Sunday, 21 June 2009

Emma

?December 1815-January 1816

My dear Anna

As I wish very much to see your Jemima, I am sure you will like to see my Emma, & have therefore great pleasure in sending it for your perusal. Keep it as long as you chuse, it has been read by all here.-
I'm re-reading Emma and also dipping into Deidre Le Fayes's collection of Austen's letters for references to Emma. I like the letter to Anna Lefroy (quoted above) in which Austen looks forward to seeing Anna's new baby, Jemima, and sends 'my Emma' for Anna to read.

Austen's affection for her new novel is justified. Written at the peak of her literary prowess you get the sense she is having great fun with Emma. I loved the Christmas Eve dinner party at Mr Weston's where it begins to snow and 'everybody was either surprised or not surprised' and the arrival of Mrs Elton and visits which must be paid to decide whether she 'were very pretty indeed, or only rather pretty, or not pretty at all.'

Can't wait for the strawberry party ...

6 comments:

MAD HOUSEWIFE said...

It's one of my favorites!

Rachel said...

Emma has to be my favourite Jane Austen. It is social comedy at its very best. Mrs Elton in particular makes me roar! I reread Emma every year and each time I find something new to charm me. What I enjoy most is playing the game of how early I can see signs that Mr Knightley is starting to fall in love with Emma...such fun! And what a beautiful edition you have to treasure! I'd love a matching set of Austens...one day, when money permits..

callmemadam said...

Emma has always been my favourite Austen novel. If you're reading it for the first time, oh, lucky you!

Paperback Reader said...

You are inspiring me to re-read Austen novels, when given an opportunity. I miss Jane in my life.

Sarah said...

It is such a fun novel isn't it? I love Emma!

Vintage Reading said...

I can feel the Emma love! Thanks for your comments.

Yes, Mrs Elton is atrocious. Mr Elton is vain, Jane Fairfax is too good to be true, Emma's father is so needy that he is manipulative, but oh, Mr Knightly! I think he's my favourite Austen hero. Mature and wise.