Emma: An Annotated Edition

Emma: An Annotated Edition

Emma: An Annotated Edition

Emma: An Annotated Edition


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Emma, perhaps the most technically accomplished of all of Austen’s novels, is also, after Pride and Prejudice, her most popular one. Its numerous film and television adaptations testify to the world’s enduring affection for the headstrong, often misguided Emma Woodhouse and her many romantic schemes. Like the previous volumes in Harvard’s celebrated annotated Austen series, Emma: An Annotated Edition is a beautiful and illuminating gift edition that will be treasured by readers.

Stimulating and helpful annotations appear in the book’s margins, offering information, definitions, and commentary. In his Introduction, Bharat Tandon suggests several ways to approach the novel, enabling a larger appreciation of its central concerns and accomplishments. Appearing throughout the book are many illustrations, often in color, which help the reader to better picture the Regency-era world that serves as the stage for Emma’s matchmaking adventures.

Whether explaining the intricacies of early nineteenth-century dinner etiquette or speculating on Highbury’s deliberately imprecise geographical location, Tandon serves as a delightful and entertaining guide. For those coming to the novel for the first time or those returning to it, Emma: An Annotated Edition offers a valuable portal to Austen’s world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674048843
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 09/17/2012
Edition description: Annotated
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 1,168,185
Product dimensions: 9.98(w) x 9.18(h) x 1.66(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

About The Author
Bharat Tandon is Lecturer in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and the author of Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England


Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt


In the summer of 1816, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Polidori spent a night telling each other scary stories at the Villa Diodati in Switzerland - a famous night in Romantic literary history, as it was eventually to result in the publication of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (as she was by then), in 1818. However, Jane Austen beat them all to it by a year. For Emma is one of the most searching treatments in nineteenth-century fiction of ‘artificial people’ – both the simplified creatures which our wishful imaginations so often conjure up in everyday encounters, and their stylized literary relatives, fictional characters. Having mastered the narrative techniques that she had been bringing to creative fruition in Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Mansfield Park (1814), Austen found in Emma the ideal style for a story about the world, individuals’ interpretations of it, and the perpetual difficulty of distinguishing between them. Navigating with startling fluency between psychological interiority and the social bustle of provincial life, Austen’s most technically masterful work manages to be at once an exercise in romantic wish-fulfillment and a critical study of romantic wishes, a supremely accomplished early nineteenth-century novel and a sceptical exploration of just how much novels themselves can and cannot accomplish.

Following the publication of her first three novels, Austen was by 1815 at least beginning to carve out something of a niche for herself, even if the world at large still knew her only as the anonymous ‘AUTHOR OF “SENSE AND SENSIBILITY” AND “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” (as she was billed on the title page of Mansfield Park’s first edition). As a result, by the time she had finished Emma in the spring of that year, she had decided that she was not being best served by Thomas Egerton, who had published her fiction thus far. The immediate cause of the problem was Egerton’s reluctance to publish the second edition of Mansfield Park: ‘Thank you—’ she wrote to her niece Fanny Knight on 30 November 1814, ‘but it is not settled yet whether I do hazard a 2d Edition. We are to see Egerton today, when it will probably be determined.—People are more ready to borrow & praise, than to buy—which I cannot wonder at;—but tho’ I like praise as well as anybody, I like what Edward calls Pewter too’. Therefore, by the time her brother Henry had started negotiating with the London publishing house of John Murray, she was clearly not going to be done out of that ‘Pewter’, as witnessed by the letter she wrote to her sister Cassandra on 17 October 1815: ‘Mr Murray’s Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one. He offers £450— but wants to have the Copyright of MP. & S&S included. It will end in my publishing for myself I dare say’. Despite Austen’s suspicions of Murray as a person, she could have hardly been unaware that to have her new novel appear under the Murray imprimatur would link together ‘THE AUTHOR OF “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE,” &c. &.c.’ with the publisher of Walter Scott and Lord Byron, and Murray duly published the first edition of Emma, after a few annoying delays, just before Christmas.

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