Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Emma

Emma Emma by Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. (78)
… but it is not every man’s fate to marry the woman who loves him best. (249)

Geometrically speaking: Austen usually adopts the triangle but this time take the circle: all feeling goes round and round (the answer to the question of who is in love with whom (sparknotes)).

… no one possesses complete enough information to interpret correctly everything that is going on. (sparknotes)

the novel’s suggestion that social intercourse is a game with particular rules. (sparknotes)

That is to say, it represents with unprecedented fullness the interpenetration of these large, stipulated spheres of existence—the domain of individual, reflective consciousness and emotions as it engages, mediates, and is modified by external and public pressures. (Kindle Locations 228-230)

As for Emma herself, Jane Austen famously declared that “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” (Kindle Locations 363-364)

Emma is deeply implicated in these antagonistic tendencies of impulse and attitude. (Kindle Locations 985-986)

Nevertheless, such narrative details serve to point toward the sub-textual conflict and ambivalence in which for most of the novel Emma is suspended. (Kindle Locations 1042-1043)

This had just taken place and with great cordiality, when John Knightley made his appearance, and “How d’ye do, George?” and “John, how are you?” succeeded in the true English style, burying under a calmness that seemed all but indifference, the real attachment which would have led either of them, if requisite, to do everything for the good of the other. (94-5)

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