Category Archives: Emma

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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Emma – Alexander McCall Smith

Emma - Alexander McCall Smith

Emma – Alexander McCall Smith

This is the third in the Austen Project. As Emma is my favourite Austen novel, I had high hopes for this adaptation.

Here is the blurb …

Prepare to meet a young woman who thinks she knows everything.
Fresh from university, Emma Woodhouse arrives home in Norfolk ready to embark on adult life with a splash. Not only has her sister, Isabella, been whisked away on amotorbike to London, but her astute governess, Miss Taylor is at a loose end watching as Mr. Woodhouse worries about his girls. Someone is needed to rule the roost and young Emma is more than happy to oblige.
At the helm of her own dinner parties, and often found either rearranging the furniture at the family home of Hartfield, or instructing her new protégée, Harriet Smith, Emma is in
charge. You don’t have to be in London to go to parties, find amusement or make trouble.
Not if you’re Emma, the very big fish in the rather small pond.
But for someone who knows everything, Emma doesn’t know her own heart. And there is only one person who can play with Emma’s indestructible confidence, her friend and inscrutable neighbour George Knightly – this time has Emma finally met her match?
Ever alive to the social comedy of village life, beloved author Alexander McCall Smith’s Emma is the busybody we all know and love, and a true modern delight.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed. As I wrote in a previous post, it is probably quite difficult to update Austen’s work (although Clueless is a fabulous modern re-telling of Emma). I liked the way Mr Woodhouse made his fortune (through an invention). We don’t see much of Mr Knightley and what we do see isn’t very compelling (or sexy) – I think if you didn’t know the original story, you would be surprised they ended up together. And finally, I didn’t like Emma. I thought she was mean-spirited. Austen’s Emma might have been a snob, but she was fundamentally good at heart.

More reviews …

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Filed under Adaptations, Emma

Lizzie Bennet Diaries

I have been watching the Lizzie Bennet Diaries – some what obsessively I might add.

The writers have done a great job of updating Pride and Prejudice for a modern audience.

Here is a link

to the entire play list. Or here it is …

There is also a new version of Emma called Emma Approved.


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Jane Austen’s Regency World

In the latest Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine there is an interesting article (by Paul A Bethel) on the similarities between Emma and Mansfield Park.

Here’s a small excerpt:

Rather, she [Austen] simply began with the premise: “What if a character much like Mary Crawford should have grown up in a small village outside London? What kind of life would she have lead?” Few novelists have been more acutely aware of the twin influences of nature and nurture upon individual character; and this is the key difference between Mary and Emma.  Having similar natures’ their upbringing could not be more different. And that is why, ultimately, Emma is capable of reformation and redemption, while Mary is not.

He then goes on to highlight the similarities in their opinions. He then compares other characters; Fanny and Jane Fairfax, Henry Crawford and Frank Churchill, Edmund and Mr Knightley, Lady Bertram and Mr Woodhouse.

None of this had ever occurred to me; as Emma is my favourite novel and Mansfield Park my least favourite I was surprised to find areas in common.

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Filed under Emma, Magazines, mansfield park