Victoria here, on a favorite subject — my favorite author. Jane Austen’s fourth novel, Emma, was published in late December, 1815, but listed on the title page as 1816. Therefore, the Jane Austen Society is officially celebrating the novel’s bicentenary in 2016.

Many Austen experts regard Emma as the author’s masterpiece, written in 1814 and 1815 when she was at the height of her mature powers, though any of the six complete novels she published has its supporters as the best of all.

In the famous opening sentence of Emma, she is described as  “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition…and…very little to distress or vex her.”
Nevertheless, Jane Austen wrote, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like” — a character who perhaps could be afflicted with “affluenza”?  Emma is generally considered to be self-centered and snobbish, though many readers are convinced she has understood her faults and learned to overcome them by the conclusion of the story — and in the light of Mr. Knightley’s love.
One of several excellent tv/film versions of Emma
Indeed, Laura Miller, in Slate, calls Emma A Perfect Novel (here).
And Austen Scholar John Mullan gives us an excellent view of how Emma created new novelistic directions, here.
The Jane Austen Society of North America will have many meetings and presentations devoted to Emma this year, including the AGM in October in Washington D.C. (Most of the politicians will be off campaigning leaving the lovely city to us history and literature buffs).
For everything Emma, all the time, click here for JASNA’s special page. 

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