Thursday, August 29, 2013

Emma by Jane Austen... For October!

"Doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgments, but directed chiefly by her own. The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself....”
Emma – Chapter 1

Emma Woodhouse appears to have everything. 

Unlike most of Jane Austen’s heroines, she is not concerned about finding security in marriage, acquiring more money or avoiding relatives who are bullies.  She is clever, pretty, wealthy, spoiled and overly confident in her own powers of perception and persuasion… 

Where will it lead her?

Before she began Emma, Miss Austen is said to have written, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

And she was highly successful. For nearly 200 years later, readers are still conflicted over whether to love or hate Emma Woodhouse. Austen skillfully and lovingly created a central character in this comedy of manners that fearlessly interferes in other people’s lives and prides herself in being an expert and intuitive matchmaker.  Admired and adored by both her widowed father and Miss Taylor, her kind-hearted governess, Emma possesses one unfailing and unbiased voice into her life – neighbor to her family home of Hartfield, Mr. Knightley.  But will his voice of reason and truth break through her fearless meddling and determined self-deception?

"Mr. Knightley, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them...."
Emma - Chapter 1

Emma was published in December of 1815 in three volumes and was dedicated to the Prince Regent, George Augustus Frederick, at his request.  This uncle to Queen Victoria was Prince Regent from 1811 – 1820 and was not a favorite of Jane Austen. Actually Austen was “invited” to dedicate one of her works to the Prince and with this 4th publishing novel, she reluctantly complied.

By Jane Austen
His Royal Highness
The Prince Regent,
This Work Is,
By His Royal Highness’s Permission,
Most Respectfully Dedicated,
By His Royal Highness’s
And Obedient
Humble Servant,
The Author

This fourth published book  - and the only Austen novel to be named after its heroine - was the last to appear before Jane Austen died in 1817 and includes more detailed and vivid detail than any other Austen novel.  It is rich in Regency detail, customs and flavor and conversation that rings true to readers of any time period.

The Jane Austen Tea Society has happily returned to a study of our beloved Regency author’s works in the order in which they were published. Our fourth selection will be Emma with an Autumn Brunch and Book Discussion to take place on Saturday the 26th of October 2013 at 10am.

There is plenty of time – start reading!