Collins Classics - Emma, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


HarperCollins is proud to present its range of best-loved, essential classics. '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...' Beautiful, rich, self-assured and witty, Emma Woodhouse delights in matchmaking those around her, with no apparent care for her own romantic life.

Taking young Harriet Smith under her wing, Emma sets her sights on finding a suitable match for her friend.

Chided for her mistakes by old friend Mr Knightley, it is only when Harriet starts to pursue her own love interests that Emma realises the true hidden depths of her own heart.

Delightful, engaging and entertaining, and with a dazzling gallery of characters, Emma is arguably Austen's most well-loved social comedy.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780007350780

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Emma Woodhouse is a young girl of 20 (or 21?), beautiful, lovable and therefore loved by everyone surrounding her, rich, socially privileged... The story begins right after her governess' marriage, a match that Emma proud herself of being responsible for. Now she's left alone with her father, a man that very much reminds us of a hobbit when it comes to his way of thinking and behaving, and so she decides to engage herself in matching another couple (she has decided not to ever get marry).<br/><br/>Despite the fact that I usually like Jane Austen's books VERY much and having enjoyed this reading, I do think that Austen should have taken a closer look at how she portraits Emma. Since she's the protagonist, I felt like I should like her, but it was simply impossible to do so. Nevertheless, I found it really hard to sympathize with a girl who's so spoiled (and I failed to understand how she was so very much loved by all the other characters) and by the end of the book I felt happy not for Emma, but for the other characters. But maybe that was the point, maybe that was a way of portraying England's rural society from early 18th century.<br/><br/>Most of the book consists in dialogues, descriptions of daily life in that society and the relationships between the neighbors. Now, talking about a period novel I always find it really hard to reach an equilibrium point between what was the author's view/intention and what is more of a description (yes, I know there's no such a thing as a description totally absent from the author's opinion, but here I'm referring to what was unintentional). After all I'm reading something from two centuries ago so most of what people speak and/or how they speak is different, so how can I know what was common at that time? In general I always think the way they treat each other to be extremely polite, too formal, which presented some kind of challenge at first, but after a while we tend to understand the characters and get used to the way of acting of each one of them.<br/><br/>I believe this to be a good read for those eager to get an idea of habits and society from that time, especially concerning the social position by birth, how people moved within society and the treatment reserved to each one, which was defined not only by wealth, but also by tradition. Tradition, I believe, is the word that best describes England, even now.