A high-spirited young woman meddles in other peoples' love lives in this classic comedy of errors set in nineteenth century England.
For Emma, raised to think well of herself, has such a high opinion of her own worth that it blinds her to the opinions of others. The story revolves around a comedy of errors: Emma befriends Harriet Smith, a young woman of unknown parentage, and attempts to remake her in her own image. Ignoring the gaping difference in their respective fortunes and stations in life, Emma convinces herself and her friend that Harriet should look as high as Emma herself might for a husband—and she zeroes in on an ambitious vicar as the perfect match. At the same time, she reads too much into a flirtation with Frank Churchill, the newly arrived son of family friends, and thoughtlessly starts a rumor about poor but beautiful Jane Fairfax, the beloved niece of two genteelly impoverished elderly ladies in the village.
As Emma's fantastically misguided schemes threaten to surge out of control, the voice of reason is provided by Mr. Knightly, the Woodhouse's longtime friend and neighbor. Though Austen herself described Emma as "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," she endowed her creation with enough charm to see her through her most egregious behavior, and the saving grace of being able to learn from her mistakes. By the end of the novel Harriet, Frank, and Jane are all properly accounted for, Emma is wiser (though certainly not sadder), and the reader has had the satisfaction of enjoying Jane Austen at the height of her powers.
This edition inludes: -A concise introduction that gives readers important background information -A chronology of the author's life and work -A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context -An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations -Detailed explanatory notes -Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work -Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction -A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience
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Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels—Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma,Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion—which observe and critique the British gentry of the late eighteenth century. Her mastery of wit, irony, and social commentary made her a beloved and acclaimed author in her lifetime, a distinction she still enjoys today around the world.