Emma, Annotated by David M Shapard

Emma – Jane Austen, Annotated by David M Shapard

It has been an enormous length of time since I have written a blog post (7 years!). It’s not that I stopped reading everything relating to Jane Austen, or watching adaptations, etc. I think it was a time thing – it takes time to read the book, watch the movie and then write a review, but I am hoping that now I have made a start I will keep going.

I came across David M Shapard from Page Girl’s blog – she was doing a close reading of Sense and Sensibility definitely worth reading. As Emma is my favourite Austen, I thought I would start my re-reading with it. Such a joy to be back in Austen’s world.

Here’s the goodreads blurb …

From the editor of the popular Annotated Pride and Prejudice comes an annotated edition of Jane Austen’s Emma that makes her beloved tale of an endearingly inept matchmaker an even more satisfying read. Here is the complete text of the novel with more than 2,200 annotations on facing pages, including:
Explanations of historical context
-Citations from Austen’s life, letters, and other writings
-Definitions and clarifications
-Literary comments and analysis
-Maps of places in the novel
-An introduction, bibliography, and detailed chronology of events
-Nearly 200 informative illustrations

Filled with fascinating information about everything from the social status of spinsters and illegitimate children to the shopping habits of fashionable ladies to English attitudes toward gypsies, David M. Shapard’s Annotated Emma brings Austen’s world into richer focus.

The annotations are fabulous, I have read Emma countless times, and there was still things that I learnt or hadn’t ever noticed.

I wouldn’t recommend reading the annotated version for your first reading (to be well-annotated means spoilers), but for subsequent readings definitely read this version. It was fascinating just noticing the evolution of words.

It is possibly geared more towards an American audience – I thought some of the things annotated were obvious, but perhaps only to English or commonwealth readers.

A review.

Re-reading Emma made me realise how isolated, and possibly, lonely Emma was. Her social circle is extremely limited; the Westons, Harriet, Mr Knightley, and the Eltons and the Bates (and she doesn’t like them). Also, there is not a lot to keep her busy; looking after her father and managing the house, no wonder she’s a bit of an imaginist.

And Mrs Elton is like an extreme form of Emma without the elegance and good breeding.

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