1 February 2019 Susannah

Jane Austen & ‘Emma’

Jane Austen - Emma

This month, my ‘Book of the Month’ is, in my opinion, the best novel the world has ever seen. I adore and worship Jane Austen’s Emma and writing about it for my February Reader’s Guide was utter joy.

It is a ‘bumper’ guide as I had so much to say, and I must warn you it contains many superlatives (how can you not use superlatives when discussing that book?). I try to explain its power, charm, brilliance and importance and attempt to do justice to its perfections. You may not yet have fallen in love with Emma. Hopefully my guide will persuade you to do so. Share my passion and make February the best month of your year.

Read more about Jane Austen’s life and work in my Book of the Month section.

I always love to hear what you think.

Leave a comment.

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Featured image credit- Still from Emma 2009 BBC movie adaptation at imdb fan sites https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1366312/

Comments (22)

  1. Penny Morris

    I too love Emma but I’m curious that your picture is of the BBC movie adaptation. I’ve seen several versions but not that one. However I do love the Gwyneth Paltrow version. Should I now watch the BBC one esp as I loved their Pride and Prejudice series?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I like the Romola Garai BBC version and think it is probably the best. You can find it on DVD. However, no version can begin to match the book in my opinion.

  2. Brian Doyle

    Gwyneth Paltrow was simply appalling as Emma, I’m still waiting for for a definitive series of this marvellous book

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, no version has really satisfied me. While I have many problems with the Paltrow version, I am not as against her in the role of Emma as you are. But the best Emma is the one in my imagination.

      • Brian Doyle

        And to find out more of what’s in your head Susannah on this matter I’ve purchased your book of the month guide to read in due course when I’ve finished reading, Children playing before a statue of Hercules, a collection of wonderful short stories, perfect in this ghastly humidity when one’s concentration is limited

        • Susannah Fullerton

          I hope you enjoy my guide to ‘Emma’. Just a warning – it does contain a fair number of superlatives! I do so wish this humidity would come to an end – we’ve all suffered enough.

  3. Brian Doyle

    Emma would not be amused with humidity, so troublesome for ones curls and complexion

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Jane Austen once wrote in a letter: “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance.” I know how she felt!

      • Brian Doyle

        The most prudent decision is to take your superlatives with a chilled glas of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc and wait for it to pass

        • Susannah Fullerton

          Or maybe the wine will help to persuade you that it is the world’s greatest novel??

          • Brian Doyle

            It’s more likely to to stop me thinking about anything but more wine, when it comes to thinking about Jane Austen I must confess that Persuasion is my favourite, there I’ve said it, I can see you reaching for the bottle and a straw Susannah

  4. Susannah Fullerton

    Well, any excuse for a wine, but you are not alone. Generally P & P is the top favourite, with Persuasion a close second, so I can cope with your choice.

    • Brian Doyle

      No doubt the brilliant BBC series of P&P. cemented it’s position as number one and it’s highly unlikely to be bettered, the movie with Keira Knightly on the other hand was a travesty of miscasting and can certainly be remade. The movie of S & S was fabulous where the series wasn’t, Lady Susan was made into a great movie and I’m still waiting for a definitive Persuasion, in an ideal world the solution to these hits and misses would be to consult and expert such as yourself with your vast knowledge of Jane Austen’s writing to be a consultant on any future projects., it’s not like you can’t fit it in Susannah you must be awake 24/7, your output is remarkable

  5. Brian Doyle

    Very much enjoyed your treatise on Emma, I read ithe book some years ago and was irritated by her,at first,but as there were so many other wonderfully written characters I kept reading and of course found her more endearing as I read on, like all great articles yours has now made me want to read it again. Big thanks

    • Susannah Fullerton

      You’ve just made my day. I get so much joy when I know people are appreciating this great novel as it ought to be appreciated. It demands to be re-read, and often!

  6. Yvette

    I have recently starting re reading Emma after rewatching the Romola Garai mini series. I have found that I am seeing Knightly through new eyes. I think what always put me off was the age gap. But that aside Knightly is truly such a lovely man with such care for other people. I think he is a very underrated Austen hero. And seeing a character grow as Emma does is very enjoyable.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I’m so glad you are enjoying ‘Emma’ and seeing Mr Knightley for the true gentleman that he is. Yes, he is a bit underrated and I think the age gap could be responsible for that, but he is a superb character.

  7. Brian Doyle

    Just a thought,
    A very close conspiracy by Jane Dunn is a must read if you haven’t already, a wonderful writer I also loved Elizabeth and Mary and Daphne du Maurier and her sisters, thank goodness we live in the age of laser surgery for eyes I’ve certainly given them a workout.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I totally agree – I have read Elizabeth and Mary and the one on Daphne and her sisters, and both were excellent.

  8. Kathryn Lawes

    I too feel the same about Me Knightley, scruffy hair & not a tall presence, does not do the character justice.
    Who wrote the Script? Nose bleed- really!! Ridiculous.

    Clothes & Ball scene quite original feel.
    Saw this latest release of Emma 2 weeks ago, came away feeling flat & disappointed.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      The script was written by Kiwi author Eleanor Catton, who wrote the prize winning novel ‘The Luminaries’.

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