Synopses & Reviews
The most perfect of Jane Austens 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 peoples 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 lifes more intractable dilemmas, and her happiness assured.
Austens 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.
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. So begins Jane Austen's comic masterpiece Emma. In Emma, Austen's prose brilliantly elevates, in the words of Virginia Woolf, the trivialities of day-to-day existence, of parties, picnics, and country dances of early-nineteenth-century life in the English countryside to an unrivaled level of pleasure for the reader. At the center of this world is the inimitable Emma Woodhouse, a self-proclaimed matchmaker who, by the novel's conclusion, just may find herself the victim of her own best intentions.
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition includes newly commissioned notes on the text.
Five beloved works by Jane Austen that feature characters containing the full range of human passion and moral complexity are now presented in Vintage Classics editions.
About the Author
Jane Austen (1775—1817) was born in Hampshire, England, where she spent most of her life. Though she received little recognition in her lifetime, she came to be regarded as one of the great masters of the English novel.