Monday, November 05, 2018

Jane Austen's EMMA: A Few Reactions

EMMA by Jane Austen
By C.M. Mayo

I have just finished reading Jane Austen's masterpiece, Emma. A few reactions:

The Ur-soap opera. Esque. Deceptively simple-- it's a symphony of complexity. A sophisticated and cement-sturdy narrative structure. Our master of suspense fiction!

Emma is understandably popular for so many readers, and yet understandably unappealing for so many others. Have you read it, and did you like it?-- a litmus test for so many things... that correlate with other things...

Above all, and astonishingly, Emma manages to be poetic and vivid with only the barest of barebones descriptions. Flaubert's Madame Bovary it is not.

Austen treats both her characters, even the deeply foolish ones, and her readers with charm and diginity-- a dignity rarely seen in fiction (and especially these days). Austen has the sight of a goddess, and a heart as big as England-- England of the early 19th century, that is.

I appreciated Emma as I did Pride and Prejudice. The latter I read in highschool. For years I could not fathom why I had been obliged to read all that nattering about who was going to marry whom. When I read P & P in my thirties, however, I saw it with different eyes. Call me an Austenite.

PS USD 32,500 will get you a 1816 first edition. There were 2,000 copies paid for, ahem, by the author.

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