Friday, September 21, 2012

Beautiful New Edition of "Emma"

"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her." -- Opening line of "Emma" by Jane Austen

Do you have a favorite book by Jane Austen?  "Pride and Prejudice" is the favorite of most people and   "Emma" is the second favorite.  I love them both, but seem to return to "Emma" more often.  Maybe the reason for this is that no matter how misguided Emma is in her matchmaking pursuits, her heart is in the right place.  And I love watching her grow and learn about herself.  Her mistaken interpretations of people and the world around her lead to all kinds of problems, but at the end of the book when she changes and has learned about herself and others, we love her.  And who can resist the moment when Emma realizes she is in love with Mr. Knightley!    If you are a fan of Jane Austen or know someone who is, you will love this new annotated gift edition of "Emma" published by Harvard University Press. It would make a great holiday gift for anyone who loves classic books.

It opens with an old-fashioned map showing us the part of England where the small village of Highbury is supposed to be located.  That is the spot where most of the action of the novel takes place and many of the details of the characters' lives in this small village are discussed in this new edition of "Emma."  Throughout the book are illustrations and notes explaining subjects as varied as the English militia in the nineteenth-century, a woman's dowry, Regency clothing, a game of whist, nineteenth-century Bath, and Austen's use of language.  There are beautiful paintings and illustrations throughout that help us picture the Regency-era world in which "Emma" takes place.   This book is filled with gems.  Look for the two different illustrations of Mr. Knightley's proposal to Emma from 19th-century editions of the book.

This is the kind of book you will want to dip into and read on a chilly fall or winter day, preferably with a cup of tea at your side and a fire burning in the fireplace.  And once you get one for yourself, be sure to add it to your holiday gift list for anyone who loves books.

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn.  Have a great weekend!  


  1. Sunday, One can't help but adore Emma. I know someone who would a love this. I may need to purchase to give away and one for me. Always love reading your posts. Happy Autumn!

  2. I haven't been tempted to buy the annotated editions of Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion but Emma has always been my favourite Austen and I'm pretty sure this is going to be on the top of my Christmas wishlist!

  3. OOooooh, this just made my Christmas list. I think the reason that Emma is so fun to return to is that it feels light. Unlike the other novels, where you feel a certain sense of pressure for Ms. Austen's characters to make a good match, Emma is already well taken care of. Her romantic entanglements become frosting on the cake of her story. I just love her and her silly ideas about life. And who can resist Mr. Knightley?! I am glad you shared this gem. I can't wait to take a peek inside :)

  4. Isn't that a fabulous cover (oh, I do sometimes choose a book by its cover)? Enjoy reading this edition, Sunday, as you enjoy fall.

  5. Oh, I am so happy I stopped over to your blog. My crazy busy summer has kept me from visiting so many of my favorite spots, including yours. But I hope that the new season will bring more calm and a little extra time.

    I will have to get this version of Emma. I love reading annotations on Jane Austen's writings. I once read an annotated version of Pride and Prejudice in its entirety ON MY Iphone when I didn't have access to a computer for a few days!

    Happy Autumn to you. I look forward to getting back to regularly reading your lovely blog!


  6. My daughter loves Jane Austin's books and this beautiful one would make a superb Christmas gift!
    Thank you for pointing it out.

  7. Hi Sunday,
    Emma has always been my favorite. It seems that George Knightly captures my heart. This is a really lovely edition.
    Happy pumpkins.

  8. I've always struggled to read Emma and, in fact, I have never finished it. I bought a different annotated edition of it a few months ago thinking it would help me to like it better, but I wish I had seen this one first!
    My favorite Austen novel is Sense & Sensibility.

  9. Pride and Prejudice was my favourite novel in my twenties, Persuasion in my thirties and now I'm well into my forties I'm getting very fond of Mansfield Park.

    I want that edition of Emma!