse and his everlasting sorrow of getting sick and the chatty, adorable Miss Bates.
Like in all of Austens novels, the main theme is marriage and finding the right partners for the singles in the upper class society of a small provincial town in England. I love the irony Austen lays in describing the ever polite conversations and visits. The realism of the story (this book could just as well have been a true story) is its main strength.
Even if this story is 200 years old, it's still appealing today just because of that. The search for the right partner just never gets outdated.
Jane Austen wrote this when she was only 18 years old. One may wonder how she knew of the cunning manners of some women, but after all, Jane was an avid reader herself.
Lady Susan is the only immoral main character in Austen's books, in return, she's extremely immoral. She is mean, egocentric, she seems to hate her daughter, and only wants the best (in terms of finance) for herself. She's absolutely willing to destroy people's lives if it puts herself in a better position. She enjoys to influence Jane Austen wrote this when she was only 18 years old. One may wonder how she knew of the cunning manners of some women, but after all, Jane was an avid reader herself.
Lady Susan is the only immoral main character in Austen's books, in return, she's extremely immoral. She is mean, egocentric, she seems to hate her daughter, and only wants the best (in terms of finance) for herself. She's absolutely willing to destroy people's lives if it puts herself in a better position. She enjoys to influence people - men especially - with her eloquence, of which she is very proud.
The book is Austen's only epistolary novel and she's done it brilliantly. The difficulty in a novel only existing of letters, is that the reader, in contrast to the writer and addressee of the letters, has no previous knowledge of the situation and relations at all. In contrast to an auctorial novel, the author has no mean of introducing characters or stations in letters. Austen solves this brilliantly - in only three letters, she introduces us the seven characters in the book. In the first letter, written by Lady Susan herself, addressing her brother-in-law, one may believe she is a likable woman, with great manners and high intellect. In the second letter, however, written to her best friend Alicia Johnson, the reader is confronted with the true nature of our heroine.
I thoroughly enjoyed this little novel - Austen's ironic style is just the best. I even liked the heroine in a way - at least she's a strong, confident woman, which is seldom for that time. Lovely!
I had never read this book before. I have never seen the 2005 movie nor the 1990s tv series. Though I couldn’t believe that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy wouldn’t marry (I mean, the book is known as a romance…), I still felt excited for them until the final moment. Thank you, naivety! And thank you Jane, for supporting it :).
I had prejudices about Austens novels myself, funny enough. I thought they would be cheesy, dull etc. etc. In fact, they are everything but that. After Northanger Abbey (which was big fun) and Mansfield Park (which was lala), I decided to read her most famous. A bit sceptic, still, but already at the first chapter I recognized it’s such a joy to read. I love Austens cynicism. I laughed out loud more than once. I love her characters: I could totally imagine the lovely but little naïve Jane, silly Lydia, ‘this-world-isn’t-getting-better-for-me-anyway-so-f*ck-it’ Mr. Bennet, crazy, exaggerated Mr. Collins, empty-headed Mrs. Bennet, prim-and-gruffy-but-actually-so-good-hearted Mr. Darcy… And so on.
Some people say nothing happens in this book. Well, that is true as long as you expect super exciting things like world travels, alchemical inventions, ghostly appearances or whatever. But this is a 19th century romance written by a middle-class young woman, so the book is about 1-1,5 years from the life of an English middle-class family with five daughters and no heir, so it is important that they marry someone rich (at least that’s the thought of their mother, and, also, the thought of lots of people living in that time). That may sound dull, but Jane Austen is such a talented author, her characters are so funny, and he timing is perfect. I am happy to see that many men (!) give this book 4 or 5 stars. If you are one of the few people alive who haven’t read this book, do yourself a favor and try. I promise it will be fun.